The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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On Joe Paterno, #409, the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal and sexual consent…

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Please note the title. This is the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal not the Penn State sex scandal.

So last Friday the NCAA reached agreement with Senator Jake Corman on his litigation with the association that saw changes to the penalties levied against Penn State university. The headline change to these sanctions is the restoration of all wins by the football team between 1998 and 2011. This means that Tom Bradley now gets credit for his win at Ohio State in 2011 and that Joe Paterno gets credit for his 111 wins between 1998 and 2011 and in turn once more becomes the all-time leader in division one wins for a coach with 409.

This has caused two rather strong reactions from people. Those who think that the NCAA originally overstepped their authority when they originally hit the university with unprecedented sanctions following the Freeh Report and those who believe that it just shows that Penn State still doesn’t get it. The fact the litigation wasn’t pushed through by the university but by a senator doesn’t seem that important to these people and lets be honest here, this isn’t an issue where facts are the top determining factor on your opinion, this is all about your gut reaction.

One such person is former Penn State alum Roxanne Jones who wrote an op-ed for CNN entitled Penn State still doesn’t get it. In it she shows that she doesn’t get it (but she is the author who says that she has taught her kid to get a woman to text him before sex saying she agrees to have sex with him because that is evidence that she consented to sex, not that a woman is ever free to change her mind but still. You think I’m making that last thing up? Think again…

Never have sex with a girl unless she’s sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual beforehand. And it’s a good idea to even follow up any sexual encounter with a tasteful text message saying how you both enjoyed being with one another — even if you never plan on hooking up again.

So yeah, interesting woman. The whole consent issue is a legitimate one but a text message proves nothing. The woman can always change her mind and what is to stop the rapist taking her phone and texting his phone about consent? Still that isn’t what I’m really writing about today but I just wanted to show context of this authors previous work. Also sending her kid to university with 300 condoms? She must think her kid is a freaking stud. If I’d been sent to uni with 300 condoms…I’d still have 300 (or I’d have sold them off cheap to those who were in fact getting some)

Back to the piece from yesterday, ‘The NCAA had reached beyond its authority in punishing Penn State, they argued,’ she wrote. ‘In other words, their lawsuit had nothing to do with the boys who were raped or abused by Sandusky. Correct but still that isn’t the point of the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed because an authority overstepped their boundaries and had no legal grounds to do what they did. ‘The NCAA caved,’ she decries. No Roxanne, they didn’t cave, they knew they were about to lose in court because they knew they had no legal grounds to do what they did. This is the United States of America, this is a litigation culture so when you do something that you have no legal grounds to do then expect to lose in court.

This isn’t about restoring Joe Paterno’s wins. They should never have been taken away in the first place because doing that does nothing for the victims of the crime does it? The NCAA has its laws and they have punishments for breaking those laws. Penn State did not break any of these rules. One man – a former employee at Penn State – did some unspeakable crimes, at least one of which occurred on the Penn State campus. That we know.

Do you know what else we know? That man is going to spend the rest of his life in prison where he belongs. You see the issues here aren’t about NCAA by-laws, they are about criminal laws and therefore he went to criminal court. Three other men, all university officials have had charges filed against them regarding a potential cover-up but none of them have gone to trial yet. Again they face criminal proceedings, not civil actions or NCAA sanctions because the laws they are charged with breaking are criminal ones.

Anyone who knows anything about civil law knew that the sanctions would get reduced and that the wins would eventually be restored. You can’t punish people for things that aren’t governed by your rules and regulations. It is a bit like a utility company deciding that you’ve used too much energy and are therefore cutting off your supply even if you’ve paid your bill on time. They have just decided to punish you because they want to.

The sanctions were originally levied in the mist of more public shock and outrage than I have seen in a long time. The reporting at the time was reactionary and poor. This is part of the media culture that we live in nowadays. Journalism isn’t about being right, fair and balanced. Instead journalism is about being fastest, being loudest and being the most extreme in terms of reporting. That is a detriment to society but is sadly an indication of where we are.

I don’t know the extent of any cover-up at Penn State and do you know what, nor does Roxanne Jones. Three men are facing charges and we’ll start to get further towards the truth when they face trial. There is still another lawsuit pending by the Paterno family and they want everything to come out wherever that trail leads. Coach Paterno’s legacy will forever be tarnished by what his former defensive coordinator did after he had left his job.

