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Douchebag Decree: Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, and the PSU Administration That Covered It Up

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

Trigger warning: This post contains descriptions of rape, molestation, and abuse.

As you probably know, some epic douchiness transpired recently in State College Pa., where Jerry Sandusky exerted his power as an assistant coach at a semi-religious institution (Penn State Football) to (allegedly) rape boys. And in the six days since the indictment on Sandusky dropped, a douche-laden web of white men protecting the job and reputation of another (alleged child rapist) white man has been revealed.

Sandusky's charges (40 counts of sexual abuse of eight boys) have rightfully brought the proud Nittany Lions and Penn State's Board of Trustees to their knees, forcing the firings of University's President Graham Spanier, and Head Coach/Trailer Park Boys' Bubbles look-alike Joe Paterno. 

The grand jury report details a systemic failure by Paterno and the administration to act on reports of rapes and abuses, and a structure of trust that aided in covering up Sadusky's despicable behavior. Furthermore, it's a horrifying but all too familiar tale of a seemingly altruistic man taking advantage of troubled youths that he targeted through his nonprofit, The Second Mile, created to support them.

Naturally, the media coverage and the yammering world of sports punditry have skirted the gruesome details, choosing instead to focus on the impact of the charges on the football program and its coach of 40 years still riding high for achieving the Charlie Sheen honor of  "winningest coach in Division I football." Part of that diversion from the details is the media's "kid gloves" (excuse the pun) approach to the horrors of child molestation and rape.  

The venerable Paterno ("Joe Pa" or "Joe Paternalistic" as I'll now refer to him) must accept his role as douchebag for aiding in a cover up of epic proportions, even if he thinks he acted appropriately. For the record, here's what allegedly occurred: In 2002, a graduate assistant coach witnessed Sandusky anally raping a boy after hours in the Lions' locker room shower. Shaken, the witness (himself subjected to a power differential as a graduate assistant coach) reported to his superior, Coach Paterno. When someone reports a rape by a 50-something ex-coach (Sandusky officially retired in 1999, but retained access to Penn State facilities) of a ten-year-old boy, alarms should ring from the mountaintops. (Remember that scene in Lord of the Rings when they light those huge fires on top of mountains to send a signal across Middle Earth? Yeah, it should be that kind of alarm.) 

And raised they were, only to the wrong people. Joe Pa, ever deferent to hierarchies, reported Sandusky's rape to the Athletic Director, Tim Curley, and Penn State Senior Vice President of Finance and Business, Gary Schultz. These two douchebags have since resigned (forcibly) and been charged with perjury and failure to report the sex crime. Douchebag Paterno's punishment was yesterday's pink slip, which prompted Penn State fans and students to take to the streets in some half-assed show of solidarity

Yet another douchebag emerged from the Twittersphere, where Ashton Kutcher tweeted, "How do you fire Joe Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste." (The tweet has since been removed and Kutcher has apologized—good thing considering that he suggested that the firing of a man who covered up child rape was lacking in "class.")

But back to Paterno. Why report this eyewitness account to a VP of "finance and business"? 

Dave Zirin, The Nation's first and only sports columnist, argues that PSU football's role in propping up the school and the region's economy (and spirit) is too big too fail. With an estimated $59 million per game in revenues for the region's economy, what VP of "finance and business" wouldn't want to keep this on the down low?

Another member of the white men-in-power douchebag ring is Wendell Courtney, former PSU general counsel and lawyer for The Second Mile (alarms ringing in Rohan yet?), who in 1998 reviewed a university police report detailing an eyewitness account of Sandusky showering with boys. The county's district attorney chose not to pursue the case against Sandusky. 

If this case has done anything, it has only underscored the abuses of power and negligence that can happen when douchebags in charge of other douchebags seek to maintain or further their own financial needs. The PSU athletic department and administration aided a child molester in covering up his crimes and allowing them to persist for far too many years. And for what? A football legacy? A college athletic brand? A region's economic lifeblood? What are the lives of eight (potentially more) boys when stacked up against a multi-million dollar juggernaut? 

Counter to what the students rioting at PSU seem to think, the lives of those boys are worth far more than Joe Paterno's record, or any title the PSU team might achieve. Obviously the accusations against Sandusky are egregious, but perhaps more egregious is the male-dominated sports industrial complex that failed to take these accounts seriously. Shame on Sandusky and shame on Paterno, Curley, Schultz and the PSU leadership for allowing a predator to remain in their locker room. 

 

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Comments

17 comments have been made. Post a comment.

For the love.

