WDEL Blog: WDEL Sports

Penn State's shame

There is only one thing clear about the shameful news coming out of Penn State University this weekend...and that is that no one will ever look at Penn State the same way again.

Joe Paterno has built an admirable, and unequaled, record over the years...but sadly, his legacy will largely be defined by the scandal that has washed over the school, its football program and its athletic department.

In case you haven't heard, the school's athletic director and vice president of business and finance have both stepped down...and both are expected to turn themselves in on perjury charges, allegations that say they did not tell a grand jury the truth about what they knew in regard to the sexual abuse allegations surrounding former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno appears to be cleared of any wrongdoing, but the question becomes, could he (should he) have done more? Paterno was notified by a graduate assistant (at the time and now an assistant coach) when the GA saw Sandusky and a 10 year old both in the shower of an athletic department building during a weekend back in 2002. Paterno passed that info along to the AD and the other administrator, as the law reuires...and that's where he left it. The two higher-ups apparently did nothing.

Why didn't Paterno follow up? Why didn't he contact police? Why didn't the AD and VP report this to police? There were apparenly suspicions about Sandusky even back when he was still coaching.

Now the Penn State reputation, of doing things the "right way" has been forever tarnished. And Paterno, while apparently in the clear legally, will be dragged down with his university.

I wonder if the chants of "We are...Penn State" will be a little less robust in the future...because let's face it, right now its nothing to be proud of.

Posted at 11:02am on November 7, 2011 by Big Don Voltz

<- Back to all WDEL Sports posts

Comments on this post:

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 4:52pm
You did a great job of sanitizing the eyewitness report of the GA. What he saw in the shower was as bad as it gets for a ten year old boy.

The first incident was reported in 1998 - no action was taken by the University police. The Korean War Vet who delivered the initial report recalled he had seen bodies dismembered in war but nothing revolted him like the scene he witnessed in the Penn State shower of a grown man "licking on" a naked little boy.

How could Paterno have been ignorant of that first report - which was subsequently followed by Sandusky's forced retirement? As a PA taxpayer, I have to live with the knowledge that my tax dollars went to finance a pervert's sex playground: the showers at PSU's Lasch building.

Thanks for nothing, Joe Paterno.

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 6:29pm
A lot of adults did not do anything like the right thing in this situation.

As sad as it seems, if everyone had done even the little that JoePa did, Sandusky would have been in Jail a long time ago.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 7:51am
The PA Department of Public Welfare was notified of the earliest incident reports, as was the Centre County D.A.
Those officials certainly dropped the ball, to the detriment and peril of more children who were eventually victimized by Sandusky. (The same pattern of disregard for the public welfare that was demonstrated by our state agencies when they neglected to act on the numerous complaints against Kermit Gosnell, the abortion horror chamber owner.) Then people wonder why we don't trust government.

That said, anyone who comprehends the considerable influence wielded by Paterno and those associated with the Penn State football program would have to acknowledge the very real possibility that some strings were pulled - maybe by Paterno himself - to make the initial Sandusky complaint go away.

Big Don
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 9:23am
My description was not meant to "sanitize" what occured. I purposely did not describe all the lurid details. If anyone wants to know them, they can be found in the grand jury's report that is all over the internet.

That doesn't change my opinion of the whole thing...that Paterno should have done more, even though he fulfilled his "legal" obligation. The whole Penn State hierarchy is to blame, especially Curley and Schulz who should have taken this to the police immediately. Would they have been able to do anything without knowing who the victim was and with having just an eyewitness to rely on? I think so but who knows. But it should have gone to the police.

I am in comlete agreement that this is one of the most heinous things that has ever engulfed a college athletic program. I did not think it was necessary to include all the stomach-turning details to make my point.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 10:22am
Big Don, I wasn't using the term "sanitized" as a criticism, it was actually a compliment...therefore the phrase "you did a good job". We're aware this is a mainstream blog, there was no need to be excruciatingly specific... The facts of the case are difficult to process, I had to pause a few times to compose myself while reading the report.

Big Don
Tue, Nov 8, 2011 2:15pm
Sorry if I misunderstood. This whole thing is so unbelievable, from a school that has fostered the image for so long of being morally above other schools, that I guess it couldn't help but eventually collapse.

I am just so surprised that Paterno seemingly took the easy way out when confronted with a moral issue of this nature.

There are so many Joe Paterno supporters out there...I just wonder how they must feel, if there is a feeling of betrayal or are they more in denial that he did all that he could have or should have.

It appears as I write this that Paterno may be "retiring" earlier than anticipated. I wonder if he regrets sticking around as long as he did.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 3:33pm
I am just so surprised that Paterno seemingly took the easy way out when confronted with a moral issue of this nature.

