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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Posnanski book preview - Joe Paterno’s Last Season

Scott Paterno was the first in the family to understand that the Pennsylvania grand jury presentment that indicted Jerry Sandusky could end his father’s career. This wasn’t surprising; Scott tended to be the most realistic—or cynical, depending on who you asked—in the family. He had run for Congress and lost and along the way tasted the allure and nastiness of public life. He had worked as a lawyer and as a lobbyist. He would sometimes tell people, “Hey, don’t kid yourself, I’m the ####### of the family.” When Scott read the presentment, he called his father and said, “Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game.”

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM | 525 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, off-topic, ped, posnanski

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   501. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:19 PM (#4215394)
SugarBear, I'm sorry, I've agreed with you generally on this issue but I think it's important to get it right and not conclude that Paterno knew that "rape" had been witnessed without having credible evidence to that fact.

That isn't my conclusion. I agree with you that the state of the evidence is that Paterno was told of activity of a sexual nature, but not rape. I guess I don't see how that changes Paterno's duties and obligations.


And I don't think that it does.

I don't know if this analogy will work for the point I'm trying to make, but suppose a guy robs a gas station, and in the process shoots and kills a girl in her 20s. It turns out that the girl was pregnant, so he actually ended up killing two people. Yes, he should have known that a girl in her 20s could be pregnant. Yes, it doesn't change the fact that he committed a heinous act even if he didn't know. But if he didn't know she was pregnant, I see no value in pretending that he did.
   502. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4215396)
One angle that Paterno defenders use is that Schultz oversaw the campus cops. One problem there, though, among others, is that as Poz said, "He was Joe Paterno."


That's one problem. But I think the main problem is that he then talked them out of taking wider action. So the idea that Paterno thought he was reporting it to the proper authorities because Schultz oversaw the campus police is a farce.

Another thing--there has been a lot of stuff about how Paterno didn't like Sandusky. But he still didn't drop the proverbial dime on him, and had him as DC for years and years.


I think the leading theory, for me anyway, is that Paterno didn't turn Sandusky in because he knew it would wreck the image of the football program that he had built. Which it would have. And would have caused an investigation into just what in the hell was going on over there. And nobody who has a god complex takes kindly to being questioned. It's pretty much the "You can't handle the truth!" thing.
   503. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4215398)
[quote]every defense attorney I've ever met has conceded that the cops get it right about 99% of the time.

"Well, Fred! doesn't concede it, so that's 98% right there."

& Happy Valley PD with a local celebrity football hero/charity star? Odds fall fast.
   504. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4215399)
Think of what would have happened if Paterno turns Sandusky in in 2001: They investigate and find out that Sandusky raped a kid in the showers of the locker room. They then learn that Sandusky has the run of the place and has been trailing kids through there. They then learn that Paterno knew that Sandusky was under investigation in 1998 and yet didn't see fit to take his car keys away. Etc etc etc.

The myth that Paterno had built up comes crashing down.
   505. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4215410)
That's a dilemma all right!
   506. robinred Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4215424)
But I think the main problem is that he then talked them out of taking wider action

I am not sure this is factually established at this point. If it is, then that is obviously a bigger deal than Paterno's position, but I didn't mention it for that reason, not because I overlooked it.
   507. Topher Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4215428)
Think of what would have happened if Paterno turns Sandusky in in 2001: They investigate and find out that Sandusky raped a kid in the showers of the locker room. They then learn that Sandusky has the run of the place and has been trailing kids through there. They then learn that Paterno knew that Sandusky was under investigation in 1998 and yet didn't see fit to take his car keys away. Etc etc etc.

The myth that Paterno had built up comes crashing down.


This is my basic take for what happened. Just speculation of course.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if Paterno actively intervened years prior to 1998. My (not thorough, admittedly) reading of the story seems to suggest that there were hints about Sandusky even before that time. I could see Paterno "handling" the situation the way that we've heard many other times for handling pedophiles such as the uncle that isn't to be left alone with the kids, or the priest ... or in this case Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky would be pulled aside and given an extremely forceful threat / talking to / beating so that the message was conveyed that this type of behavior wasn't to happen again. Even ignoring the tendency for football programs to handle all discipline in house, this was a pretty common way to handle sexual predators back in the day. Making the crime public would bring shame to the victim so you handle the situation internally. And in the case of PSU, publicity you don't want. So Paterno (or somebody else) has that stern intervention with Sandusky. Which, of course, failed.

Of course, when the internal handling fails, you end up with a situation that leads to a cover up that is just as bad as the crime. Paterno / PSU "can't" let it be known that they knew of the situation and failed to report it to the authorities. So they cover up and just hope and pray that Sandusky stops and/or takes his secrets with him to his grave.
   508. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4215443)
I am not sure this is factually established at this point. If it is, then that is obviously a bigger deal than Paterno's position, but I didn't mention it for that reason, not because I overlooked it.