Joe Paterno was never linked to what this monster did, only one person committed unspeakable acts against children and that man was Jerry Sandusky. He was never a suspect in the investigation that led to charges being filed against three university officials, in fact the investigators are on record with saying Coach Paterno followed the law and was a forthcoming witness.

What we all want to see if the truth come out and that best practices are put in place to ensure nothing like this can ever happen again. When something horrific happens then what you want to do afterwards is to have those who committed illegal acts punished within the scope of the law. You want the truth to come out. You want those who were wronged to feel some justice. You want the cracks filled up to ensure that such a scandal cannot happen again and you want the issues highlighted so everyone is more aware of sexual acts against minors and are more attune to the warning signs.

Stripping Penn State of wins, scholarships, bowl games and bowl revenue does nothing to achieve any of those goals. This is why doing it was a show to make the NCAA feel better because the public wanted someone to pay. The fact Jerry Sandusky is in jail is a secondary story because that doesn’t fill column inches. That is such a depressing line to write but it is also true. The NCAA had no legal basis to levy those sanctions and those sanctions also do nothing for the kids who were the victims of this monster. The fact the huge $60million fine is going to help victims of this monster and other similar monsters is something that helps, nothing else does.

A man rots in jail, another three face charges and potential jail time. The whole issue is now front and centre and hopefully lessons will be learned not just in Pennsylvania but all around the US and beyond. I hope the kids who were his victims can find as much peace as possible and if the three men charged were in fact part of a cover-up then I hope they get that justice, they’ve already got some from the fact that Sandusky will never be a free man again.

The fact Joe Paterno now has 409 wins in the record books changes nothing. He recorded those wins within the boundaries of the laws of the NCAA and the players who played those games did not do anything wrong to have their wins vacated. No player who played was ineligible. No coach who coached was ineligible. I’m glad that coach Paterno has his wins back because they never should have been taken away in the first place. Punishing him, his players and his coaches for acts they didn’t do isn’t right. I know the crimes against those kids weren’t right either but two wrongs do not make a right.

Roxanne Jones says that Penn State still don’t get it. I think that she doesn’t get that in the country she lives in, just like the rest of the world, you can’t punish someone or an organisation when they haven’t done anything against your rules and regulations. Those wins were always coming back and anyone with an ounce of legal knowledge knows that. I think her argument is that Penn State should have curled up and allowed the NCAA to do whatever they wanted to them because nothing they could do could be worse than what happened to those kids. That isn’t how the world works. This isn’t an easy case because of the sensitive nature but leave the punishment to the criminal courts because if any laws were broken, that is where the punishment should come from. The NCAA had no power to do what they did and just because they were sailing on a wave of public opinion doesn’t make it right, in fact quite the opposite.

Jerry Sandusky was and is an evil man. Three other people may well be criminals. Everything else isn’t clear and until we know the full story we won’t know the full truth. I hope the Paterno lawsuit gets everything out in the open and then everyone can digest all the information. Most of all I hope that the victims find as much peace as possible and that this incident, no matter how ugly, helps stop further cildren from being victims to evil men like Jerry Sandusky.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

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January 19th, 2015 at 2:52 am

Posted in American Sport,News

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Joe Pa passes away at 85. Rest in Peace Joe Pa.

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I started writing this blog post the best part of 36 hours ago. I was found naked in my study by my girlfriend with tears having more than moistened my cheeks staring at the screen suffering from Writers Block. A couple of hours earlier I had rolled over in bed to check my twitter feed and saw reports that Joe Paterno was in a serious condition and that his wife had called the family in from all over the country as his time was short.

I got up and came to the computer to read all the stories and reports of his death. They were premature but he wouldn’t live to see the next day out. He passed at 9:25AM on Sunday morning. I was brought into this world no doubt kicking and screaming at 9:25AM on a Sunday morning. Joe Pa left quietly in his sleep ready to give the big guy hell if he so exists.

Looking back I can count the amount of times I have cried in the past five years on two fingers. Both of those occasions were due to Paterno. One his passing and the second the way he was treated and vilified by the media following allegations of child sexual assault against a former assistant of his. Yes a former assistant. Not a current assistant. Not him. But by someone else. The police acknowledged that Paterno did nothing wrong but the media had a bone and they weren’t letting it go until they destroyed him. This isn’t the time or place to debate whether the actions of the media hastened his departure from this world but when Coach K – aka Mike Krzyzewski – goes on ESPN and basically tells them they did just that it says a lot.

The following is a comment by poster OptaShields over at BlackShoeDiaries which I think sums up a lot of my feelings today:

I’ve heard a lot of people asking “What will be the lasting legacy of Joe Paterno?”

