The rioting by Penn State students on hearing the news that football coach Joe Paterno was summarily sacked (along with the university president) by the university’s Board of Trustees is inexcusable.
According to news reports, graduate assistant Mike McCreary (sometimes spelled as McQueary) observed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year old boy in the showers in the locker room all the way back in 2002. Why he did not immediately try to stop it is bad enough. He apparently reported it to Paterno the next day but Paterno says he was not told the details and simply reported to his superiors that there was some kind of problem and left it at that.
I find that unbelievable. Paterno exercises tight control over his operations. To think that he would not have asked for details of what McCreary had observed is preposterous. The fact that he and McCreary did nothing even when no action was taken against Sandusky for nine years is shameful. We are talking about the rape of a child. Paterno and McCreary and anyone else who knew of Sandusky’s serial predatory behavior and did nothing deserve a far greater punishment than firing.
The code of silence and cover-up in the Penn State football program reminds me of the Catholic church’s child abuse scandal and raises the question: Is there something about an all-male culture that makes people tolerate horrible abuses such as these?