Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Paterno revision

I'm not buying the family of disgraced college football coach Joe Paterno, the late leader of the Penn State Nittany Lions who died after he was fired from his sacred position when the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal exploded last year, and their revisionist view of their father's role in the case.

The family released its own report that counters the Freeh report, which detailed the failures in the system that allowed Sandusky to continue using his position and stature to abuse boys for years after he left the football program officially.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Paterno led the team and was really the top guy in the university. He knew something was up, removing Sandusky from his team yet not forcing an investigation and full removal from the university and program.

The family's commissioned report points out many little discrepancies in the Freeh report that they say shows Paterno did all he could and what was right. But he didn't as Sandusky remained with the school and access to children and facilities.

Paterno is dead and his reputation off the field cannot be salvaged. Of course, his failure was not as bad as some of the others. And he was a great coach and great father figure and was very good to education and sportsmanship. But when it comes to the need to report potential sexual or child abuse, he failed. Perhaps it was a mix of his generation not seeing this problem as we do nowadays (as widespread and open in the public eye) and the lack of this mandated reporting in his earlier years. Plus, he dealt with college-aged people, not children like school teachers.

His failures do not eliminate all the good he did. In fact, the statue did not need to come down, as it should serve as a reminder about how easy it is to undo all the good you do not just by something you do but by what you don't do or what you ignore.

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