As if that’s a question that anyone could answer. A legacy isn’t something that you discuss. There can be no official determination. The only people who can possibly care about this discussion are the people who have never had their lives influenced by the man. The discussion is abstract and academic, and almost wholly worthless.

His real legacy won’t be determined by words, spoken or written.

It is when I work a little harder on the details to make the brief I’m writing not just good enough, but perfect.

It’s when I meet someone new, look them in the eye while I’m shaking their hand and commit myself to actually listening and being interested in them, because that’s how one shows respect.

It’s when I walk a little further to the sidewalk to avoid cutting through someone’s yard, because you don’t cut figurative or literal corners.

It’s understanding that you can live up to some ideal and be driven by more than just personal self-interest, and then striving to live in such a way and help others in their quests as well.

It’s Adam Taliaferro going from being paralyzed to becoming an elected government official and (hopefully) Trustee within the span of 12 years.

It’s Paul Jones, who committed to Penn State as a 4-star recruit, and has nothing but respect and admiration for his former coach, even after being prevented from playing for his first two years.

It’s the hundreds of former players who credit their old coach for making them into the men they are today.

It’s listening to Urban Meyer and Mike Ditka and Coach K talk about what he’s meant to them, and hearing something much deeper, realer and more genuine than you usually hear when people give respects to an icon.

It’s every current and former player understanding that a scholarship has more to do with class and grades than football, that you run to the whistle (in both football and life) and internalizing the maxim “if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves.”

The idea that a legacy is an encapsulation or a summary is silly. A legacy is influence, and exists at a subconscious, ineffable level as much as it does as an actual idea. I am a better person because Joe Paterno was my role model. My life was enriched by the places and people that he influenced and improved during his life. And there are hundreds of thousands like me. That is his legacy.

Legacy is a strange thing. How will Bill Clinton be remembered in 100 years time? Will it be as an adulterer who put his wife through such an ordeal or will it be as the person who oversaw a large economic boom, helped peace processes around the Globe and was a very popular president? It will be the latter. Is Woody Hayes remembered as a great football coach or as the man who punched one of his students? It is the former.

Paterno has a black mark against his name but it is only a chapter of the book. The book has many chapters and the vast majority are positive. Hindsight is 20/20 and everyone knows exactly what they would have done in his position. Everyone is perfect. Everyone would have gone up to Jerry Sandusky and punched his lights out and then dragged him to the police station. It is what everyone would have done. Well everyone in hindsight and everyone who doesn’t believe in innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law that is. Heck a Court of Law, the Court of Public Opinion, what is the difference?

If you had been told by your superiors that they had done a full investigation on an issue and had acted appropriately then what do you do? Do you say that they haven’t done enough even though they know (or at least portrayed to know) far more than you and then take it on yourself or do you trust them – as it is their job to oversee such matters and get on with things? You do the latter. If you say the former then you are deluding yourself. Some people didn’t do their job in 2002 and Joseph Vincent Paterno was not one of them. Yes he could have done more but when the people in charge tell you they have investigated and done appropriate action then what are you meant to do? I mean really?

The trial of Jerry Sandusky will happen later this year. As will the trials of Tim Curley and Gary Schultz who according to the DA didn’t fulfill their legal obligations in 2002 on one of the incidents that Sandusky is charged with. When this happens it will be interesting to see how Paterno’s name is dragged through the media once more.

The media over the past 24 hours have seen Paterno in a different light. Although certain writers and broadcasters cannot go a sentence without mentioning the charges against people not named Joseph Vincent Paterno. As I wrote before this chapter is yet to be fully written and when it does it will still only be a chapter of a book. His legacy will continue in the people he influenced and moulded to become the people they are today. The motto of ‘success with honour’ is something that I do believe any one of us could live by. There is never any success if you get it without honour.

Paterno influenced many far and wide. The people who met him and even those that did not were helped on their way in life by the way he lived his. He said ‘take care of the small things in life and the big things will fall into place’ which is a great way to be. On the statue outside of Beaver Stadium of Paterno the following quote is etched into the base, “They ask me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write I made Penn State a better place, not just that I was a good football coach.”

Well coach that you did. You didn’t just make Penn State a better place you made the world a better place. You made people better people. You may not have been perfect but who of us can say that they are? You lived your life as to benefit others and teach people about how to live their lives in a better and more meaningful way. If that isn’t the best legacy that you can have then I don’t know what is.