"In 2002, a graduate assistant coach witnessed Sandusky anally raping a boy after hours in the Lions' locker room shower. Shaken, the witness (himself subjected to a power differential as a graduate assistant coach) reported to his superior, Coach Paterno."

I'm sorry. You're giving McQueary a pass because of a power differential of him being a graduate assistant? The media, even good feminist media, has lost their minds. What your post should say is that a 28 year old man, who is and was physically imposing (he played college ball) and therefore in no fear for his own person, walked in on a ten year old being anally sodomized, turned around, left, called his daddy, and not only didn't break it up or report it to the police but waited until the next day to report it to Paterno.

Decree as many douches as you like in this story, but shame on you for excusing one of the most egregious.

I agree that McQueary is also a douche

I agree that McQueary too falls in the douche category and should have notified proper authorities. But I sympathize with him only in the sense that he, subject to a power differential, could have easily been "the boy who cried wolf" and discredited while yet another cover-up transpired. Joe Pa had more power in that locker room than anyone (police included, I would argue) and McQueary likely thought the right thing would have been done (he's since acted as a key witness and his testimony--which he easily could've backed down from if the screws were turned--resulted in the firing of these top officials).

McQueary acted as a key

McQueary acted as a key witness nine years after the fact. He was a man, not a boy. He watched a rape occur and left that child with his rapist. He didn't call the police. He didn't pull Sandusky off of a ten year old child. He waited a full day to go to Joe. There is no excuse. If Joe, and other douchebags, are to be pilloried, McQueary gets a seat near the top of the list.

Yeah, I have to agree with

Yeah, I have to agree with this. Are we going to allow people to abdicate their ethical responsibilities as human beings, simply because they sit near the bottom of the power totem pole? Because I am not on board with that.

I agree. McQueary is just as

I agree. McQueary is just as much to blame as the others who covered it up, if not more so since he actually witnessed the rape. There is absolutely nothing whatsoever that excuses not calling the police right then and there, power dynamic be damned. I don't care if it would have endangered his job. No job is worth letting a child be abused.

Thank you, Michelle. That is

Thank you, Michelle. That is exactly what I am thinking. We have given males far too many passes like this. McQueary IS one of the most egregious douches in this whole, sad, stomach-turning situation. He should be held fully accountable. All of these men are cowards, lacking in common decency, lacking a moral compass, lacking empathy and compassion. They, along with the societal/cultural machine that is driving this kind of behaviour, disgust me.

Well spoken!

...and shame on Mike McQueary, the graduate student who witnessed the sodomy and did not intervene. Instead of calling the police, he called his dad and left the premises. Mike still works at Penn State as a coach- I hope he's the next head to roll. A local friend said "if anybody who knew and didn't report it gets fired, then everybody who knew and didn't report it should get fired." I couldn't agree more.

I'm a local, and the residents here are filled with disgust, anger and tears over what happened and the apparent cover-up that occurred. The students...I don't think they know how to deal with their little world turned upside down. I don't condone their actions...but I guess I can understand their frustration.

No Empathy/Sympathy for Rioters

I just can't feel empathy for the rioting students. I live in a college town very much obsessed with football, and while I never really participated much in the culture surrounding it, I support my team. I would never support a coach or any other staff/faculty member in these circumstances. These students need to pull their heads out of their asses and wake up to bigger world beyond college and college football. I would like to say that if this happened at my former school, the students wouldn't react this way, but I don't have that kind of confidence in them (or others across the country). I think the riots are indicative of how screwed up priorities are for so many college students these days (especially, let's say it, over privileged college students).

When we talk about McQueary

When we talk about McQueary not going to the police immediately, I think we are focusing on McQueary as an individual and not on the larger rape culture, sports culture, locker room culture, and institutionalized corruption that is so insidious and overpowering that it causes a 28-year-old who witnessed a horrific act to not go to the "proper" authorities. I agree with the author that there were probably a lot of power dynamics involved that led to allowing these abuses to continue, powered and reinforced by a culture that values sports industry and white men in power over the lives of youth of color (the riots at Penn State that happened last night proves this). Plus, who's to say the police would even had done the "right thing" if it had been brought to their attention? Didn't they already dismiss charges once already?

I could understand if Paterno

I could understand if Paterno didn't believe McQueary because of his 40+ year friendship with Sandusky. A 40 year friendship is pretty substantial and something most people don't have experience with. If I were in his shoes, I would have a hard time believing it myself if it were MY friend accused of such a crime.

