How could American culture grow so corrupt as to value a game over protecting children?

Pages

I'm not sure if I should post this in Sports or politics, but I'm posting it here because I think it's more of a discussion of what's wrong with American culture. I'm sure most of us have heard about how legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno was for all practical purposes an accomplice to child rape. But that's not what I want to talk about so much as discussing how THOUSANDS of Penn State fans have reacted. Instead of coming out in solidarity of the victims, they rioted to protect their chance at going to a bowl.

So, here's my question: how has American culture fallen so far as to value a winning football franchise above everything else? I wish I could say that this is a Penn State-specific problem, but we all know rapes and abuse of other students by football players and coaches goes unpunished all the time. What makes Penn State so notable is the case involved little kids.

Good article on the Daily Beast about how the fans have reacted:
http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast....

PS - to everyone who argued with me about whether or not America is a rape culture, I give in. I was wrong - you were right. Any sane culture would have Penn State fans protesting outside Paterno's house.

Thank you for posting this. I agree with you - it is disgusting that people are saying "poor Joe."

f*ck that. I wouldn't go to my superior to report a crime about a child - I would go to the goddam cops!

I think there are a couple things going on here.
1) Football players are "heroes", they make lots of money and are on TV so they cannot be wrong.
2) People strongly identify with their sports teams, they feel personally offended when those teams are attacked, so they MUST defend those teams otherwise they are kiddie rapers too.
3) People want to feel like winners, so nothing can be allowed to interfere with winning.

I liked John Scalzi's take on it: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/10/omelas-state-university/

You know, there’s a part of me who looks at the actions of each of non-raping grown men in the “Pennsylvania State University small-child-allegedly-being-raped-by-a-grown-man-who-is-part-of-the-football-hierarchy” scandal and can understand why those men could rationalize a) not immediately acting in the interests of a small child being raped, b) not immediately going to the police, c) doing only the minimum legal requirements in the situation, d) acting to keep from exposing their organization to a scandal. But here’s the thing: that part of me? The part that understands these actions? That part of me is a f*cking coward. And so by their actions — and by their inactions — were these men.

deftly wrote:
I liked John Scalzi's take on it: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/10/omelas-state-university/

You know, there’s a part of me who looks at the actions of each of non-raping grown men in the “Pennsylvania State University small-child-allegedly-being-raped-by-a-grown-man-who-is-part-of-the-football-hierarchy” scandal and can understand why those men could rationalize a) not immediately acting in the interests of a small child being raped, b) not immediately going to the police, c) doing only the minimum legal requirements in the situation, d) acting to keep from exposing their organization to a scandal. But here’s the thing: that part of me? The part that understands these actions? That part of me is a f*cking coward. And so by their actions — and by their inactions — were these men.

Yep - he nailed the entire thing right on the head. I said basically the exact thing to a co-worker yesterday.

PS - to everyone who argued with me about whether or not America is a rape culture, I give in. I was wrong - you were right. Any sane culture would have Penn State fans protesting outside Paterno's house.

I don't really disagree with you.

I only wonder why you are more outraged by a man who heard a second hand account and admittedly did FAR too little (as deftly mentioned f*cking coward or completely ignorant are appropriate) than about:

Mike McQueary - who personally witnessed a rape and did not stop it or call the police and still works for the f*cking football program
Tim Curley - lied to cover it up when Paterno and McQueary reported it to him
Gary Schultz - lied to cover it up when Paterno and McQueary reported it to him and to whom campus police f*cking reported into
Gerald Sandusky - the actual f*cking pedophile

Like I said, I don't disagree with you. JoePa's legacy is now in shambles and people should be protesting and not rioting. What disturbs me about this culture is that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE NAMES IS IN YOUR POST NOR ARE YOU CALLING FOR ANYONE TO PROTEST AT THEIR HOUSES. And all that tells me is that you get your outrage and morals straight from the media, and I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for that kind of outrage.

Jolly Bill wrote:
Like I said, I don't disagree with you. JoePa's legacy is now in shambles and people should be protesting and not rioting. What disturbs me about this culture is that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE NAMES IS IN YOUR POST. And all that tells me is that you get your outrage and morals straight from the media, and I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for that kind of outrage.