Rest in Peace Joe Pa and trust me when that you will live on in the spirit of the many people you influenced across the Globe and know this – those people will instill your ways into their offspring so that your legacy will go on for many generations to come.

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January 23rd, 2012 at 12:13 pm

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Joe Paterno has lung cancer

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A fortnight ago the whole world of Penn State blew up. Allegations of unspeakable proportions were alleged to have happened within the institute. Charges were filed against senior administrators accused of covering up. The legendary head coach who until a fortnight ago was believed not just one of the greatest football coaches but also one of the greatest men to have ever worked in college athletics was accused of not doing enough and was forced from his job. The university handled the situation about as badly as any institution can ever handle anything.

It has just been a desperate time for all. I have already written many things about the rush to judge without all the facts has been a total disgrace. How people can form an opinion on some of the story from one half of the ledger is beyond me. We all know that the Grand Jury testimony goes a lot further than what has been released to the press. We’ve found out this week according to sources to ESPN that the full Grand Jury testimony says that Mike McQueary actually did intervene and stop an alleged incident in the Penn State showers. That has come out this week but his reputation has already been dragged through the mud.

Having read certain things from people close to the Paterno’s it seems that Joe Paterno may well have evidence that he acted both legally and morally regarding the Jerry Sandusky allegations. However he is unable to talk at this juncture as it would affect the Jerry Sandusky criminal case. I’m willing to wait for everything to play out before I come to any judgements but then we get the news that we got today.

Joe Paterno has lung cancer.

His son Scott Paterno confirmed today that his dad has treatable lung cancer and they are hopeful of a full recovery. Talk about a punch to the stomach. I think my utmost thoughts are that he fights and beats this demon. I want this for two reasons. Firstly Joe Paterno is a prosecution witness in this case and should Paterno not make it then the Sandusky case gets hurt. Secondly I hope he beats it so he can live long enough to tell his side of the story and then everyone can make up their minds with all the evidence.

It might sound crazy that I can sit and type and fully believe that Joe Paterno will be completely vindicated and exonerated for how he handled that 2002 incident. Those close to the Paterno’s seem to feel confident when the truth comes out people’s perceptions will change. Also the fact Paterno was willing to speak at that Press Conference but Graham Spanier cancelled it a mere 40 minutes before because Paterno was going to talk and say the truth is rather fishy. Whether Curley, Schultz, Spanier et al handled the situation well is very much up in the air – as it is for Paterno and McQueary but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if their stories are wildly different when it all comes out.

Lastly the amount of people that are saying this is karma that Paterno has this evil disease makes me want to puke. The AP in America ran a poll asking who was accused of these unspeakable crimes and 30% of the American public answered Joe Paterno and still many members of the media are saying they acted responsibly and treated the story how it deserved to be treated. Either they didn’t and/or 30% of American’s are so stupid it’s insane.

Jerry Sandusky is accused of these unspeakable acts. Not Joe Paterno. The media are terrible and the rush to judge without even half the story just sums up people today. I for one wish Joe Paterno the best in this battle and a long and healthy forced retirement. Until someone gives me cold hard facts and not conjecture that Paterno valued his job/his university over the sexual abuse of boys then I’m going to hold off judging. I am in the minority I know but hey it’s better to stand for what you believe than follow a crowd who act in a way you disagree with.

As for those wishing Paterno a slow and painful death. I have no words.

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November 18th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Mike McQueary moved into protective custody

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I hope that my blogging surrounding this story will wane in the coming weeks and months. No doubt at some point is will flare up but I hope to be blogging again on political matters and random stuff that pops into my fron soon. Heck it was the Southend Lib Dem AGM on Monday and I have exciting (well semi exciting, well news, well something) I have reaction to that and other stuff that really should be blogged about but other things have been the priority this week.

Ok so if you’ve read this blog or read, seen or heard any type of news bulletin in the past week you would have heard about the Penn State Sex Scandal. The latest news on this is Mike McQueary has been placed into protective custody according to a PennLive report after having received what the police are determining as ‘numerous threats’ on his life. For those who don’t know Mike McQueary is the key prosecution witness in the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault trial. He allegedly saw Sandusky sodomising a boy of around ten years-old.

Now there are people angry that he didn’t do more. I can understand that but people please take a step back here and try not to act like idiots. The media have whipped this up into a storm and when journalists like Professor JA Adande are saying that the media’s reaction has shown us how great the media are my heart sinks. This is a man who is teaching the next generation of journalists but hey – as I wrote earlier – being fair doesn’t sell newspapers.

