Letter to the Editor: Football Trumps All
The Penn State situation is symptomatic of misplaced priorities.
To the Editor:
It is unfortunate that the late Penn State University football coach and lord of "Happy Valley", Joe Paterno, is not alive to defend himself from charges that are arising from the "smoking gun" of email messages which would indicate to a reasonable and prudent person that he was the kingpin in a conspiracy of silence that enabled Jerry Sandusky to continue along his merry way for years to molest innocent young boys who looked up to him as a role model and who were flattered by his attention and affection.
The tainted reputation of Coach Paterno has become even more disfigured in light of the most recent, stunning, and horrific trail of communication.
Along with disgraced former Penn State "leaders", President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz, Paterno would appear to have been successful in forcefully making the case that the violent sport of football trumps all other facets of life, that even when a prima facie case has been made that the cancer of a child molester is present in the ranks, it should not be addressed lest the athletic program suffer.
Atrocities are allowed to occur and to metastasize when good people stand by and do nothing. That is what many now have even more reason to believe occurred at Penn State, rendering any teaching of values and ethics there a farce.
Many have felt sorry for Joe Paterno, concluding that he died a broken man with a broken heart, and that he was treated unfairly by the University in a rush to judgment. In light of the most recent allegations, perhaps the University had it right in unceremoniously ousting him. If the revelations revealed in the communication between the parties on the matter of Sandusky are found to be legitimate and as damning as they appear, maybe the statute of Joe Paterno on campus will no longer be a shrine to a man believed to be an honorable, great, and inspirational leader, but a reminder of the conspiracy of a University which served to facilitate the commission of infamous crimes against the most vulnerable members of society.
If nothing else that is positive arises from the Sandusky trail of horror, perhaps it will serve to educate Pennsylvanians as to the mammoth extent to which scarce public resources are being squandered. Coach Paterno was able to amass a $13.4 million pension; President Spanier was able to garner a compensation package of close to $1 million per year at the conclusion of his employment, and Schultz receives a state pension of $331,000 per annum on top of a lump sum payment that he withdrew upon retirement of $422,000.
Taxpayers that are squeezed are forced to pay vast amounts to Penn State's former officials, the "upstanding members of society" who are believed to have been Sandusky enablers. May those who helped him in his evil pursuits pay for their actions, and if Coach Paterno was involved to the extent that it appears that he was, his reputation and legacy will be shattered in the minds of objective, caring individuals of goodwill.
It is ironic that the once-respected Spanier hosted a regular weekly television program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network called "To the Best of My Knowledge", as it appears that his "knowledge" of the beastly nature of Jerry Sandusky did not prompt him to act with common decency and morality.
Upper St. Clair