Thursday, November 17, 2011

Please Don't Read This...You've Heard Enough Already. They're All Guilty.

Seriously, why are you reading this?  I told you not to...and I don't want you to be disappointed.  You're going to say, "Here we go again...more of the same."  Well, yeah....sort of.  Every time I write on this subject, I fear those of you that take the time to read will be turned off and will vow not to return.  First, let me say, "Thank you," for actually taking the time.  I appreciate everyone that reads, and offers opinions, on these blog posts.  I have had several people take the time to let me know what they think about the writings, and let me know they often feel the same way.  I'm not so sure with this story.  Let me be the first to say I understand.  To tell the truth, I now understand the power of the media in general.  They have me second-guessing myself, too.  I never really gave much thought to the particular 'slant' given to most stories.  I listened (or read), then formed my own opinion based on my experiences.  I now realize, after almost two weeks of constant "Penn State Scandal," stories, that there is some serious spin out there...and the media controls many people's thoughts.  I am amazed when I read an article online which is then followed by a 'Comments' section.  Wow.  I have never seen so many people have so many opinions that are polar opposites.  The extremes, as we've seen, are from almost canonizing Joe Paterno to wanting him to die a slow, painful death.  Again, I want to make a point I made in my last post:

I believe the sexual abuse of a child is the most horrid, unspeakable, unimaginable crimes that can ever be perpetrated...and the abusers need to be dealt with in the harshest ways possible.  There's a reason these people are viciously and violently attacked in prison - even murderers believe that harming a defenseless child is wrong.  I am all for putting them in the general population...and 'survival of the fittest'.

Now, with that said.....we are still being told 'new' details daily.  This story is far from over and the depths to which this scandal goes will, eventually, shock us all...or will it?  Please keep in mind the point I made in bold print above when reading my following comments.  This is, again, my quandary and why I am struggling with this story.  Do I believe Sandusky did this?  Do I believe Joe Paterno knew about it?  Do I believe there was a cover-up?  Let's start with those questions as I make this point - "believe" (obviously) being the operative word here - does it matter what any of us "believes?"  I think we've seen how far that will get us with the Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson trials.  The one thing we have in this country, and we dare not be selective about it, is the presumption of innocence.  It is the foundation of our legal system and we MUST honor this....even when our common sense is telling us otherwise.  We've seen Sandusky walked, in handcuffs, to the police car.  Then, as sickening as possible, we heard the interview with Bob Costas.  I, like most (if not all) of you, felt the need to shower (no pun intended) after that interview, didn't we?  If there was any doubt prior to that segment, it was erased when he started to speak.  His lawyer, in my opinion, is delusional in thinking that was anywhere close to a good idea.  Still, until he is put on trial, our system calls for that presumption.  I know, I know...believe me, I know - this has caused strong disagreements within my own family.  I am NOT saying he is innocent.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  I am saying we have to put him on trial and prove that he did it.  I believe, too, that the evidence is substantial and he will most certainly be found guilty.  But wait....let me ask all of you this, too - does everyone remember a group of lacrosse players from Duke University?  Does anyone remember a daycare incident several years ago where the charges of sexual abuse were found to be false?  Again, I know- I heard the same interview.  Sandusky will not be that fortunate.  What if we had branded the students at Duke and the daycare workers as guilty without a trial, though?  I'm just asking because some very good friends have come down very hard on this entire system due to the allegations.  They have told me, personally, there is NO room for this kind of abuse anywhere because of the children.  Refer back to my bold-type statements.  I agree, but know where this is going.