You have guys like Mark May – who most self-respecting college football fan knows is a grade A moron saying essentially that Mike McQueary by not running into that situation and saving the boy doesn’t deserve to live – that he isn’t human. That is basically what he said on live national TV. Now it turns out that the police believe McQueary’s life is in danger and yet wait for this…

The man accused of these crimes doesn’t need protective custody. He is living in his martial home with no police guards stationed outside of it. So the person accused of these heinous crimes is free to live his life with no seeming immediate fear but the person who is the key witness to putting this seemingly evil monster inside if left to fend for himself would probably be murdered for not doing enough.

The media have driven this story so hard that they have clouded the public’s perception for who the real villains are. If the baying mob want to kill McQueary then the likelihood of Sandusky being convicted of these crimes falls dramatically. Not a little. Dramatically.

So what do the mob want? Do they want justice for the victims or do they want to seek their own revenge on the key witness and ensure that these victims do not get full justice.

They two things are mutually exclusive. If the mob gets to McQueary then Sandusky in all likelihood walks free to possibly sexually abuse more boys. Is that really what the mob wants? Of course it isn’t but it is what the media bandwagon has driven them to.

The mob and the media cannot see the wood for the trees. Jerry Sandusky is the man accused of these crimes but no-one cares because the media have told them not to care. The media told them to care about Joe Paterno and now Mike McQueary and I genuinely fear for both their lives. I fear I’m going to wake up to the news that one or both of them will be butchered in cold blood by someone and if that happens then the blood stains will be all over ESPN and the rest of the media who have driven this story so far down the nation’s throats that people are choking on it and can’t see the reality, just the perception given to them by the media.

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November 12th, 2011 at 12:47 am

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How can you react when the man you idolise turns out not to be perfect?

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Few people that read this blog know me. Few people in fact truly know me. I am a loner. I live alone and I don’t let anyone get too close to me. Think Clubber Lang aka Mr T in Rocky III. I have always been this way. I do things my own way and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like the idea of setting out my life to my own set of goals. I don’t like risks. I like doing the right thing. I like living a quiet life. I have never ever truly looked up to someone…until a few years ago.

Several years ago my life was at an extremely low ebb. I had finished university and didn’t have a clue where my life was going. Then someone walked into my life. A person I have never met, never spoken to, someone who doesn’t even know I exist. However this person moved me with his teachings and the way he had handled his life. It led me to doing more research on the way he worked and the way he lived his life.

That man was Joseph Vincent Paterno.

There are a few people who read this and even know who he is or why I revered him so. He is (as of writing) an American Football coach. He is (as of writing) still the Head Coach of Pennsylvania State University Men’s Football Team. A job he has held since 1966. He has been on the staff at Penn State for well over half a century. 61 years he has given to the university. He taught a simple mantra ‘doing things the right way’ and he had the motto of ‘success with honour’.

This wasn’t just on the football field. This was in life. He taught all his kids that in life you have to do things the right way. There are no short-cuts. If you break the rules then you have to pay the consequences. He was dubbed ‘Saint Joe’ by the media. The university is one of only two major programmes in the States to have never fallen foul on any level of the NCAA (the other being Stanford). He had turned a small university in the middle of nowhere in central Pennsylvania into the university with the largest alumni base in the country. No-one else did he. He did it through his teachings and through football.

He gave his life to the university and to his kids as he saw them. Parents sent their kids to Penn State because Joe Paterno was there. A man with the impeccable moral compass – or so we thought.

The world collapsed around Paterno on Saturday after his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was indicted on 40 charges of sexual abuse against children. That couldn’t topple Paterno but then it came out that he knew something but didn’t stop it. What he knew we don’t know. I think we will know and we will hear in time. However that time frame isn’t clear. I have blogged on this already so I’ll keep this brief.

In 2002 Mike McQueary walked in on Jerry Sandusky allegedly anally raping a ten-year old boy in the showers at Penn State. Sandusky was no longer a coach but still used the facilities. McQueary was 22 years-old at the time. What he did next is something that is causing much heartache. He ran. He didn’t step in and stop Sandusky. He rang his dad and his dad told him to come home. He then informed Paterno what he saw and in turn Paterno informed his superiors what had been relayed to him. Both McQueary and Paterno did their legal requirement but the question of what they didn’t do morally is the pertinent question.