The evidence is page 74 et seq of the Freeh report. Curley, Schultz, and Spanier had basically settled on a plan to (a) tell Second Mile, (b) tell the Dept of Welfare, and (c) tell Sandusky "about appropriate use of the facilities." [See Schultz email to Curley.] However, the next day Curley emailed Schultz and Spanier and said that "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday -- I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved." The revised plan was basically to tell Sandusky they thought there was a problem [ya think?] and that they would assist him with getting help and would work with him to talk to Second Mile -- and only if he was not cooperative would they go to the "other organization," i.e., to the Department of Welfare.

That evidence indicates that Paterno was strongly involved in the decision to revise the plan -- and basically that he talked them out of it.
   509. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4215448)
So they cover up and just hope and pray that Sandusky stops and/or takes his secrets with him to his grave.


There was definitely some of this, expressed in the Spanier email re the revised plan: "The only downside for us is if the message isn't 'heard' and acted upon, and we become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed."

Note here the disgusting concern for everyone _except_ the kid(s). There was concern for themselves, and even for Sandusky, but no concern for the kids.

I ask again whether there is _any_ evidence that Paterno was concerned about the kids, at any time, until after the doors blew off this thing.
   510. robinred Posted: August 23, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4215483)
Spanier's lawyer responds to the Freeh Report:

http://espn.go.com/photo/preview/!pdfs/120822/espn_pennst_critique_of_report.pdf
   511. robinred Posted: August 23, 2012 at 02:59 AM (#4215502)
Spanier talks to The New Yorker:

He was very personable; you could talk to him about anything. He had the most remarkable memory of any human being I’ve ever met. I’m not exaggerating. I can’t tell you how many times we would bump into somebody—let’s say it’s 1996, or 2010. And we’d be at an event somewhere and he’d spot somebody and he’d say, “Weren’t you on the Syracuse team in 1953, when that play occurred and you blocked so-and-so?” … He also had tremendous energy


And it was reported that they were horsing around in the shower. Now they either used the word “horsing around” or “horseplay.” And the staff member wasn’t sure what he saw, because it was indirect and around a corner.



We agreed in that meeting ... that we needed to do two things ... Tim Curley needs to talk with Jerry Sandusky and explain to him that this is unacceptable to us. We didn’t know what [Sandusky] would say; I didn’t know him, I’m not sure if Gary Schultz knew him. Tim probably knew him well. But he needed to understand that it didn’t feel right to us, it wouldn’t look right to people, it’s not appropriate. He was no longer an employee at the university; he’d been retired for three years. So we didn’t have any hold over him in that way. But he was with the Second Mile, and we thought, we should tell the president of the Second Mile that we’re going to give Jerry this directive, and we’d like their support for that, and we don’t want any Second Mile kids being brought into the athletic shower facilities


http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/08/graham-spanier-interview-on-sandusky-scandal.html#2
   512. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2012 at 06:11 AM (#4215520)
But … what? That was my book. There was the bloated superhero of Nov. 4, the savage villain of Nov. 5 … and I searched for the human being in the middle. I believe most of us live somewhere in the middle.

I skimmed through the thread ... and this was from about 400 posts ago but comes from the Poz interview.

I'll ignore the offensive banality of the last sentence but the sentence before suggests something almost interesting. I wouldn't have a problem with a book that tried to find the "real Paterno" in-between the two extremes.

But Poz says this as if this was the theme of his book from day one. Through Nov 4, Poz's book was about Paterno the superhero and I'd be quite surprised if the notion of "bloated" crossed his mind. He may have scrambled to try to write the book he describes above but, as Pearlman of all people notes, that's really just impossible to switch from hero worship to "objective arbitrator". And why should we trust a guy who bought the superhero hype until Nov 5?

One thing I haven't seen raised here (but may well have missed)and it kinda concerns me -- I would be surprised if there aren't dozens of college (and pro) coaches of the last 4 decades who have participated in cover-ups of rape. I think many people are greatly underestimating the ability of humans to rationalize away horrors when it's for the "greater good" of their self-interest or program or legacy or university or corporation or administration or Church or whatever. Sandusky is an inhuman monster, Paterno is an example of the worst of humanity but he's unfortunately got plenty of company.
   513. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 23, 2012 at 07:32 AM (#4215533)
Why is "horseplay" -- "towel snapping" as Spanier called it in another of interviews yesterday -- worthy of intervention and four senior people meeting about it and exchanging emails? Indeed, why would the university president even be in the loop if Sandusky was snapping towels at people, even kids, in the locker room?




