Joe Nocera on Penn State

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New York Times op ed columnist Joe Nocera discusses how Penn State can recover from the recent sex abuse scandal, and what the case means for college football.


Joe Nocera

Comments [36]

Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Hearing the shock at a man taking a shower with a boy, I had to search my memory for the first instances of group showers that I could recall. I was nine and it was at a YMCA - the showers after family swim. I'm not saying that the coach showering with a bunch of 10 year olds was appropriate but I AM saying that men and boys showering together is not abusive or suggestive of abuse on its face.
We do need to be somewhat careful not to judge all of this behavior thru our modern, 'shower stalls for everybody' eyes.

Nov. 17 2011 08:53 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Posting very late, but I can't seem to let this go.

JM Livingston, you have made an excellent point. "Sex scandal" really doesn't begin to cover it.

Nov. 16 2011 03:08 PM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

The same media which was so quick to decry anyone publicaly saying they believed Caycey Anthony was guilty and only portraying Amanda Knox as an innocent victim of an injust court system -is now in lockstep condemning Sandusky as a pedophile.His reponse to questions in which he denies being sexually attracted to boys is being dismissed and flipped to mean he IS sexually atrracted to boys. Whatever he says he's already condemed in the press. But in the Anthony or Knox cases the public was condemed as being unamerican for believing either of them actually guilty in spite of the verdicts..Double standard-a lynch mob against Sandusky by the press portraying him as guilty and a lynch mob against the public by the press toward anyone who thought Anthony was gulty and a press one sidedly portraying Knox as innocent -even after a conviction.The press is unfair and just takes the easy way out-jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to an alleged child molester but bending over backwards when it comes to a mother /child case where to question the verdict is to question the judicial system and an american abroad case where it's an american vs. another country

Nov. 16 2011 01:09 PM
Ed from NYC


I'm sorry that you put your Republican hate/dislike ahead of children's victimization. In my view, I find it sad and telling to somehow equate or even compare the two.

It says to me that those who would compare one flub during a debate to a child rapist's almost-confession are engaged more academically and analytically and really not able to face on-the-ground, really bad things that really happen to kids.

Nov. 16 2011 12:19 PM
JM Livingston from Brooklyn

I want to suggest that you find more accurate language to talk about the case at Penn State. "Sex abuse scandal" and "sexual conduct" imply that we are actually talking about sex. If this story were about adults choosing to have sex with other adults over 18, even if it were about employers coercing employees who conceivably have the agency to resist into sexual activity; if it were about coaches who had affairs with other coaches' wives; if it were about coaches having sex with other coaches, it could be termed "sex abuse" or a scandal of "sexual conduct."

Raping a 10 year old is not sex, it is rape. While rape is a form of assault in which the perpetrator does something that resembles a sex act, it is not "sex." Therefore we are not talking about "sexual conduct" or a "sex abuse" scandal. Particularly not where we are talking about children who, if we accurately remember our own childhoods, may consent to erotic activity with other children, but who, according to standards generally accepted by all, cannot, by definition, consent to sexual activity with adults.

No adult reading this who has children or who has children in their lives would consider it "sex-abuse" if a teacher raped a minor child. The term implies that there is an accepted (non-abusive) way for a grown person to have sex with a 10 year old. Please adjust your language accordingly.

Thank you.

Nov. 16 2011 12:16 PM

Sorry, Mike from Inwood - simply statistically NOT true.

Nov. 16 2011 12:12 PM
MP from Brooklyn

fuva from Harlemworld - I had not heard that most of the children were black, but I would not be in the least surprised if it were true.

Nov. 16 2011 12:09 PM
Mike from Inwood

@Hazel: And when women runs things they will be no better; just a diuferent set of abusers.

Nov. 16 2011 12:08 PM
The Truth from Becky

*calming down*

Nov. 16 2011 12:07 PM
The Truth from Becky

....spray ya with mace and kick ya in the "wutz it's" again...ladies this means you too! All while holding on for 911 to come and put you in handcuffs!!

Nov. 16 2011 12:06 PM
The Truth from Becky

*still seething* Heads up to ALL pedophile cowards...if I ever catch you, in any situation, abusing a child, I am going to break something over ya head, kick you in the "you know what's" grab the child and call 911 that goes for family, friend or foe!! I'm just sayin'!!

Nov. 16 2011 12:04 PM
Mike from Inwood

@Ed from NYC: Personally, I found Cain's comments on Obama's handling of the Libya situation MORE painful to listen to. Sandusky speaks with a conviction that indicates at least HE believes his own story. Cain KNOWS he has nothing to say about international politics, but knows he can't admit that and remain a candidate for the Republican nomination.