But that said, if Paterno thought it was a good idea to report anything, then he SHOULD have instructed McQueary to call the cops immediately if McQueary really stood by his statement. Because Paterno didn't empower McQueary to report it externally, then it's obvious they were protecting the program and thus, Penn State will forever be known as Penn-etration State.

Really? 'Penn-etration

Really? 'Penn-etration State'? You sincerely believe this is the appropriate time to make a joke like that?

I am a 2002 graduate from

I am a 2002 graduate from Penn State Univeristy.

I volunteered time while in school with the Second Mile

I grew up less than 15 miles from the main campus of Penn State.

this entire incident has made me sick-sick-sick-sick

I think it is so sad that Paterno's iconic career has to end this way. Joe is a good man, who has done wonderful things for the State College community (trust me, I live close to there, I have seen these things first hand) however, the only thing evil needs to prevail is for good men to stand by and do nothing.

I have never had much Penn State Pride like most other students. I think football is stupid, and the WE ARE PENN STATE cheer annoys me to no end. However, irregardless of that, it still makes me sad that someone I had always thought to be a good person, and a giving one, turns out to not be.

I expected better of him. I expected better of the entire administration - well other than Spanier, cause he is an A-hole

Irregardless.

Irregardless.

Disgusting. People should

Disgusting. People should really be ashamed of themselves. This is ridiculous! Can money really make people that uncaring? Is the world lacking in just human compassion? How could you see a little boy get raped then leave? how could you cover this up?Think about all the boys who didn't come forward to this. They are more then douche bags, they are things, sub-humans with out a shard of dignity or duty to anything but money.

I honestly don't think the

I honestly don't think the Douchebag Decree is appropriate in this instance. This goes so far beyond sexist commercials, objectifying protesters, celebrities making transphobic comments, etc. (all recent subjects of Douchebag Decrees). I wouldn't call the people involved douchebags; that is not nearly a harsh enough term for the damage they have perpetrated.

Agreed.

Agreed.

Grand Jury report

I wish Bitch had actually read the Grand Jury report instead of other news reports to get the facts straight. Paterno did not inform Gary Schultz of anything...in the GJ report it's pretty clear that Paterno reported it to his supervisor, Curley, and Curley chose to get Schultz involved. Curley and Schultz both had a "sit-down" with McQueary the next day to find out what happened. Curley and Schultz then had another meeting with the Executive Director of the Second Mile (Dr. Jack Raykovitz) to decide what needed to be done. ALL THREE agreed that Sandusky's "punishment" was to not have him bring small boys onto PSU's campus, which Curley later admitted wouldn't be enforceable given Sandusky's generous (and legally enforceable) retirement package.

Under PA law, Paterno did what he was legally supposed to do (what he should have done morally is another matter). Yes, Paterno could have alerted authorities, but I also feel that he was conflicted about what he should do. I don't think it was just because of the program that he chose not to follow through; I think he had unease in believing that his close friend and colleague of 30+ years could actually be a child molester. In the GJ report, Paterno testified that McQueary told him that Sandusky was "fondling or doing something of a sexual nature" to the boy. Maybe McQueary felt uncomfortable detailing everything that he saw, or maybe Paterno is lying about all of the details that were said, but the GJ didn't include him on perjury claims. Paterno probably felt that reporting it to Curley and hearing later from Curley that they had "followed up" was enough for him because he didn't want to be involved in the matter given his relationship with Sandusky.

I feel that if Bitch is going to widen the "douche ring," why weren't the following discussed: Dr. Raykovitz, Joseph Miller (wrestling coach who caught Sandusky lying face to face with a victim), Steven Turchetta (principal of the school where Sandusky volunteered and who ultimately "banned" him from the school), Donald Shreffler (University Park police who told Sandusky to "stop showering with boys"), Ray Gricar (Centre County DA who dropped charges in 1998), Jim Calhoun (janitor who witnessed an Sandusky forcing oral sex on a boy), Ronald Petrosky (employee who was told by Calhoun about the incident), Sandusky's wife (who called a victim before his GJ appearance and who never had a suspicion when her husband went to the basement in the middle of the night with young boys?), and any friends/family members who had suspicions but never acted.

My point isn't that Paterno is a "good guy" and shouldn't be vilified, nor am I suggesting that PSU's institutional mentality didn't obviously contribute to more children being harmed due to their overt cover-ups. I guess my point is that this extended beyond Paterno's failure to act and that there were numerous occasions for people in the community across the years to do more. And believe me, I live in State College, and people are very willing to deny what is going on beyond child molestation. I'm just sick of the media focusing on Paterno and PSU and what it represents and making "an example" of them when the facts extend well beyond that. Hindsight is always 20/20.