Joe Paterno, Penn State and You

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Amy Davidson, senior editor at the New Yorker, discusses what the Penn State scandal means for sports fans and takes your calls on how you're reacting to the news. 


Amy Davidson

Comments [23]

Megan Breaux

I found (from an INCREDIBLY unlikely source) a well composed and well researched blog post that essentially outlines the link between homophobic organizations in which adults have "ultimate authority" over children and pedophilia. I think if more people understood the reality that pedophilia is incur able, dangerous, and facilitated by these organizations, more of them would come under scrutiny. Click here to read it for yourself .

Nov. 27 2011 04:59 AM
Margaret from UWS Manhattan

A culture of the sex abused
seems to make us more confused.
We often cut off the head of the bunch,
when things come down to the crunch
[or not often enough?].
Hope there stops to be occasion
for this particular
social disease of our nation.
The focus should be on how to live
on the planes of attention
that we need to give.

Nov. 12 2011 12:01 PM

It is extremely concerning that young men will put sports allegiance before the safety of the younger members of their community. To say that there are others equally responsible as an argument *not* to fire a man who apparently admits his responsibility, rather than arguing for a more thorough purge of those others who were also *criminally* negligent in this case, is a confused and tragic stand to take. If the professional "players" in this awful story had been doctors and nurses in a hospital do you think you would find such sympathy at any level of the community? It is a strange world. I do not know if the teaching profession is mandated to take a regular course on sexual abuse to reinforce their moral and legal responsibilities (like health care professionals are) but if not, I think it is time to institute it. It sounds as though it wouldn't hurt to make certain college students take this course also.

Nov. 10 2011 10:49 AM
Rose from Williston Park, NY

I agree that the Penn scandal is like that of the Catholic church. The Pope and every bishop, etc. guilty of covering up should also resign. Fresh air needs to flow into both institutions. Both should have zero tolerance for child abuse. How can anyone either see or know of a grown man raping children and not do anything about it? My father, who would have been about Paterno's age now, would have dragged Sandusky to the police station himself and personally cared for those kids. That's the difference between a good man and Joe Paterno.

Nov. 10 2011 10:33 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Segui, I'm sorry to hear that happened to you. I hope you'll get to the point where you're able to report it. If it's a question of notifying people in another country, maybe you could go through its embassy/consulate in this country or the US embassy over there? Or find out if there's an organization in the other country that helps people who've been through what you have?

Nov. 10 2011 01:53 AM
Segui from New Jersey

As a victim of sex abuse in a very similar situation I have always felt that is ironic that outraged citizens are so sure they know what they would do if they knew of a crime of this nature been committed. The fact is that statistics don't support this conviction since a huge percentage of abuse cases go unreported even by the victims and relative of the victims themselves. I am not condoning the participation of Paterno on the commission of this crime, and I believe he should take responsibility for allowing this to continue...But we will need to analyze what in human nature or what cultural misgiving contributes to this trend son that we can improve reporting numbers and prevent sex offenders from victimizing people, unpunished, for years. I informed my parents of my abuse, they believed my abuser first. Some years later, once it was clear that I was telling the truth, they still did not report it...The person was of "untouchable" reputation and believed to be a pillar of the community, as in this case. This happen 23 years ago and I am troubled since I have not reported it myself since I became an trepidation is the wellbeing for his children...I think about this everyday, and I am yet to find out what prevents me from doing something. I assure you my parents could have sounded as outraged as anyone on this board, don't speak until you do so from experience. If you have been in a similar situation, I would welcome any advise on how to report or inform my community in another country about this predator...If you are taking out out of rage save your comments

Nov. 09 2011 12:26 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Becky, There is no change on my part: "hearsay", "2nd hand charge" - I will look up the semantics but my point is the same. I think we both agree it is an avoidable tragedy.

Nov. 09 2011 12:21 PM

If the custodian had done the EXACT same thing he'd be sitting in jail.

Nov. 09 2011 12:14 PM

Why is there ANY kind of debate on this??

Because is such a great sports "hero"??

Are you KIDDING me!?!?

Nov. 09 2011 12:13 PM
The Truth from Becky

Sheldon, that is a different comment from your first, where you said it was "hearsay". Glad to know you ultimately agree that he should have done more.