I will come out and say this. I can’t defend what Mike McQueary didn’t do but unlike most of the disgusting US media I can understand it. The US media is full of very macho men and strong women who know exactly what they would have done. They would have gone in there and stopped the sexual encounter and twated Sandusky and called the police. Obviously that is what we all hope we would have done but I have no idea what I would have done as a 22 year-old in that situation. I don’t know how as a 28 year-old I’d deal with that situation. I want to know how I would but I don’t know. None of us do. Would we freeze and run or would we intervene? Until you arrive into that situation you can’t know so I will not bury Mike McQueary over his initial reaction.

It is clear that McQueary, his father and Joe Paterno all should have gone to the police. In all honesty Mike McQueary should have done this and if he was unsure it is his father who should have encouraged him to do so. I know Joe Paterno is a father figure but he isn’t Mike’s dad and I think that this person should not be overlooked. Witnessing such an act is mentally scaring.

The fact is after Joe Paterno reported it to his superiors then they too failed to do anything. There was a witness who allegedly saw one of the most heinous crimes you could ever witness and yet no-one spoke to someone wearing a badge. Yes the man with oversight for the police was informed but he wasn’t a police officer. This is the decision that has toppled a man who taught me so much.

I am not saying I was off the road or bereft of morals before I learnt about this man. I in fact had and I do believe still have a very strong moral compass. However this man epitomised everything that I could ever aspire to be. He was a football coach but that was secondary – first of all he was a teaching and leader of young men. Many a wayward kid passed under the tutorship of Paterno and came out the better for it. He (and his family) pretty much built the library on Penn State’s campus with their own money. They gave back more to that community than I can put into words. They instilled something in everyone who passed through the gates into Happy Valley. Being a Penn Stater meant something.

Obviously I never went to Penn State. I’m not American so I went to an English university. However I wear Penn State hoodies not because of the fashion and not because of the football team but because it reminded me of doing the right thing. ‘Success with honour’ is one of the most wonderful things I have ever heard. To have success without any honour is meaningless. Success is secondary to honour.

In no form of life (to my knowledge) have I ever acted with dishonour. I have let people screw me over and back-stab me not because I am weak but because I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I treat people the way that I’d like to be treated whether they are friend or foe. There are people who have come into my life through various means but I have always been professional and courteous with them – even though at times it was extremely hard.

I have ambitions in life but I won’t get them any other way but the right way. I won’t stab people in the back or use people to get where I want to be. I will get there if that is where I’m meant to be. I would prefer not to do everything in my life that I wanted than get everywhere and everything that I wanted but leaving a trail of being a bad human being behind me. This is something I had in me anyway but this bespectacled grumpy football coach re-enforced those core beliefs in me.

Joe Paterno knows that he should have done more. It is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life. He isn’t perfect and maybe I should have realised that earlier. No-one is perfect. His mistakes were huge but I still firmly cling on to the belief that his inactions were not in any way part of a deliberate cover-up by the man. If it was then that would be totally devastating to me and I just can’t see it. I still believe he did wrong but not through any form of malice. It is something we all do. We make wrong decisions all the time despite trying to do our best but sometimes those wrong decisions can have catastrophic consequences and for young boys and families Joe’s seem to have done so.

So I sit here typing away as I come to the realisation that nobody is perfect and that his legacy will be tarnished by his inaction on this. He did so much good for so many people for only 60 years. I’m not just talking about the football players he coached but for the whole university, for everyone who came through the doors of Penn State, for people all over the world who tried to follow ‘the Penn State way of success with honour’ that he taught. He touched so many lives and yet now all anyone wants to do is crucify him for a mistake or more he made and all his good work should be forgotten because it isn’t important.

That makes me so sad it is indescribable. I know that Joe Paterno did nothing wrong. I think I know that anyway. No-one has said he did yet but he didn’t do things right either in this episode. I am in total shock and up most disgust with how the US media are handling this story. They have forgotten that Jerry Sandusky did these crimes and not Joe Paterno. They don’t care though as they have a lynch mob mentality. They want to take down ‘Saint Joe’. I saw a piece by the LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke today and in the middle of a column calling Joe Paterno everything under the sun he wrote the words ‘This is not about Joe Paterno’ and yet that is all he wrote about.

This is a horrific story of a seemingly vile man using his position of trust and his personality and cult status as one of the greatest Defensive coordinators in history to attack and prey on young men. It is also a story of how some people failed to act to stop it is a seamless fashion. There is plenty of blame to be thrown around but Jerry Sandusky if he did these unspeakable crimes is the man who deserves the ire. Joe Paterno failed but there are plenty of other people who failed to a larger degree but they aren’t the story because they are not Joseph Vincent Paterno. The media are driving this one and they will not let it go because the media are now our moral concious. Something that I believe is one of the biggest problems we face as a society but that is an issue for another day.