Someone tried that one me yesterday. My response, then as now, is that list of names only tells me there needs to be more firings, and does jack and sh*t to change the situation at hand. They aren't rioting for those other names.

Slate had an article on this, Couldn't agree more.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:
Like I said, I don't disagree with you. JoePa's legacy is now in shambles and people should be protesting and not rioting. What disturbs me about this culture is that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE NAMES IS IN YOUR POST. And all that tells me is that you get your outrage and morals straight from the media, and I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for that kind of outrage.

Someone tried that one me yesterday. My response, then as now, is that list of names only tells me there needs to be more firings, not less.

So why aren't you calling for those firings? Why waste your breath on the guy who was already fired?

edit: It isn't because his is the only name getting reported in the news, is it?

edit: removing snark ellipses

Edit!!!! Also, for anyone not actually following what's going on outside of watching ESPN, all but McQueary are already gone from the university. Some are suspecting that McQueary is protected by some sort of whistleblower law (despite having done too little). Thankfully he's backed out of attending Saturday's game with the team, because that could have made things REALLY ugly. All of the active alumni I am in contact with are LIVID about the entire situation, and feelings about JoePa aside, the entire Board of Trustees is very likely to turn over in the next election.

Jolly Bill wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Jolly Bill wrote:
Like I said, I don't disagree with you. JoePa's legacy is now in shambles and people should be protesting and not rioting. What disturbs me about this culture is that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE NAMES IS IN YOUR POST. And all that tells me is that you get your outrage and morals straight from the media, and I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for that kind of outrage.

Someone tried that one me yesterday. My response, then as now, is that list of names only tells me there needs to be more firings, not less.

So why aren't you calling for those firings? Why waste your breath on the guy who was already fired?

edit: It isn't because his is the only name getting reported in the news, is it?

edit: removing snark ellipses

Edit!!!! Also, for anyone not actually following what's going on outside of watching ESPN, all but McQueary are already gone from the university. Some are suspecting that McQueary is protected by some sort of whistleblower law (despite having done too little). Thankfully he's backed out of attending Saturday's game with the team, because that could have made things REALLY ugly. All of the active alumni I am in contact with are LIVID about the entire situation, and feelings about JoePa aside, the entire Board of Trustees is very likely to turn over in the next election.

I think you are being unnecessarily aggressive towards the OP. I think the expressed rage is at all of the involved parties, not just JoePa..

SallyNasty wrote:

I think you are being unnecessarily aggressive towards the OP. I think the expressed rage is at all of the involved parties, not just JoePa..

Apologies, my aggressiveness is being expressed at EVERY story that mentions JoePa (and no one else), then the outrage about JoePa, and then the inappropriateness of the outrage about JoePa, just to fuel the media cycle.

JoePa played a part in this, and he is paying that price and getting that flak as he should. The media would rather focus on him because his name is recognized than on Graham Spanier, or Curley, or Sandusky himself. They'd rather focus on the riots because people (like the OP) would think it's idiotic (and it is) than on the hundreds of students who gathered at the lion shrine to support the victims. They'd rather call out the inarticulate, angry students (like in the Slate article) so that they can berate them for their anger and confusion and loss of identity than on the many students who just feel pain and loss and betrayal.

If the OP (jdzappa) was actually expressing outrage at ALL the parties involved, why is he asking for people to protest at JoePa's house?

Why waste your breath on the guy who was already fired?

I don't think he cares about the guy who was already fired. I think he cares about the fans that want to protect kiddy-diddlers, not because of some noble purpose, but because it'll help their chances in a game.

He's talking about priorities and cultural norms, not the criminals.

I personally am disgusted at McQueary. This guy watched a man rape a child and went and called his dad rather than the cops? f*cking seriously? This was a 28 year old life long sports player, i.e. supposed badass, and he didn't walk in there are break the old rapist jaw? And he considers himself a man - and he gets to keep his job? That is WRONG.

Penn State has to distance itself from its biggest asset: it's history. Because that history is exactly what Sandusky used to lure young boys into his traps. I feel for Penn State fans, because they didn't ask for this. But the decision makers at that school need to do the right thing andgo scorched earth. Th action of several men at the chool destroyed what should have been a legacy that would produce for years to come.