There have been under the radar stories swirling about his nasty personality for some time now, and the Penn State campus newspaper published an account of a road rage incident precipitated by Paterno, about 4 months ago. He's not the icon of moral probity that his press releases suggest.

Remember, he's been the top dog in his little empire for some time now. Lord Acton said:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Men and women in that position often start to come up with a moral framework of their own invention.

About the Joe Paterno supporters out there: from my view on this side of the state line - some are in shock, some in denial, some so outraged they've already removed their PSU paraphernalia from their cars and homes. Some are so vocally defensive and supportive of him that they are on the verge of coming to blows with those who are of the same opinion as mine.

So I'd better quit while I'm ahead.

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 3:48pm
i am a penn state grad but all people seem to have the same, from worse to less bad
1)JoePa is a fraud
2)JoePa should have done more- what would he have if they were his children
3)JoePA doesn't look good but Others are the real criminals
4)JoePa has earned enough goodwill that he should be able to ride it out, besides he did report it to the right people
of course Penn Staters would have a higher percentage of people going with 3 or 4
i am closer to 3 and i don't think he should be fired or resign over this...
oddly the press seems to concentrated entirely in the choices 1 or 2

i am 100% sure JoePa doesn't regret staying around. Honestly it is all he knows and lives for. I suspect he also believes that like his friendBear Bryant, he would be dead shortly after retiring

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 5:33pm
Would they have been able to do anything without knowing who the victim was and with having just an eyewitness to rely on?

Sure. They just would have asked the perp which unfortunate child from his "at-risk" charity he took for an outing the day the incident was reported. If he stalled or stonewalled, the cops would have kept digging, there were other principals involved in Second Mile program who could offer information.

What a nightmare scenario. Can we add to the list of those who were negligent in protecting the children: Mrs. Sandusky. What woman wouldn't be suspicious of a husband who goes and pays nocturnal visits to little boys staying over night in their home? Not to the mention the excessive free time he spent with them - alone.

Maybe that's why the creep was so insistent on adopting six children of his own - he needed to keep his wife busy with all those kids to keep her distracted from his main event. As to the victim that the GA saw in the shower - that victim has not yet come forward. God only knows what mental and/or emotional state the young man currently suffers.

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 7:33pm

This is so unfair on so many different levels.

Big Don Voltz is a legendary broadcaster in Delaware, and has done so much for listeners, the school community and so many other people who have enjoyed his broadcasts over the past 30 years. Imagine if WDEL forced Big Don to retire because of something that his CO-WORKER DID 25 YEARS AGO that Big Don didn't even know about, and had Big Don nothing to do with the crime that his co-worker did. I'd never wish that on Big Don, or JoPa or anybody else.

But the point is it's unfair to punish somebody who has done so much for the community...for a crime committed by somebody else!!!!!

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 9:18am
Another shoe drops: Penn State is being investigated by the US Dept. of Education to see if there was compliance with federal crime reporting laws.

The Jeanne Clery Act, which requires college campus crimes to be reported to federal agencies, was enacted after a local co-ed was tortured, raped and killed in her Lehigh U. dorm room. Her parents Howard and Connie advocated for this law to be passed so that students would be aware of the dangers on campus, since University officials have a habit of sweeping incidents under the rug.

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 2:03am
An interesting side note is that there's another Gerry Sandusky (notice first name spelled with a G) who is the play-by-play announcer for the Baltimore Ravens and the sports director at WBAL. This poor man has had to endure all kinds of questions about whether he's related to the Penn State perv and has had to publish disclaimer after disclaimer to clear his own name. Every time WBAL talks about the Penn State scandal, they have to mention that THEIR Gerry Sandusky is not the perv and that he's no relation to the perv.

Thu, Nov 17, 2011 8:13am
More fallout: Franco Harris was dismissed from his job as spokesman for a Western PA casino/racetrack because he went on natonal TV to voice support for Joe Paterno. Wrap your heads around that one: Franco Harris enjoys iconic status in Western PA, yet even he isn't immune to the witch hunt atmosphere that is overrunning our state.

I'm in the camp that believes Joe Paterno knew more and should have acted sooner. But it's wrong for those who believe otherwise to lose their jobs because of their opinion. (If anyone goes on TV to voice support for Sandusky, that's a different story.)

Add your comment:
Attention: In an attempt to promote a level of civility and personal responsibility in blog discussions, we now require you to be a member of the WDEL Members Only Group in order to post a comment. Your Members Only Group username and password are required to process your post.

You can join the WDEL Members Only Group for free by clicking here.
If you are already a member but have forgotten your username or password, please click here.

Please register your post with your WDEL Members Only Group username and password below.

Copyright © 2014, Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.   Terms of Use.
WDEL Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity and Outreach