Nov. 09 2011 11:56 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Becky, you can line up and take your 2 pounds of flesh, along with everyone else.

If I personally see someone raping a anyone, much less a child. I will immediately report it to the police.

If I am an administrator and I got wind of such a charge. I will immediately report it to the police. Both parties did neither.

Joe Paterno, as currently known, reported a 2nd hand charge to his administrators. Whether he probably "coulda, woulda, shoulda" do more, is always 20/20.

Nov. 09 2011 11:51 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

It was absolutely Paterno's responsiblity -- as the leader of an organization and a moral, law abiding citizen -- to put a stop to the rape of children that he was aware of. ANYONE who knew this was going on also had this responsibility.
I also think the fact that the victims were "underprivileged" was operative in this shameful turn of events.
Unfortunately this kind of cowardly, short-sighted abdication of our responsibility as citizens and human beings with consciences is all too common. It has got to stop.

Nov. 09 2011 11:48 AM
cwebba1 from Astoria

40 years ago I was a boy living in State College. My mom worked at Penn State in the financial aid office. Joe Paterno organized a Christmas Party for kids and invited the children of Penn State staff to come. My brother and I went.
At the party there was so much cake and cookies. We had as much as we wanted and so I got sugar-sick. We watched football movies and everyone got a medal.
Last month I was talking with my mom and we talked about this event. Forty years after the event it is still a stellar event in my life.
We went had season tickets to see football games. I went; never really into football.
But I remember the generosity of Joe Paterno. I will always be greatful. Joe Paterno is a great man. Bigger than this scandal. I trust Joe Paterno.

Nov. 09 2011 11:47 AM
Alan from 150 Varick.

Joe is an average coach and always has been; I'm glad he's going down in flames. As a Florida and Miami sports fan, I've always heard from everyone about how we only play convicts, I prefer to say less fortunate young men that didn't have a silver spoon. Regardless, steeling a car stereo is one thing, turning your back on eight children is unforgivable.

Nov. 09 2011 11:44 AM
Yosif Ganat from Manhattan

The janitors are real monsters for not reporting what they saw. They only testified at the grand jury when it was too late. Fear of losing your job does not justify this

Nov. 09 2011 11:44 AM

There is NO excuse, here!!

"He was such a great football guy and did so many nice things"???


He's an accomplice to pedophilia!

Nov. 09 2011 11:43 AM
The Truth from Becky

Sheldon, are you insane?? There is a kid somewhere who has had his life ruined!! He should be castrated and thrown into jail with the general population for life!

Why are we talking about Paterno's legacy??? ughh I might have to turn this off!

Nov. 09 2011 11:40 AM
SKV from Weeping in Penn State

I think Graham Spanier, Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley, Wendell Courtney and Thomas Harmon should ALL be prosecuted for a criminal conspiracy to hide ongoing sexual abuse of minors.

And they should all be fired by Penn State's Board of Trustees.

Nov. 09 2011 11:39 AM
Meg from Stamford, CT

I agree with Maureen Dowd - the parallels with the Catholic church are haunting. The Penn State officials believed their own press and did not draw the straight line between good and evil. They did not do the right thing. Amy Davidson hit the nail on the head. Sad, very, very sad for those children.

I have a friend who played football for Paterno and, like Rick Pitino at Kentucky and Rollie Massimino at Villanova, these coaches are revered and often great examples to all of us but the ego often interferes with sound judgement.


Nov. 09 2011 11:38 AM


Nov. 09 2011 11:37 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Didn't Joe Paturno follow protocol? He was made aware of a charge; as shocking as it was, it was still hearsay. He promptly reported it to the directors. You either blame the guy who actually "saw" the act, or the administrators who did NOTHING.

Nov. 09 2011 11:37 AM

This is disgusting. Nauseating!

Priests, sports "heros" - NO ONE SI IMMUNE!!

Paterno is GUILTY!

Another fine example of "sports hubris".

Sen 'em to JAIL!


Nov. 09 2011 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

"wish that he could have done more" - he could have told the proper authorities, more than once if needed...this makes me sick to my stomach!

Nov. 09 2011 11:33 AM

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