Nov. 16 2011 12:03 PM

Sandusky AND Paterno should be in jail!!

Paterno is an accomplice:

accomplice |əˈkämplis|
a person who helps another commit a crime.

Turning a blind eye is being an ACCOMPLICE!

Enough of this sports "hero" BS!

Nov. 16 2011 12:01 PM
Stephen from Manhattan

BRAVO, Mr. Nocera! Penn State has made the sex abuse scandal about casting Penn State as the victim, not the real victims -- those kids. That pre-game ceremony on Saturday was a joke. Penn State should have cancelled the remainder of this season and next season. The school needs to focus their priorities -- and their #1 priority should NOT be football.

Nov. 16 2011 12:00 PM
Sandra from Brooklyn

That Sandusky clip was terribly hard to listen to. I think Nocera is right, Penn State should have canceled last Saturday's game and they should pull out of the season. The indictment is a tough read, the lack of followup, everyone literally dropped the ball

Nov. 16 2011 11:59 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Wow, john from the office, good.

Nov. 16 2011 11:58 AM

I'm with Hazel!!

Sorry to count myself amongst the gender!!

Nov. 16 2011 11:58 AM
MP from Brooklyn

Joe, you are absolutely correct. I've called 911 for a lot less. You cannot POSSIBLY not know that the right thing to do in that situation is call the police!

Nov. 16 2011 11:58 AM
The Truth from Becky

You don't have to be a harvard grad to know this is a 911 situation...same as if you saw it happening in an alley!!! wtf is wrong with this country??

Nov. 16 2011 11:58 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

It is outrageous that Joe Paterno wasn't outraged anough to leverage his considerable power to get to the bottom of such a shameful accusation and not just pass the buck.
The obvious and unfortunate truth is that this is a teachable moment for many of us who apparently would have responded in the same way. Hopefully we will learn the lesson...
And Martin Chuzzlewit...please...
Also, according to the unidentified mother of one of the victims, most of the abused boys were black. Did this have anything to do with the personal and institutional reaction to the rapes? Of course, the mainstream media hasn't touched this probably very fertile angle yet.

Nov. 16 2011 11:58 AM

I agree 100% with Mr. Nocera. The priorities at this school (and most other big football schools) are so distorted that it allowed these shameful acts to happen.

I think Stephen Colbert nailed this one in his singular style - how dare they talk about cancelling a football game, we might hurt the kids at that school, and nobody wants a kid to be hurt.

Nov. 16 2011 11:57 AM
Mike from Inwood

Why do you have this windbag, Joe Nocera, on? He adds NOTHING to the conversation.

And by the way, it is not unusual for kids to shower with coaches after sports practice. No high school has separate "coaches showers" like the teachers have a "faculty lounge". Whenever young boys are gathered, there is occasional 'horsing around', sometimes in the locker room and sometimes in the showers, too.

That said, I have read the actual testimony and it seems obvious that sexual abuse did happen.

Joe Nocera is nothing but a windbag. When will media outlets realize his columns do not add to sales?

Nov. 16 2011 11:57 AM
Ed from NYC

"Its almost as bad as trying to listen to Cain describe his Libya policy" is what Brian equates to listening to Sandusky's interview about molesting and sexually abusing young boys.

Brian, get your head out of your you-know-what and lay off the ad hominem attacks on Cain via disregarding the absolute seriousness of what Sandusky did and his tacit admissions during the snippet of interview played.

Are you that obtuse, Brian, that tone deaf to the victimization of young boys that you can blithely and smugly make inane political comparisons?

You would NEVER offhandedly compare a rapist's interview to a political candidate's gaffe.

The more I listen to you, the more I realize you are one note and much worse than that, predictible.

Nov. 16 2011 11:56 AM

Religion, the military, scouting, and now sports.

What do they all have in common?

They are run by men.

@Martin Chuzzlewit: yeah, you can say that. If you want to come off like an idiot.

Look in the mirror Martin. It's men. Not gay men. Men.

Nov. 16 2011 11:56 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

What disturbs me is the student's demonstrations last week complaining to the Penn State administration/Board of Trustees for the removal of Paterno.

Young people are always lauded for their moral integrity in our modern popular culture....

Yeah, as long as it doesn't interfere with more important things, such as being able to root for the home team and have a tailgate party.

So much for young people's moral compass....

Penn State should not only cancel the season, but they should institute classes to teach morality and what REALLY matters -- even if the charges prove somewhat incorrect, because even the possibility of it having occurred is enough to get our attention.