My other issue, that I have probably made abundantly clear, is the issue I have with the treatment of Joe Paterno.  I get it - he could have done more.  Hell, HE gets it...and said so himself.  Can we remember one thing, though?  He wasn't abusing little boys.  He was not the one 'allegedly' seen in the shower.  He did, by all accounts from the Attorney General, Governor, Board of Trustees and everyone else, do what he was supposed to do.  He reported it.  Then, even though they said he did what he was required by law to do, the Governor went on national TV and blasted him for not doing enough.  The very same Governor that, when this investigation began, was Attorney General of Pennsylvania.  When this got to his desk in 2009, he convened a Grand Jury.  No indictments.  "Why," you ask?  Good question.  Apparently, the Governor has been too busy telling the world Joe Paterno should have done more.  We get that.  Joe does, too.  Someone even posed the question, "What if it were your child?  Would you be supporting him then?"  I'd damn sure be glad he did something as compared to what the authorities did four years earlier!  Again, what do we 'believe' and what do we 'know'?  Hence, my struggle internally.  I have been witness to, over my entire lifetime, the acts and guidance of Joe Paterno on this university.  We've all heard of the millions of dollars in donations, we've all heard about the library, and so on, and so on.  Trouble is, everyone that praised him forever just turned and ran.  I'm sorry, but I don't think that, after everything he's done, his act of not doing more and fulfilling his "moral" obligations warrants everything that has happened to him.  Fired.  Well, okay.  Not the way it was supposed to be, but Sandusky screwed him over on that one.  They discussed (though I have not heard the truth to it) taking down the statue, too.  Really?  Oh, and the Big Ten trophy, almost named the "Paterno Trophy, won't be now.  Again, we can keep pointing the finger at Joe, but...are we going to fire everyone that 'knew' but didn't fulfill their moral obligations?  I suppose it's a testament to the struggle I am feeling, along with the slanted media onslaught, that keeps me writing.  I cannot get it.  I sincerely hope, when ALL the facts come out at trial, that we dispose of everyone that was as careless and reckless as Paterno.  I hope, if we find out the Governor knew anything at all (as did the detectives and Centre County DA in 1998 when they set up their 'sting' operation at a child's home) he will resign for not fulfilling his moral obligations.  There, I suppose, is how I can settle this struggle within - if everyone is dealt with on an equal basis and receives the same punishments for committing the same infractions, I will be okay with it.  But what about the media?

Here's the newest story for you...and once again, it circles back to ESPN.  You know, the "Worldwide Leader In Sports."  Bernie Fine, Syracuse's associate head basketball coach, has been placed on administrative leave.  He's been accused of molesting two former ball boys for the team.  ESPN had the accusers on TV earlier.  Obviously, the coach and the head coach with whom he works deny this ever took place.  Surprisingly, though, Syracuse's V-P for Public Affairs made an interesting statement on behalf of the school - "In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach."  There was more to the statement, but the Syracuse Police reported to the school that, since the alleged activity took place back in the 80's and 90's, the statute of limitations had run out.  They would not investigate.  My question, silly as it might sound is, "When will we see the head coach of Syracuse being fired?  When will this guy be locked up and, at the very least, arraigned?  Seriously, he's only on administrative leave?"  Really??  I know it's hard to tell (maybe not), but there is only a little sarcasm in my voice.  In the interest of fairness, shouldn't Bernie Fine have been escorted to a police cruiser, too?  To be honest, I never heard this guy's name before...but we've all heard of Joe Paterno.  Thanks for anything good you did, Joe - but you had the pedophile Sandusky on your staff.  You HAD to have known, right?  I'm guessing that's why you made him "retire" back in 1999.  If that is, in fact, the case, shouldn't we all be arguing that Joe DID go beyond his legal obligations and do what he was morally obligated to do?  He got the guy out of there.  The school allowed him to stay, right?  Damn...there's the struggle again.  If you are at all interested in the Bernie Fine story on ESPN, you can find it, unbelievable as it might be, here:

Lastly, I will say this again so there is no doubt about my personal beliefs or that I am minimizing, in any way, what these children went through - I believe that the perpetrator needs to be brought to justice.  He needs to pay for these crimes.  These children, hopefully, will get any and all help they need, though the damage is already done.  We cannot 'unring' that bell, we cannot get the toothpaste back in the tube.  Sadly and horribly, their lives were forever changed, allegedly, by this perverse freak.  I do not say that to be flip or mean.  I have never, nor will I ever, understand pedophilia.  I cannot imagine how someone can think of perpetrating these crimes against innocent, helpless children.  I do believe, though, that some are being made to pay more for the sins of the perpetrator because they are the bigger name.  Sad to see how quickly those that wanted to be there, when the program was winning and having "Success with Honor," can turn and run.  Fortunately, we can all be fairly certain that tomorrow morning, promptly at 7:00 a.m., the Today Show will lead with the story of Bernie Fine at Syracuse.  That would be, as the accusations have now been leveled, the only fair and responsible thing for the media to do, don't you think?

Until next time.......

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