Someday, I will write about marketing and search again, but I need to vent about my rage at Joe Paterno. I assume that you have all heard, or read about the child abuse scandal at Penn State. In a nutshell, a member of the University’s coaching staff is a pedophile. He committed terrible acts against children. He did so at Penn State. He was caught in the act. He kept his job. He wasn’t arrested. He wasn’t obviously disciplined in any way. He did, however, engage in sexual acts with a child. And Joe Paterno knew.
Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile. Regardless if he is convicted, charged, whatever, the man is a pedophile. And while I believe we are all ultimately responsible for our actions, Jerry Sandusky’s compulsion is likely beyond his control, driven by a combination of emotional dysfunction and lack of self-awareness. He is culpable. He is scum. He doesn’t deserve any sympathy.
But, I have less rage at the pedophile than I do the people that enabled the behavior. Jerry Sandusky is a sick man that was out of control. But those that were in control, who knew or suspected his actions, had a moral obligation to stop him. And if they were not in a position to stop him, it is their obligation to find those that do and make them take action.
Joe Paterno is a legend. And, arguably, there is no man more loved and revered in Pennsylvania than he. And when informed that Jerry Sandusky was seen with a boy in the Penn State showers, Joe Paterno did the minimally acceptable thing. He told his boss. So, yeah, Joe, you fulfilled your legal obligation. But you didn’t do the right thing. You are JOE PATERNO. You’ve talked to presidents. I bet the governor takes your call. Why couldn’t you call the police? Why didn’t you fgo to the University’s president and demand that Sandusky be fired? Why didn’t you use the freakin’ bully pulpit that you built through 46 years of coaching and educational excellence to do not just the legal thing, but the morally right thing?
Sure, everyone will remember you as an amazing coach and likely a great guy. But for me, you will always be the guy that allowed a pedophile to continue ruining the lives of children. It is not only a stain on your storied career, but your very soul. You are Joe Paterno, the enabler. Shame on you.
UPDATE: The Penn State Board of Trustees did the right thing and fired Joe.