This is dead on

To Malor:
Oh, hm, completely missed that. The impact and shame of this has felt like it was on the university as a whole, not on the football program. I haven't even considered how it would affect the football program. I mean, Sandusky hasn't been on football staff since 1999. And he was in fact under investigation in 1998 for molesting a different boy, which resulted in no charges, but may have been a factor in him retiring when he did.

There is just as little excuse to protect this pedophile (Sandusky, who claims to be innocent, btw) to 'protect the football team' as there is to 'protect the university'. Just as there is no excuse to 'protect the church'.

There may be a lot of misunderstanding about the real source of anger here. They could declare PSU's season over right now, and the net effect would be probably be happiness that there wouldn't be a team without JoePa this year. I haven't talked to or seen a single PSU student or alum that is worried about how this affects the future of the Penn State Football Franchise. Only shame that such a horrible tragedy is associated with us and with men we've idolized.

Of course, all the people that make money off PSU would be pissed, but they're not us. F*ck them.

SallyNasty wrote:
I personally am disgusted at McQueary. This guy watched a man rape a child and went and called his dad rather than the cops? f*cking seriously? This was a 28 year old life long sports player, i.e. supposed badass, and he didn't walk in there are break the old rapist jaw? And he considers himself a man - and he gets to keep his job? That is WRONG.

This is why I can at least understand Paterno not believing it was as bad as we now know it is. McQueary's actions do not make sense. Hw saw a crime as it was being committed, and had real responsibility to deal with it then. If he didn't have the guts to confront, at least call the police and bring them in. But since he walked away, I can understand why Paterno believed his bosses that an investigation turned up nothing.

I absolutely believe Paterno needed to be fired. I thought it was fair that the BOT let him retire, but then the old fool tried to stick around for the rest of the year. The failure that is being exposed here is too widespread not to take everyone down. Football is not important enough to allow anyone connected with the program to stick around. And it needed to happen now, and it is still taking too long to cut ties. I absolutely believe that game this weekend should be canceled, and probably the rest of the season.

jonnypolite wrote:
Slate had an article on this, Couldn't agree more.

Great article.

Until Penn State cleans house, 100% of anyone that might have possibly been involved, they are hurting their own school and football program. Who sends their child to that school if the powers that be cannot e expected to act with much more integrity than they have.

I really believe that everyone's failure to act is going to cause a near collapse of the football program. Players need to be allowed to transfer without penalty. And there does need to be a serious discussion about shutting the football program down 100%, or at least take a hiatus for a couple of years.

Think about this. When players shower after a game or practice, it will be in the same showers a coach raped a young boy. When players work out in the gym, yep, another location where a coach fondled a young boy.

Penn State has to distance itself from its biggest asset: it's history. Because that history is exactly what Sandusky used to lure young boys into his traps. I feel for Penn State fans, because they didn't ask for this. But the decision makers at that school need to do the right thing and go scorched earth. Th action of several men at the school destroyed what should have been a legacy that would produce for years to come.

Is Pennsylvania one of the states where failure to report child abuse is a felony?

For those who want some sliver of faith in humanity restored, NPR news last night was showing protesters outside of JoePa's house, and at least reported that they were mostly Penn State students. He came out and, in no uncertain terms, told them to f*ck off.

Minarchist, a friend of mine is a music teacher in the state, and here was his take on that, for what it's worth.

TomWest[/url]]The grand jury concluded that Athletic Director Curley and University Vice President Schultz should have reported the 2002 incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and/or to University or State Police. As administrators in a state educational entity, they are mandatory reporters of this kind of activity. Two of their staff did their legal duty and reported it to them. Failure to report is a violation of state law.

This is an unconscionable series of events, and an absolute disgrace to everyone directly involved. This isn't just one or two isolated incidents. This is a pattern of sociopathic behavior that was allowed to exist. It would be a newsworthy story if it had happened anywhere in the country. The fact that it happened at an institution with the level of public visibility and integrity as Penn State is outrageous.