For now I am deeply saddened and troubled by this whole situation. I am troubled that so many lives were affected when it could have been stopped at so many points along the path but also I am saddened that this is how the Joe Paterno era is going to end. I have no idea if Joe Paterno will still be the Head Football Coach at Penn State by the time I wake up in the morning. If he is then I suspect he coaches on Saturday. The Board of Trustees are meeting tonight to discuss whether they should fire him. It could go either way.

I fear it will go down that they fire the man who made them every single thing are they are as a university because of the behaviour of one seemingly vile man and the inaction and mistakes of many others. Paterno will be the fall guy not only because he is the very public face of the university but because that is what the media wants.

Nobody is perfect. Not even Joe Paterno. That to me is like a new world order and it is something I am going to have to live and deal with. Yet I still would trust him with everything I have and if I ever have kids or grand kids then I’m 100% positive that they could not have a better role model in life than Joseph Vincent Paterno.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 10th, 2011 at 1:34 am

Further thoughts on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case

with 2 comments

Here is a comment I posted over at Black Shoe Diaries. I’m not a lawyer but I have been the foreman of a jury is a sexual abuse case against a minor so I have a little insight into how a jury operates in such a case.

From a legal PoV a lot still has to play out.

As far as we know the whole case against Sandusky will not include any hard physical evidence. There will be no physical evidence presented in court against him. The jury will have to decide who they believe – the accusers or Sandusky.

The only two first-hand witnesses for the prosecution will be Big Red and the Janitor. The defence will only have to discredit them or push either of their testimony to the ‘questionable’ pile and Sandusky may well be found not guilty.

As far as I’m aware Sandusky has a wife and several of these alleged incidents happened under the marital roof. From all we know the wife will not take the stand for the prosecution and will be a key defence witness. If she takes the stand and says she knows nothing, she saw nothing, heard nothing and is perceived as a credible witness she is a very key witness in this case.

Also the charges stem back what 17 years, it will only need the defence to discredit two or three of the accusers – heck even one – and the jury will suddenly shift to being far more concerned. The fact that no-one filed police charges until 2009 will also concern the jury. If it comes out under oath that the accusers told their parents and the parents did nothing then a jury will struggle with this as why should they believe testimony when their parents didn’t even believe it when it first came up.

I don’t like being that guy but I was the foreman of a jury in a very similar case and we found the defendant not guilty on all charges (it was a step-dad charged with abusing his step-children) and as a jury we could not get over the fact the mother didn’t believe her own child and only reported the case weeks later after she confided in other parents what her daughter had said.

I have no idea if Sandusky is guilty or not. I’m just saying the legal process has to play out and all the defence has to do is discredit one or two people to the point where a jury doesn’t believe their testimony and they’ll find him not guilty.

As for JoePa. Reading the national writers today they all think he should go. They though like you or I don’t know what Paterno did or didn’t do beyond the fact that legally he did everything right. Did he follow up with Curley/Schultz? We don’t know but until I see a reason to blame JoePa on any moral ground then I’ll fully back him.

Innocent until proven guilty is a very important motto – and legally that word proven is vital and something I think most people overlook unless they are actually sitting as a juror. Thinking he’s guilty after the evidence isn’t enough. They have to believe it.

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Written by neilmonnery

November 6th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Jerry Sandusky charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse. Others implicated in a potential cover-up

without comments

Well. This might be the hardest blog post I’ve sat down and written since I started this blog. It might be the hardest piece of writing I have ever sat down to do. Whenever you are writing about such serious crimes it is going to be hard and I’ve read the indictment in full…

Yesterday a Grand Jury indicted Jerry Sandusky with forty counts of sexual abuse against children. I doubt many (if any) regular or even semi-regular readers of this blog know who this man is so I’ll tell you. He was the former Defensive Coordinator at Penn State and was considered to be the natural heir to the man to whom I have more respect than any other person alive today that I have never met – Joe Paterno.

67 year-old Sandusky was on Joe Paterno’s staff for thirty years and was the person who led Penn State’s defense in the national title years of 1982 and 1986. The defensive scheme in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl is still to this day the greatest defense I have seen on a football field. The greatest offense ever seen in college football was shutdown by Penn State. Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde was intercepted five times that night including on 4th Down and Goal with nine seconds remaining. It was Sandusky who created ‘Linebacker U’ but his on field achievement seem so worthless today.

