When Passing The Buck Fails

Responsibility: A duty, obligation or liability for which someone is held accountable. (2) The obligation for the proper custody, care, and safekeeping of property, funds or personnel entrusted to the supervision of an individual.  (Wiktionary 2011)

The furor over the firing of Coach Joe Paterno at Penn State is obviously an opportunity for people to feel badly for one of the most successful college coaches in the history of the game. Some want to allow the “good old boy” to finish his last season as Head Coach. Others want to see him strung up by his toes and slow-roasted over an open pit.

It depends on where you stand as to what your perception is going to be.

If you stand at Paterno’s sideline, he’s recognizable as a man who “tried” to do the right thing. He immediately told the School President of the reported sexual abuse, expecting the hand-off to lead to resolution in the best interests of the school. The problem with that thinking is there’s nothing said about doing something that was for the benefit of the VICTIM. The old school must be protected at all costs. Realistically, the loss of alumni dollars after a mess like this boils up could have sever repercussions. Heaven forbid the reputation of a school and its sports program should suffer like the 10 year old violated in a shower at the school.

We won’t discuss the POS [piece of spit (sic)] who did the deed and allegedly 39 more of the same ilk. He should be incarcerated with other sexual predators to assure he gets the full and complete secondary education in sexually deviate behavior as a first hand victim once more. Yes. He was a victim as a child. That’s no excuse to become the second generation beast capable of doing this. Try a lifetime of therapy, it’s much more easily survived than a life sentence in the joint you stupid curd (sic).

But, Paterno does share culpability for this matter. He handed off the play while being fully aware of the insidious nature of internal collegiate politics. College Presidents do what they feel is best for the school: NOT the victims. While Paterno walked away from the matter smugly believing he did the “right” thing, the victims are still undergoing the stigma and humiliation of being abused by a scumbag.

How many victims joined the list AFTER Paterno paid minor lip-service to the matter, and then accepted this predator back into the staff line-up of the team? How many more kids became prey? How many more kids have to live with Paterno’s refusal to take direct action and reject this man from employment as a coach?

It was within his power to fire the man. It was in his power to see the man had NO contact with young boys. It was within his power to PROTECT the innocent. It was his responsibility and obligation to provide: for the proper custody, care, and safekeeping of property, funds or personnel entrusted to the supervision of an individual.

But, Paterno decided his responsibility was to the school, not the victims. He did nothing to protect the victims or prevent the next person from becoming a victim. Expedience places this matter at the precipice of negligence and in the neighborhood of complicity. The injury will continue generationally. One criminal violently potentially gives birth to the next. Paterno’s benign recusal from recognizing and accepting his personal responsibility has damaged the mental, emotional and physical health of the victims. He followed-up on nothing.

But people seem worried about “poor old Coach” because he leaves Penn State under a cloud. The scandal’s put a pall of smoke laden, oily pollution over a once stellar career in a narrow band, elite club of athletic endeavor. The team and the school are embarrassed. The individuals are embarrassed. The region is aflame with anger and hurt feelings. But it’s all for nothing if the emphasis is placed on the plight of a predatory criminal and a foolish old man more interested in his won/loss balance sheet.

The emphasis should be on the real victims and their families.

Thanks for listening.

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