I had no plan to circle back to the Penn State story. I had mentioned it on Monday. But, the situation continues to escalate. It’s tragic on all fronts. For the victims most of all.

I am typically intentional to put myself, and not just for the exercise of it, in the shoes of the people we would prefer to condemn. Sandusky has an illness. He is also a criminal. For the good, he apparently impacted a lot of lives. He also destroyed countless others. His acts were monstrous. But, don’t confuse monstrous acts with being a monster. Sandusky is likely to be your neighbor. Maybe, even you.

I was touched by Matt Millen’s public despair over the inescapable truth that we cannot help but be inhumane to each other. At each turn, we seem to have outdone ourselves. One-upping our last atrocity.

These boys were assaulted for the sins of Sandusky, which may or may not have been further enabled by the poor decision of others, at Penn State and in his life, to turn a blind eye or to redirect his activity. But, there is also this sense that the priority of football has elevated certain individuals to towers of isolation and power that cannot be readily assailed. There are costs to obsession with sport. I’m not blaming these deplorable crimes on Penn State football fans. But, let us never trade accountability for wins or oversight for trophies.

Last night, Penn State’s Board of Directors made the very difficult but correct decision to let the winningest coach in college football history go.

Sometimes, Head Coach is more than a job.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Diaz from Hungary.

Today’s song blog here:

Dorm Dreams

5 thoughts on “Homecoming

  1. Its an interesting thing, you mentioning such a sentiment as Sometimes being a head coach is more than a job. The other night at the youth group I volunteer for, the message was about how regardless of whether you call yourself one or not, we are all “leaders.” Our action (or inaction) at holding up certain standards or examples of good or bad (no pun intended) conduct, can have an affect upon those around or under our “care.”

    That’s one point but I also feel like your thoughts on the “blind eye” of which sports (or various things where “fans” are involved) get, is a constant and troubling thing. Success and, ultimately, the money therein (whether of jobs or profits) forever reiterates an oft misuse of the biblical adage, “Money is the root to many kinds of evil.” That being said, I often feel troubled that it takes the publicity of a certain incident (or several) for people to state just how wrong the “secret sins” are. As i to say, we need the lights of cameras on these things, to believe they exist.

    Love the song, Diaz is a good producer, from what I’ve heard on here. Vocals are smooth as silk, dunnie. ;)

  2. Yeah, it’s just hard. There are many reasons why people fail and why institutions fail in their oversight. But, in so many of these situations, to wit, the Catholic Church and Penn State, there exists a sort of insulation that has disproportionally enabled conduct that, of course, could happen anywhere. But, where people or groups don’t fear outside accountability, an enhanced risk certainly exists.

    Diaz is amazing. It’s crazy the beat snippets from him that I have are so sonically full, I have trouble recording and mixing my own vocals. I really feel like I have under-executed on them as a group. It’s aggravating because the beats are so good. My “Toothless Grin” Super Bowl song is still probably my favorite over his production. Of course, I’m sure he can’t believe I wasted one of his gems on a football song.

  3. Do you have any thoughts on Paterno specifically? From what I understand, he did what the law requires by reporting the news of this incident to his superiors. The question, I guess, is whether or not Paterno had a moral obligation to do more. As far as I know, the details of what McQueary told Paterno aren’t clear but some reports seem to suggest that it wasn’t very explicit. Are we even in a position to say if Paterno should have done more without knowing exactly what he was told about the incident? A lot of people are trying to paint Paterno as some sort of criminal, which seems absurd.

  4. @mrdj115, you are right that a good bit remains unresolved. In fact, the AD and business officer, also indicted, have specifically testified that nothing of the nature described by McQuery was ever relayed to them or Paterno (and I believe Paterno has testified as to the same). While the grand jury found those accounts expressly non-credible, that does not make them untrue.

    And, I am almost always of the school that we need a lot more information, in fact, more information then we’re seldom ever privy to in any given case, to fully understand a situation, not just this one. But, the indictment, here, was not built on rumor or innuendo or even strong circumstantial evidence, as is typical in many such cases of sexual abuse. The incidents alleged can be, and have been, corroborated by numerous eye witnesses to the horrendous acts themselves. Barring some vast testimonial conspiracy, which has not been alleged, this amounts not to a lot of “smoke” as they say but to an actual bonfire of trouble smoldering under Paterno’s watch.

    Is it possible that he was completely unaware of both these numerous eye witness accounts by Penn State personnel on Penn State property in addition to all the rumor that surely followed? Sure. I just have strong, strong doubts.

    No one wants to accuse someone of being a pedophile. You can even feel the reservation in the account of the mother who actually confronted Sandusky about her own son. Sandusky admitted to showering with the boy and having inappropriate conduct and the charges were eventually dropped.

    So, to me, the most likely scenario is that Joe Pa knew or suspected, along with other Penn State dignitaries, but couldn’t face the truth and bring down a Lion of the program. Instead, like many others, they thought they could police the conduct or threat by reducing some, but not nearly enough, of his association and privileges. I suspect Paterno didn’t want to see it. Who would? Not out of disdain for the victims but because it was just too hard a thing to admit. This is actually a real psychological phenomenon of those close to such perpetrators. We think because the offense is so heinous that we would be swift to identify it. But, the opposite is true. Precisely because the offense is so abhorrently heinous we can hardly lift a finger to point it out.

    I think Paterno likely is culpable in very direct ways (ie basically knew but didn’t do more). But, I don’t know, and reserving judgment is good. It was, however, a necessary step to remove him. Even if he is as innocent of the truth as we could possibly imagine this happened over a significant period of time on his watch at his facilities. The face of that program and this now tragedy can’t continue there, for the health of the institution and its relationship to the victims and the community.

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