The charges and the Grand Jury’s indictment is ugly and to be honest a horrific account of long-term abuse against minors. Within 24 hours though the story moved on as others have been implicated. The AD at Penn State Tim Curley has been charged with perjury as has Gary Schultz the vice president for finance and business. As part of his job Schultz was also responsible for overlooking university police. Their charges stem from an incident in 2002 which sadly will taint Joe Paterno despite him not doing anything wrong.

That incident revolves around a grad assistant witnessing Sandusky abusing a boy on the Penn State campus. That grad assistant may well have been Big Red Mike McQueary but that isn’t gospel but it seems like the case. The grad assistant informed his father to what he witnessed and his father told him to come home. The next day McQueary visited the Paterno home and told the coach what he saw. The coach then informed both Curley and Schultz as he was meant to. This is all from Paterno’s testimony to the Grand Jury from earlier this year. I must point out that coach Paterno has not been charged with anything to do with this case and will not be according to the Grand Jury.

Curley and Schultz have also been charged with failing to notify the authorities of a potential sex crime which is illegal under Pennsylvania law although it terms of seriousness it is not serious enough to warrant jail time. Paterno has not been charged because he did not witness the alleged assault and he did inform both his superior and the person in charge of the university police. Legally he has done nothing wrong. Indeed it seems extremely likely that Paterno and the grad assistant will be prosecution witnesses in these cases.

The evidence seems overwhelming against all three charged. Curley and Schultz’s testimony in front of the Grand Jury was essentially the polar opposite to coach Paterno’s version of events as the two charged never believed a serious crime had been committed. It reeks of a cover-up and the main question is who was involved. As more comes out it does look as though one of my biggest idols is in the clear but maybe we’ll never know.

In 1998 there was an alleged incident of sexual abuse investigated by university police against Sandusky which never resulted in a criminal case. At this point the coach was still very much seen as the natural successor to Paterno. Within twelve months he had been forced into retirement by Paterno and Penn State. Paterno had told him that he wanted to make changes and that he was out. Considering how loyal Paterno is to his staff it smelled like something was up. To me it smells like Paterno knew something wasn’t right and wanted up out of there. However as part of his retirement agreement with the university he still had access to the facilities.

At this point how I must stress that everyone is innocent and I have seen many a Grand Jury indictment lead only to a Not Guilty verdict in a Court of Law despite there seeming to be damning evidence. All we have heard so far is the prosecutions side of the story and this is one thing I can’t get about the US legal system – the Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly has come out and said, “This is a case about a sexual predator who used his position within the university and community to repeatedly prey on young boys,It is also a case about high-ranking university officials who allegedly failed to report the sexual assault of a young boy after the information was brought to their attention, and later made false statements to a grand jury that was investigating a series of assaults on young boys.”

I just don’t get how an Attorney General come out and call Sandusky a sexual predator without having a guilty verdict in a Court of Law but hey maybe the US prefer a Guilty until proven Innocent stance from their legal officials. Why not say a man has been charged and then try him on the crimes? I often find that the more that comes out outside of the trial then the like likely it is the prosecution will get a conviction. That is just my own opinion though – I do not have the facts to back that up but in several very high-profile cases Stateside recently the more the public has apparently known the less chance the jury has convicted.

I have zero knowledge as to these charges and how it will play out in court. Lying to a Grand Jury is pretty nasty stuff however Barry Bonds is not sitting in a jail cell today, nor is Roger Clemens. So Curley and Schultz have hope even though it seems like they did lie under oath (and really why do that? They knew Paterno was going to say the truth so why lie to try and cover up your own either a) inadequacies or more alarmingly b) your own cover-up).

As for Jerry Sandusky who knows. He has strenuously denied all wrongdoing and the legal process will play out in due course.

What makes me sad at this moment is that Penn State has an almighty black-eye today and it is without a doubt the darkest day in the universities history. Coach Paterno who is a truly great man has a black eye just by association despite not doing anything wrong but all this pales into insignificance if the allegations are true because plenty of young people’s lives have been ruined by a sexual monster. Sexual abuse never leaves you.

For now though I shall stick by my old-fashioned ‘Innocent until proven Guilty’ motto and hope like anything that this is all untrue. I fear it isn’t but I stand by that motto. What it means for the future of Joe Paterno and the Penn State Football programme and the university as a whole I don’t know but what I do know is it’s a bleak day whatever happens from here on in.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

November 5th, 2011 at 10:50 pm