Nov. 16 2011 11:55 AM
MP from Brooklyn

I called 911 the other day when I saw a car leaving the scene of an accident. Do you really not know to call 911 when you see an adult raping a child?

Nov. 16 2011 11:55 AM

... more psychotic homophobia from the "enlightened" Martin ChezzleWhiz!

Nov. 16 2011 11:55 AM
gary g from nyc

what about the corporate sponsors still supporting Penn State and child molestation..
ATT, Coke, NIke and others.
Time to go after these pathetic corps.

Nov. 16 2011 11:54 AM
john from office

Guys, this is not a gay issue. This is an abuse issue. Gay men are not chasing kids, pediphiles are. Dont equate the two.

Nov. 16 2011 11:53 AM
Joe from nearby

1. Sandusky DID have a job, at the 2nd Mile Foundation.

2. Locker rooms DO have secrets. Lots of them. Ask anyone who is/was an athlete. They aren't made with glass walls.

Not defending Sandusky at all, just questioning your thinking here.

Nov. 16 2011 11:51 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

That's right, Mr. Nocera, Altoona, etc.,........... this endless repetition of gay molestation of boys goes on and on and on.....

And Brian Lehrer and others only want to talk about the straights who cover it up.

Nov. 16 2011 11:50 AM
Joe from Flemington

Penn State is just the most visible symptom of BCS football culture that pervades certain universities. Mr. Nocera should address the major conference shifts that are in progress, led by university presidents and ADs over the aggregate billions of dollars that BCS football represents in TV rights and bowl revenues. He should address "The shame of college sports" by Taylor Branch in the October issue of the Atlantic that is an excellent description of the power big time sports holds over division I schools.
I considering all this we can then discuss PSU, how their leaders made their flawed decisions and whether a complete 1 year hiatus for BCS football is the answer for all schools involved with it.

Nov. 16 2011 11:42 AM
The Truth from Becky

Bottom line is sports is big business and no one wanted the scandal that is currently happening, however "chickens always come home to roost" - "what you do in the dark always comes to light"- pick one!

Nov. 16 2011 11:40 AM
Joe from nearby

Paterno didn't 'cover up' anything. Read the grand jury transcript- he called his superiors and immediately met with them to disclose what he was told by McQueary (and what was told to him is a matter of dispute). His superiors assured him they would take appropriate steps (probably to Paterno's relief, as he knew Sandusky for years); but now they are indicted for their own supposed 'cover up.'

BUT there's a big problem- how can something be 'covered up' when (as it now turns out), McQueary did tell the police? How can something be 'covered up' if the cops knew about it?

I like Joe Nocera but on this one he's reading way too much into it.

Nov. 16 2011 11:35 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"putting college football in perspective"......PLEASE!!!

Where's the discussion about the GAY PREDATORS in our midst and the acceptance, even pursuit, in gay male culture of routine promiscuity and boy worship? This never even gets a mention from the "progressive media" which is intimidated by political correctness into silence. WNYC, NPR, the MSM enable these crimes and their continuation by their lame deflection into the usual stories about the cover-up .... usually by heterosexuals. It happened in the Catholic Church gay crimes, the WSJ story today about the Citadel military college and it's happening again here. Gee, blame the heterosexuals who didn't want to have Lambda or GLAAD threaten them or take them to court with charges of homophobia, not the hundreds of GAY priests who molested young boys....on THAT, you say nothing. Gay men’s misbehaving inevitably becomes a scandal about heterosexuals…….go figure.

Hey, remember the Boy Scouts of America Supreme Court case involving scoutmasters?
LOL, so how many of the self-righteous lefties listening here would want their 10 year old son or grandson to go on a weekend camping trip with Coach Sandusky? Or Barney Frank, for that matter? But, I remember the blubbering outrage here at the time of that decision.
As WABC's Mark Levin would say..."Gee, am I allowed to say this stuff?"

Nov. 16 2011 11:29 AM
Paul from clinton, nj

In Mr. Nocera's recent NY Times editorial re how the Senate consideration of Prof. Bork for the Supreme Court was the beginning of incivility in our public life, he left out one big fact; that Prof Bork opposed the Civil Rights Laws and the Voting Rights Act when they were approved. States rights trumped civil rights in Prof. Borks' view.
Mr. Nocera's leaving that out seemed deliberate to me, as it was the 800 lb gorilla in Prof Bork's record.

ps I liked the Penn State op ed.

Nov. 16 2011 11:14 AM

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