As a public school music teacher, I am a mandatory reporter of any student who is engaging in at-risk behavior or exhibits signs of abuse. That report goes to my immediate superiors, and it is their job through the school's administration to report it to the proper authorities. This is the same procedure for higher education, and it was not followed in the 2002 case.

Let me restate: Given what McQueary saw, he and/or Paterno should have gone immediately to the police. When no action was taken after their report to their superiors, they should gone to the police.

Something that is left out of much of the media coverage is that the supervisor that Joe Paterno reported to was actually the head of campus police. Seems to me like the next step for him would have been putting on the mast costume for a vigilante beat down. I think that more ire needs to be directed at the higher ups, Paterno is really getting thrown under the bus here.

Yonder wrote:
Something that is left out of much of the media coverage is that the supervisor that Joe Paterno reported to was actually the head of campus police. Seems to me like the next step for him would have been putting on the mast costume for a vigilante beat down. I think that more ire needs to be directed at the higher ups, Paterno is really getting thrown under the bus here.

That point really confused me, so I researched into detail on that. Gary Schultz wasn't the 'head of' campus police, but as Vice Pres of Finance and Business, the campus police were under his supervision and oversight. In his testimony to the Grand Jury, Schultz claimed that he thought an investigation into the 2002 incident was ongoing (just like into the 1998 incident). He has been charged with lying to the Grand Jury.

So... NOT a sworn police officer, but between the police oversight and the PA educator reporting procedure, JoePa clearly did what is reasonably expected. The issue is that when it comes to kids being molested, doing only what is reasonably expected is CLEARLY not enough. Paterno has paid for that. If investigations reveal he did more, he will and should pay more. Now is the time to focus on other individuals involved.

*Link added, for those who like org charts / details.

People rage at Paterno for two reasons; one, he's been really symbolic of "all that is right" in college athletics, and this is just a shocking violation of that, so he's suffering because he's a figurehead of all sorts of things. Two, HE WAS IN CHARGE. I don't care what the organizational chart says; Joe Paterno ran Penn State athletics, and there's no way the Athletic Director had the actual authority to do a damn thing. Sandusky stayed around Penn State because Paterno let him stay there.

JoePa did not do what was "reasonably expected"; he did what was "legally required". There is a significant, significant difference.

Sandusky is the real monster here, but Paterno is next in line along with Schultz, Curley, and McQueary. They're all morally responsible for not doing everything they could to stop this.

Jolly Bill wrote:

If the OP (jdzappa) was actually expressing outrage at ALL the parties involved, why is he asking for people to protest at JoePa's house?

As I understood the OP, he was saying that they should be protesting AGAINST JoePa, as opposed to rioting FOR him.

I think the idea was that the student's priorities and allegiances were out of whack.

My own take on the media focus on Paterno is something I think should be quite obvious, they are the media, and they focus on what sells. It's pretty much always been this way, but I think it further illustrates jdzappa's point about the state of American culture. Our media now is really a big entertainment industry, and their programming is drama and things with high shock value. It may be a byproduct of the technological age we live in, where information is easily attainable and easily spread, and thus competition is high.

Another aspect of the Paterno focus is his status, his legend, his achievements, and his standard of excellence, contrasted now with this giant failure. An inaction that cost him the goodness of his name. It really is a dramatic story, but it's just one aspect of this whole thing, and I think for the most part, it will pass.

Yeah, I'm still not sure that the OP's point is being really addressed -- given what we know about this situation, how on earth can anyone be rioting in favor of the people protecting kiddy gropers? How f*cking morally bankrupt do you have to be, when you want to keep an active enabler of child molestation running the football team, just because "your team" might win a few more games?

I mean, what the f*ck is wrong with those people? Are they broken? Do they just not believe it happened?

Does anyone have a source on an accurate timeline of these events?

The most recent story I have heard is that the rape event was only reported to JoePa in 2002, 3 years after Sandusky the pedophile had left the program, and after nothing had been done by Curley he went to the campus police. It seems that every news article I read has a different story.

Malor wrote:
Yeah, I'm still not sure that the OP's point is being really addressed -- given what we know about this situation, how on earth can anyone be rioting in favor of the people protecting kiddy gropers? How f*cking morally bankrupt do you have to be, when you want to keep an active enabler of child molestation running the football team, just because "your team" might win a few more games?

