11 November 2011
Specifically, I'm bored of the trustees of the Pennsylvania State University (which is the correct name, you know, as opposed to "Penn State"). Of course, I'm actually more than bored; I'm indignant at that body for dismissing head football coach Joe Paterno. Mike McQueary, a member of Paterno's staff, says that in 2002 former defensive co-ordinator Jerry Sandusky and a 10-year old boy were on campus in connection with Sandusky's charity, and that he witnessed Sandusky sodomize the boy in the shower at the football complex. He reported the alleged incident—Let's not forget (although I'm certain that this fact didn't even occur to most of us, in this age of guilty-until-proven-innocent mentality) that this is, so far, only allegation—to Paterno, who relayed notice thereof to athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, who told the university president (who also has been sacked). The university barred Sandusky from campus, but apparently failed to alert the police, as State law required; Curley and Schultz have now been charged with that crime, as well as perjury. Sandusky is accused of molesting eight boys over a 15-year span; Paterno is not suspected of any wrongdoing. Curley, Schultz, and Paterno have all testified that what they heard about Sandusky's behavior in the purported incident paled in comparison with what McQueary related to a grand jury.
On Wednesday, Paterno said "I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: to serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today. That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season." (He also said "I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief" and "with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," and that he is "absolutely devastated by the developments in this case," which he called "one of the great sorrows of my life.") Why wasn't this acceptable to the trustees, who, later that day, made the termination of his illustrious career effective immediately?
Paterno reacted with far more grace than was demonstrated by those who had sacrificed him, saying: "I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees' decision, but I have to accept it. A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property, and all that we value. I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players, and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt."
And so, the same institution that elected to retain corrupt scientist Michael Mann, even when the Weathergate scandal was yet fresh, has discharged the most famously scrupulous personage in US collegiate sports, even though his departure was less than two months off. There's nothing trusty about those trustees.