   514. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 23, 2012 at 08:20 AM (#4215545)
SBB, to turn that question around, why would McQueary be agitated over "towel snapping" and "horseplay"? Even giving all benefits of doubt to Spanier, et al, shouldn't these guys have noticed that disconnect and pursued it?
   515. AndrewJ Posted: August 23, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4215550)
Something that's being lost in this discussion: Most civilians don't have the luxury of mulling over possible child abuse/sexual abuse allegations on their own schedule. My parents are both retired public school teachers -- during their careers, they were legally obligated (as are doctors, music instructors and the like) to immediately tell the authorities if they saw one of their students being beaten by their parents, or if they saw bruises on their students' bodies. People who are required to tell social workers ASAP about child abuse have difficulty empathizing with the Penn State officials taking their own sweet time to determine who to tell, and when.
   516. Eddo Posted: August 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4215648)
SBB, to turn that question around, why would McQueary be agitated over "towel snapping" and "horseplay"? Even giving all benefits of doubt to Spanier, et al, shouldn't these guys have noticed that disconnect and pursued it?

That's SBB's point, isn't it? To buy into the "horseplay" excuse, you have to ignore all common sense as to how this ever got escalated in the first place.
   517. calhounite Posted: August 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4215698)
Plausible deniabily. The fallback position was ALWAYS PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. The fallback is now for all the living devils. That's why Sandusky was ACTIVELY AIDED in the commission of his abominations. To promote the image of an exonerated, pristine Sandusky - the future "proof" that there was NO REASON for even any suspicion of Sandusky.

Paterno, et al, bought it in 1998. At that point the place, the area, the populace was transformed into a working pimp factory for pedophiles.

The cryptic, coded emails Freeh uncovered were never supposed to be discovered.They put the lie to the whole farce, which is what the root cause of this tragedy, the mad PSU mob, still can't get to cross their one collective synapse.

Hey, if you've got to buy the book, wait until the dollar trash bin sale. Shouldn't be long.
   518. AndrewJ Posted: August 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4215781)
I'm picking up Posnanski's Paterno book at the library this afternoon. I'll let you know what I think of the early going this evening.
   519. jingoist Posted: August 23, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4215992)
Nixon and company tried to use the plausible deniability defense way back in 1973 when the Watergate investigation grew closer and closer to them.
Seems that people in power often think they can finesse their way out of any repercussions because they are in power.
The only good news here is that it quite often blows up in their face.
   520. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4260352)
Sandusky sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.
   521. Hack Wilson Posted: October 09, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4260412)
Sandusky sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.


This will get Sandusky lots of time to engage in horseplay and towel snapping in the showers.
   522. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4260460)

I'm responding to the worst loss of my life.

First, I looked at myself. Over and over, I asked why? Why didn't we have a fair opportunity to prepare for trial?

Why have so many people suffered as a result of false allegations? What's the purpose? Maybe it will help others. some vulnerable children who could be abused might not be because of all the publicity. That would be nice, but I'm not sure about it. I would cherish the opportunity to become a candle for others, as they have been a light for me.

They can take away my life, they can make me out as a monster, they can treat me as a monster, but they can't take away my heart. In my heart, I know I did not do these alleged disgusting acts.

My wife has been my only sex partner, and that was after marriage. Our love continues.

A young man who was dramatic, a veteran accuser and always sought attention, started everything. He was joined by a well-orchestrated effort of the media, investigators, the system, Penn State, psychologists, civil attorneys and other accusers. They won.

I've wondered what they really won: attention, financial gain, prestige — will all be temporary.

Before you blame me, as others have, look at everything and everybody. Look at the preparation for the trial and the trial. Compare it to others. Think about what happened. Why, and who made it happen?

Evaluate the accusers and their families. Realize they didn't come out of isolation. The accusers were products of many more people and experiences than me. Look at their confidants and their honesty. Think about how easy it was for them to turn on me given the information, attention and potential perks. I never labeled or put down them or their families. I tried and I cared, then asked for the same.

Please realize all came to the Second Mile because of issues. Some of those may remain.

We will continue to fight. We didn't lose the proven facts, evidence, accurate locations and times. Anything can be said. We lost to speculation and stories that were influenced by people who wanted to convict me.

We must fight unfairness and consistency and dishonesty. People need to be portrayed for who they really are.

We've not been complainers. When we couldn't have kids, we adopted. When we didn't have time to prepare for a trial, we still gave it our best. We will fight for another chance.

We have given many second chances, and now we'll ask for one. It will take more than our effort. Justice will have to be more than just a word, fairness more than just a dream. It will take others: somebody apolitical with the courage to listen, to think about the unfairness, to have the guts to stand up and take the road less traveled.

I ask for the strength to handle everything and willingness to surrender only to God, regardless of the outcome.


That's some prime-grade WTF??? right there.
   523. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4260479)
That's some prime-grade WTF??? right there.


Whatever it is, it amounts to an abstract denial, and is not a refutation of a single fact.
   524. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4260508)
Whatever it is, it amounts to an abstract denial, and is not a refutation of a single fact.


Did Bill James write that for Sandusky?
   525. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 09, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4260532)
Nothing much of anything changed around the cult of Penn State football.
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