No one should make excuses for what happened to as many as 20 (if you believe some media reports) at the hands of former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky. I have read the Grand Jury presentation and it is chilling, to say the least.
If true, it is a diagram for how a pedophile can prey on youngsters in plain sight. The death of the innocence of those boys is the worst part of the sex abuse scandal.
Some will argue that Joe Paterno should not be blamed for the actions of his former assistant. "Blamed?" No. Held accountable? Yes. JoePa has been the head honcho of the Penn State football program since 1966. The buck stopped there.
In the Grand Jury report, one of the young victims reported that Sandusky became upset when he learned that in 1999, that he would not be Paterno's successor at Penn State. It was then that Sandusky retired from coaching. The unanswered question is: why was Sandusky no longer the heir apparent? Was it because someone in the Penn State hierarchy had some knowledge of Sandusky's extra-curricular activities?
There was another death in this sordid affair. That's the death of belief that there could actually be a "clean" big time football program that graduated its players and avoided dirty tactics in recruiting and backroom payoffs and could still win.
That was the Penn State we thought we knew. Now, we know that there seems to have been a filthy underbelly to Paterno's "clean" program image.
College football fans should mourn the loss of that fantasy, along with the tragedy of those young boys. Jerry Sandusky, if the allegations are true, deserves the harshest punishment.
At this writing, Paterno is planning to retire at the end of the season, if he's not fired first. That buck stops there. If one holds himself up as a leader of men, he must first be a protector of boys. No matter what, it seems the Penn State program fell way short of the latter.
"Linebacker U" has been known for its defense. But there is simply no defense for the offense against those boys, right under the noses of the architects of that program.
Disgust is all anyone should feel for this reign of terror through the lives of young men who grew up in the dark shadow of Sandusky's alleged crimes. Disgust is what college football fans should feel for what may be the last "innocence" in Division 1 football.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)