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.