A Sad Day in Happy Valley

An era has come to end.

Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State University and required to cease all duties immediately.

An unfitting end to a Coach so revered and who gave so much to football, to Penn State, to education, to the world in general.

There are so many comments and debates being hurled back and forth about who’s to blame, at fault, sanitizing the school, and so forth. It saddens me deeply when I read of the viral hatred people espouse for Paterno, a man who has given his life and soul to Penn State. There has always been those who have relished the demise and fall of Paterno. Every year, they spin half-truths and lies and comments about the football team to try to topple Paterno. I’m amazed at the anger these people have against one man. Even before any of this sex scandal involving Jerry Sandusky came out, people have called for Joe Paterno’s resignation for every reason under the sun. This just added fuel to the fire and now, the haters and naysayers finally got their wish. I hope they’re happy. Yet, knowing these types of people, they will never be happy. They will latch onto someone else or something else, believing they too should fail.

I believe a blog poster, Clean Sweep, said it well on the Morning Call Nittany Lines blog.

There are more than a few sanctimonious knuckleheads commenting on Joe Paterno’s fate. Pretty easy to tell the world what YOU would do, when you’ve never had to do it.

Paterno might be guilty of some lousy judgment, but he’s the one guy who actually did anything about Sandusky. Ever. After the ’98 incident — which WAS reported to police and social services, who did nothing about it — Paterno got rid of Sandusky from the football program.

Jump ahead to ’02. More Sandusky crap. Paterno reports it to senior administrators, and McQueary provides further details to them. Paterno is told that the matter is being addressed, and was reported to Second Mile. Based on the ’98 situation, was Paterno expected to know that the AD, Senior VP, and Second Mile all acted indifferently — basically covering the matter up?

Key University administrators – not football coaches or their assistants – are the culpable players in this tragedy. And their response is absolutely disgraceful. Administrators, trustees, and public relations personnel now are so busy doing “damage control” that they are overlooking the damage they are doing.

The idea that Joe Paterno should be the poster boy for what went wrong in this case is exactly what IS wrong in this case.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/11/08/should-joe-paterno-survive-penn-states-child-sex-scandal/#ixzz1dG5MBHlt

I was shocked and appalled at some of the comments from friends of mine in their hatred against Penn State and Joe Paterno. It’s as though this scandal provides justification for their immature ignorance. I realized how little people really pay attention to the truth. Instead of seeking the truth, people are quick to jump on the bandwagon, condemning all who get in the way.

What should really be the focus is the children who suffered at the hands of Jerry Sandusky and the vile atrocities that he committed. I, in no way, support a child abuser of any kind although I was accused of this since I support Paterno and Penn State (amazing somehow the two go hand in hand).  It’s a disgraceful, cruel, horrible crime and Sandusky should be put on trial for his actions. But bringing down the entire school for one person’s crimes? I’m not so sure it’s the most effective way to handle things and Penn State and Joe Paterno do not deserve the stone-throwing they are receiving. Yes, I believe Curley and Spanier deserve to lose their jobs for not responding to reports of the incidents. They are administrative supervisors who are required by law to go to the police. I know others who lump Joe Paterno and other administrative staff into the same group, demanding they all be fired. But why don’t we separate the facts from the emotional discourse?

The big discussion is the moral obligations people believe Paterno had in reporting these incidents to the police. I find it fascinating and disgusting that people question his morality based on his decisions. Was JoePa faulty in not reporting directly to the police? Maybe. But we weren’t there. We don’t know what happened, what Paterno was thinking, and so forth. Who are we to make judgment calls on a person’s morals?? Yet, he did follow Pennsylvania law and the University’s requirements which was reporting to his supervisors and then his supervisors were the ones responsible for going to the police. And they didn’t. Yet, JoePa is the one to blame? Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I’m not getting it. Maybe the argument should be a change in the state laws, the University laws??

I worked at a mental health facility where we were all mandated reporters, but had different levels of responsibility in regards to what our job positions were. I was not allowed to make a direct call to Childline because I wasn’t an actual therapist at my agency. I was required to voice my concerns to a supervisor and it was to be handled from there, following the chain of command. Yet, would I be at fault if I didn’t contact police or Childline  directly about child abuse concerns that occurred at work? (And mind you, there were A LOT of child abuse cases and reporting at the agency because we dealt with foster care as well). Even though I followed procedure according to my agency requirements and state laws? IF I had stepped out of bounds at the agency and directly contacted police and Childline, I could have lost my job as well as potentially screwed up an investigation and family. Part of the reason for kicking it to the supervisors is that they are supposed to know how to more effectively and appropriately handle the situation. In my case, the supervisor was a clinical therapist. Granted, Paterno’s weren’t, but that shouldn’t matter. Obviously, where Penn State failed is in their administrative supervisors not knowing how or choosing not to act in regards to child abuse allegations. THAT, my friends, is where the failure lies.

There are systems in place for a reason, especially when it comes to reporting child abuse allegations. Most people who are not familiar with it won’t understand the chain of command. People, instead, get sucked into the emotional aspects of the child abuse reports and hurl diatribes against any and every one in their path. Separate the emotions from the facts, people. Look at the truths that are coming out in the grand jury reports. DON’T follow sensationalized TV and reporters. Their job is to garner high ratings so of course they are going to speak half-truths and grandiose suspicions. It makes you want to watch and listen, doesn’t it?

Stop the stone-throwing. It serves no purpose other than to breed hate, contempt, and lies. I’m often reminded of the verse in the Bible, Matthew 7:2-5.

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged [if we judge with an evil heart or dark intent, His judgment of us will reflect it; if we judge nobly with honesty and justice, His judgment of us will reflect that, too], and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you [if we use extremes or exaggerations or other ignoble means, our judgment will reflect it and judging with fairness and compassion will garner likewise in His judgment of us]. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye [point out his sins, “minor” in Jesus’ example here] and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye [our own sins, even and especially those we will not admit, magnified by our selective blindness]? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ [tell him of his “minor” sins] when all the time there is a plank in your own eye [that there are greater or the same sins in our own lives which we do nothing about or think we are above]? You hypocrite* [pointing out the sins of others while by pretense thinking of ourselves as above sin], first take the plank out of your own eye [sincerely ask the Lord for forgiveness and learn and live the Truth and Light by His Word], and then you will see clearly [be in a righteous position] to remove the speck from your brother’s eye [to judge and to help him out of his bondage to sin].”

*At Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan, Jesus was talking to the multitudes gathered there after hearing of His message and of His healings to beseech them to not become like the pharisees and hypocrites who think they are above sin.

It’s a sad day in Happy Valley…..

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