BW Unpopular Opinion of the Day – Joe Paterno/Penn State

In the interest of full disclosure, let me first state a few things: I don’t give a rip about college football, so if anyone thinks my rant today is because I’m a fan, they’re wrong. Second, I in no way condone what has occurred the past 10-plus years at Happy Valley. With that out of the way…

Today my unpopular opinion comes courtesy of the awful, awful situation surrounding Joe Paterno and Penn State football. What has occurred is a complete travesty in every shape and form of the word, but I’m a little troubled by the reaction of most people as it pertains to these incidents.

“I find it odd so many people are positive of what they’d done if they were in this exact situation, either as Paterno, or as the graduate assistant who allegedly witnessed these horrific acts being performed.”

Let’s face it: First of all, by human nature, how difficult is it to turn in someone you know? Right or wrong – and in this case so, so, so horribly wrong – we’ve all been in this situation, where we could have stopped something bad from happening, or at the very least tempered a bad situation from becoming worse. But we don’t. It might be a friend who is drinking underage every weekend, or it could be the ability to foil a bad plot before it happens, or basically anything that we know about ahead of time but turn a blind eye to. Now, this isn’t to put any of these actions on the same level as Sandusky’s, but in a sense I think it’s a microcosm of how we as a society respond to those we know closely, and likely like or respect. It’s an unpopular thing to do, and it’s not easy to be unpopular.

As for me if placed in this exact situation, I can state with absolute certainty that I would have been paralyzed with fear and horror. Absolute terror. I’m fairly certain, but not as sure as most, that I would have summoned the courage to do something about it in the moment – simply for the sake of the child involved – but it’s not unfathomable to me to think that someone would run away from the situation and tell someone about it rather than step in. It’s just not as simple as people on the outside are making it, I believe.

I guess my overriding principle or feeling about this situation is that we’re not really in a position to judge those who didn’t act. What’s done is done, and they have to live with those consequences (as do the children, for what it’s worth). Should Paterno have been fired? I’m not really sure, to be honest. Probably, but nonetheless, it’s too little, too late, and seems to be hardly condolence to any of the victims.

About Brandon Warne

Sportswriter trying to make it.
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3 Responses to BW Unpopular Opinion of the Day – Joe Paterno/Penn State

  1. Eric says:

    I agree with everything you wrote. I think though that the outrage is very justified. We should be outraged by what people didn’t do. Even though we may have done the same thing, we as people should at least hope that we do the right thing. If I or someone else was in that position and we did not do the right thing than we would be outraged at ourselves, outraged at our failures and should be held accountable for our inactions.

  2. Al Damlo says:

    Fear, self-preservation, loyalties and other conflicts can make people’s judgement become clouded. It is really easy to point a finger knowing what is known now. There is one animal in this case and that is Jerry Sandusky. Don’t let the media’s need to fill time cover up for who is to blame. This isn’t Paterno’s fault. This isn’t McQueary’s fault. This isn’t the AD’s, President or the Board’s fault. This is Jerry Sandusky’s. No one can get an interview with him, get him to respond, get a memo from his attorney, get families responses because they can’t at this point. So what we are hearing and seeing are the subplots. In light of what was done, the really meaningless subplots. An echo chamber has been created surrounding the subplots, the frustration of them, the anger behind it… and here is Jerry Sandusky, sitting in jail… alone with his thoughts, hoping that he won’t be in prison for the rest of his life while we want to burn everyone at the stake who didn’t do enough.

  3. Good comments, fellas!

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