I mean, what the f*ck is wrong with those people? Are they broken? Do they just not believe it happened?

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/11/1...

Joe Posnanski wrote:
Sometimes, I feel like the last week or so there has been a desperate race among commentators and others to prove that they are MORE against child molesting than anyone else. That makes me sick. We’re all sickened. We’re all heartbroken. We’re all beyond angry, in a place of rage where nothing seems real. The other day, I called it “howling.” I meant that in the purest sense of the word — crying in pain.

Nomad wrote:
Does anyone have a source on an accurate timeline of these events?

The most recent story I have heard is that the rape event was only reported to JoePa in 2002, 3 years after Sandusky the pedophile had left the program, and after nothing had been done by Curley he went to the campus police. It seems that every news article I read has a different story.

It's not a timeline, but your best source for information is the grand jury findings itself.

http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.co...

Jayhawker wrote:

It's not a timeline, but your best source for information is the grand jury findings itself.

http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.co...

Be warned though, that document is highly detailed and explicit about the sexual encounters and is quite disturbing.

Jolly Bill wrote:
To Malor:
Oh, hm, completely missed that. The impact and shame of this has felt like it was on the university as a whole, not on the football program. I haven't even considered how it would affect the football program. I mean, Sandusky hasn't been on football staff since 1999. And he was in fact under investigation in 1998 for molesting a different boy, which resulted in no charges, but may have been a factor in him retiring when he did.

There is just as little excuse to protect this pedophile (Sandusky, who claims to be innocent, btw) to 'protect the football team' as there is to 'protect the university'. Just as there is no excuse to 'protect the church'.

There may be a lot of misunderstanding about the real source of anger here. They could declare PSU's season over right now, and the net effect would be probably be happiness that there wouldn't be a team without JoePa this year. I haven't talked to or seen a single PSU student or alum that is worried about how this affects the future of the Penn State Football Franchise. Only shame that such a horrible tragedy is associated with us and with men we've idolized.

Of course, all the people that make money off PSU would be pissed, but they're not us. F*ck them.

Jolly Bill, you make excellent points and I'll admit to letting my anger cloud my earlier comments. I've been personally affected by childhood sexual abuse, so the fact that I saw a bunch of students rioting in defense of JoePa really pissed me off. I'm glad to hear that those idiots are a minority, even if they are getting a lot of press coverage.

Also, I should add that this is a huge nationwide problem. My own alma mater- University of Washington - covered up a rape and several domestic violence assaults when the Huskies were on the road to the Rose Bowl a few years back. One Seattle prosecuting attorney even failed to press charges after being pressured by the administration that they would "take care of the situation." No surprise, he was a big alumni supporter. The truth didn't come out until almost 10 years later. And frankly, UW is a pretty progressive school in a very liberal city with a low violent crime rate. That leads me to think this problem is endemic across the country, and I still stand by my assertion that it takes the rape of little kids to shock a culture that for the most part accepts bad behavior from athletes and coaches.

In other words, I'm not just condemning Penn State fans, but asking aloud how big the problem is nationwide. I shouldn't have painted all the students at one school with the same brush or laid the blame squarely on their collective shoulders.

Yeah, I was assuming that the Penn State protesters were symptomatic of a deeper national problem, not that that particular student body/fan base was extra-scummy or something.

I suppose they could be, but the thought hadn't even crossed my mind until just now. I didn't think they were unusual, which is why it worried/worries me as much as it does.

And, if darrenl is still reading, keep in mind that I'm just as pissed off at that part of the administration as I am at the Catholic Church -- and that that anger would extend to all of Penn State's organization if they hadn't acted so decisively.

I should also point out that, while I definitely think everyone involved should lose their jobs and maybe face criminal charges, I don't think they should be strung up on meathooks or anything. I'm upset, but I'm not sideways with rage about it. Kiddy-diddling is bad, but extreme punishments can be even worse.

I think using cutesy names for child molestation is ridiculous and demeaning to victims. It's really off-putting when trying to have a serious conversation.

Pages