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OEsheepdog

OEsheepdog
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Director of Change
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Change is good...that's what I keep telling my colleagues. It's difficult and hard. It's challenging and rewarding. It's fraught with peril. It needs to be done...yesterday!

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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 10, 2011 9:21AM

Penn St. = Catholic Church; Joe Paterno = Cardinal Law

Rate: 9 Flag

Much will be said and written over the next several days about the tragedy surrounding the alleged sexual abuses of boys and young men by an assistant football coach who worked for Penn State University.

Those boys and young men are the victims. Not Joe Paterno, the Penn State adminstration or the current members of the Penn State football team.

The title of this post came from the end of an email from a good friend. He was a collegiate football player, and attended an all Catholic boys high school. He succinctly summed up what has been the behavior of the larger institution to protect itself, and the failure of that institution to protect innocent victims.

Perhaps if the school had been Ohio State, or Michigan, or University of Miami, what are known as "football factories," the outrage wouldn't be as strident. But Penn State, JoePa, and its self proclaimed image of character and values has boomeranged into a ignominious image of self preservation and hypocrisy.

The media likes to purport that the coverup is always worse than taking responsibility, correcting the wrong and asking for forgiveness. Certainly the Catholic Church, Richard Nixon, and now Penn State University failed to follow this precept.

When Extra Strength Tylenol Capusules  were tampered with in the 1980s and contained poison which killed users, Johnson and Johnson pulled the product from the shelves and took responibility. Against the advise of their lawyers, too. That brand has survived.

Usually if there is power to wielded, or money to be made, the ends usually justify the means. Joe Paterno, could have done more to protect the victims of Sandusky's alleged abuse. Instead he chose to protect himself and the reputation his program.

Sounds a lot like Cardinal Bernard Law and the Archidocese of Boston.

 

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OEsheepdog, your thoughts on this are definitely along the lines of the smartest people working in PR crisis management!
It was time for him to go, if its really sad it ended that way too, and, he's not Cardinal Law, because that was way, way more extensive an issue. Maybe people are afraid of that association always being remembered, since he was, and is, a hero to a lot of people, which means as well though that he has to calm the kids down there too, before someone gets hurt, and that could easily happen with all the drinking at Main Campus=Happy Valley.
While I think the comparison doesn't fit precisely, there's enough of one to make his cashiering justified. r.
People covering up this stuff make me ill. I feel for those kids and the pain they went through and the pain they have to go through again.
HUGGGGGGGG
You're correct on every count of the indictment, including that much will be said and written about this scandal -- including by me:

The Lion in Winter
.
I never liked the guy, and my mom couldn't stand him (Penn State beat Missouri in the Orange Bowl many years ago). That said, at least he's getting out of the way quietly and urging calm and not stonewalling or hanging on.
John -- thanks.

Don --I don't know. Sandusky was at Penn State from 1969.

Jon -- Something for one to consider.

Linda -- I'm with you. Paterno will always be covered by the slime.

Tom -- If Paterno is a victim, it is because of his own hubris.

Con -- If it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't.
The Penn St. Board is thoroughly right in cleaning house. It'll be a long time before the school gets past this horror. If a Penn St. player had taken a box of Krispy Kremes from a booster, the NCAA would bust the football program. Sexual abuse? They can't do a thing.

For a couple semesters, Ms. Stim taught a PR Crisis Management class at a local college. The Tylenol case is textbook on how to react to such an extreme situation: get the CEO out front immediately, accept responsibility and tell the public how you're going to handle the situation.
I completely agree with you that Paterno's biggest "sin" here was his role in the cover-up; and yes, it was enough to get him fired. I had written about this a couple of days ago, that he apparently so desired to keep his and his program's reputations clean that he would turn a blind eye to what was happening.

But I don't give him any applause or approval for "getting out of the way" or asking for calm, as it appears that Con is doing. He should have voluntarily stepped aside. The fact that he merely said that he would retire at the end of the season, before he was fired, merely showed that he still does not fully grasp what he has done (well, really, not done) and the damage that his inactions caused to the young boys preyed upon by Sandusky and the program that he has now left behind to suffer the consequences of this scandal.
I completely agree with you that Paterno's biggest "sin" here was his role in the cover-up; and yes, it was enough to get him fired. I had written about this a couple of days ago, that he apparently so desired to keep his and his program's reputations clean that he would turn a blind eye to what was happening.

But I don't give him any applause or approval for "getting out of the way" or asking for calm, as it appears that Con is doing. He should have voluntarily stepped aside. The fact that he merely said that he would retire at the end of the season, before he was fired, merely showed that he still does not fully grasp what he has done (well, really, not done) and the damage that his inactions caused to the young boys preyed upon by Sandusky and the program that he has now left behind to suffer the consequences of this scandal.
I appreciate reading your thoughts on this. The whole thing is just sickening. And students rioting over the firing of Paterno? One only hopes that, someday, these kids will grow some empathy, and that they will look back on what they did and say, "What was I thinking?".
I think I hate the ones who watched and did nothing, but worry about themselves, than the sick Sandusky. Sandusky is very sick but Paterno is just very rotten. Oooh, this story makes me mad. I've seen this kind of abuse of power and coverup firsthand. There should be very punitive measures against anyone with any knowledge of what was happening to these boys, and who looked the other way. It is clear that many heads need to roll here.
R&F. You nailed. The parallel is palpable.
Well said. I think that if Joe Paterno had taken thorough action to stop the abuse when he first found out, he would have done a lot more good for the long-term image of Penn State football, in addition to preventing more victims from being abused there. Hiding these crimes totally undermines the ethical foundation of everything he's done.

Yes, it sounds way too much like Cardinal Law.
I read the Grand Jury report last night. I can't even describe the feelings/anger/outrage/disgust. I'm surprised I slept. Good post OE.