Whether you are a football fan or not the news of the allegations against Jerry Sandusky, the former Defensive Coordinator for Penn State University has seemed to touch almost everyone. Each day there seems to be a new article or twist on what has transpired or what is transpiring.
First there were the allegations themselves, the pure fact that it happened on the campus of Penn State, that it involved youth and that with all the warning signs with all the chances to stop it, it never happened. Now here is where I put in my "writer's note" I am and have been a Penn State fan. I took a summer semester on the campus and I was proud of the fact that my transcript had grades on it from Penn State. I thought the world of JoePa, and all that he and the school represented. Penn State was the top of my college list and I would have applied if a college counselor hadn't convinced me I wouldn't get into the main campus (she was wrong). Instead I went out west to the University of Oregon and ironically my freshman year Oregon played Penn State in the Rose Bowl, I pulled for Oregon.
All of that aside I have to say the actions taken by the board of trustees was absolutely correct. They had to get rid of all parties involved and I am not sure if they haven't done enough at this point, the assistant coach who witnessed the acts in 2002 is still a question mark in my mind. New and differing stories have appeared over the last week to two weeks, but I will say this much, he did the right thing going to Joe Paterno and to a degree it doesn't matter if it was the same day or the next day that I can't fault him for. The fact is he saw something horrific, he saw an event that was not only stained in his mind but would have and has a permanent impact in a very negative way on his life. So I don't fault him if he had to compose himself, process what all he saw and then approached Paterno. I also hope people remember that he was only a graduate assistant at that time, so his position and his hope of a future might have weighed on his mind too clouding his judgement, it doesn't make it right but it also shows and reminds people that he was human. There was no reason that he shouldn't have believed that what he told Paterno and then school officials wasn't being handled and followed through completely. While many of us in hindsight would have pursued it, we say that as outsiders and in hindsight. I am not forgiving him, I am not letting him off the hook, but he has extreme extenuating circumstances.
The biggest fear that I keep hearing is that worst is yet to come, more and more facts and possibly more victims will come out. Jerry Sandusky appeared on TV with Bob Costas and denied being a pedophile, but to me he wasn't convincing, he had no emotion, no defense in his voice, and for someone who would have been falsely accused of something he didn't demonstrate those behaviors. Sandusky admitted to many of the acts and behaviors that were reported as part of the sexual assault claim, like showering with the young boys, snapping towels at them. A grown man doesn't shower in a public open shower with young under aged children and surely doesn't horse around with the children. A co-worker of mine pointed out that for youth going through middle school and into even high school the "community shower" can be a very terrifying place as every one "matures" at different rates. So for me to hear that they were "horsing around" doesn't resonate as completely factual and it doesn't come across as being consensual, or reciprocal. No, the picture that Jerry Sandusky painted in my mind was a dirty, sick, and perverse man getting into a shower with a youth and masquerading his behavior as horseplay and that the children he was in there with were not willing participants. In his twisted, sick mind, as he got enjoyment from the activity he convinced himself that it was a mutual enjoyment. The reality was that he was torturing and tormenting these young boys.
Part of me wants to blame the parents as well, why would they allow their children to spend the night at this man's house? That is a question that has resonated with me since I first heard of the allegations and then when I read the transcript of the Grand Jury Testimony. Still, this is a man that was supposedly "helping" their children, he was providing them with experiences that most everyone wouldn't be able to experience, and getting to spend the night or "crash" at Sandusky's was just part of the experience.
After almost two weeks, I still am sick to my stomach and I have to accept the fact that I will continue to feel so as this continues to play out. The truth, and the only truth to this point I can see is we haven't seen the worst of Sandusky or of these horrific events.