My Thoughts on Joe ...

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by The Dude, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. The Dude

    The Dude Professor of Dudanomics

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    I've been thinking about it since he died, and I have a few things to say.

    Before I start, know that understanding weakness is not the same as condoning abuse. Rationalizing an old man's inability to deal with the situation is not the same thing as saying that the old man thought it was OK. Also, understand that those who shout the loudest often know the least, especially about themselves.

    That said ...

    Everyone folds. By that, I mean that everyone has moments of weakness, when we either do nothing when we know we should do something, or when we do less than we know we should. I have stepped up and defended weaker people a number of times, but I haven't done it every time. Does that make me a coward? If my neighbor hits his wife, and I report it, have I done enough? If the cops let him go, and that neighbor kills his wife a year later, should I go to jail? If that neighbor works for me, should I lose my job?

    I think Joe was looking for someone to say "I'll take it from here." I think he wanted nothing to do with what happened, and he didn't want to believe his friend could do or have done what it is now obvious that he did. I think Joe made a mistake. I think he folded. I think he had a lot of company in doing so. And I'll bet most guys on this site are currently dodging something they know they should handle right now. Maybe someone's and addict and we know about it. Maybe someone else cheats, hits, or steals, and we do nothing. Maybe these someones are close to us, are our responsibility even, and we do nothing, or very little. Everyone folds. If you're a stand up guy every minute of every day, then you'll be the first I ever met, though I'm sure most here will falsely claim to be just that.

    So I have two things to say. First, those of you who like to talk about what happened with sentences that begin with "I woulda ..." don't know what you're talking about. You may have an idea what you would like yourself to do, but you don't know anything. I worked in a lot of bars in my youth. Guys who talk that way are the first guys to stare down at their beers when something jumps off. Talk means nothing. No one knows until they have no other choice but to find out. Read that last sentence again, please.

    I think Joe was strong. I think he was a role model. I think he deserves to be blamed in a significant way for what happened, but he didn't and doesn't deserve what we're doing to him now. He did something. He just didn't do enough. He allowed out of sight to be out of mind - and anyone propping up an addict in the family knows exactly how this works. It's shameful, but we killed him for it, and that's too much.

    Understand that we as a culture like nothing more than the fall of greatness. From ancient greek tragedy to modern reality TV, we delight in having fame and fortune to tear apart. That's why, even though there are many people who turned a blind eye, many of whom had more direct power to deal with the situation than Joe did, we only blame Joe. He's the famous one, after all. No need to know the names of the campus police guys or the names of the Board of Trustees, or the President. They're not as much fun to tear down. For every Tebow fan out there, there are two people hoping beyond hope that he gets picked up with drugs on him while soliciting a hooker. It's just what we are, and it's sad that we do the things we do.

    I think Jerry Sandusky deserves everything he gets and more. I think Joe already got way more than he had coming, and history will likely judge us harshly for what we've done. Make no mistake. We killed a man the other day. We should be as willing to accept blame for that as we are to dispense blame to others.
     
  2. bdub

    bdub Walk On

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    I agree with most everything you said here. He is one of the greatest and if he was a good guy or not I didn't know him so don't know. He was a great coach that is for sure.

    I also think he was treated unfairly but don't feel bad for him. He voluntarily put himself on the pedestal and he had to know if he ever was found to have used questionable judgment he would get destroyed by the public.

    Either way like I said he was an amazing coach and thats what I will remember him for.
     
  3. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Walk On

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    As someone who grew up in Happy Valley, knew Joe and Sue, and someone who is in the profession I can tell you that most Penn Staters are beyond caring about what outsiders think. Not to sound callous, or to discount your opinions, but we are a group that has been beat up, sensationalized, and told how to feel by people who have the ethics of a greedy pig. We are told that feeling bad about Joe is wrong because of an incident in which he turned it over to the local authorities and walked away. We are told that we can't feel bad about Joe and not disrespect the alleged victims.

    Joe always used a rotary phone at home because he said it gave you time to think before you completed a call. He was a man who never rushed to judgement, and this was proven time and again in his dealing with rule breakers. But a man was publicly crucified with a rush to judgement by those who choose to cover the "big story" instead of tge real story, wasn't given due process he was convicted by the media witg less rights than the alledged monster recieved. The spotlight was wrongfully turned from the villian and out on the most moral.man involved. Why? Because it sold ads, papers, and generated web hits. Forget 62 years of humanitarism, education, and the pursuit of virtue; he was thrown to the wolves with a phone call.

    To you he was the embodiment of the old school. A coach who won, who was from another school and essentially easy to disregard when the half truths and assumptions were spewed forth by people with half his character. To us who knew him, not of him he was much more. He showed an entire region that success is only satisfying with honor, that the joy lies in the struggle for perfection, not necessarily in achieving it. So forgive me when I say thanks but no thanks, we don't need your opinion to feel satisfied, we don't need your approval to grieve, and we don't have to care what everyone else thinks about Joe. To us his legacy is us, he taught us who we are....PENN STATE
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  4. bdub

    bdub Walk On

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    Wasn't trying to say he wasn't a good person. To me he was great football coach, I don't care if he was a good person or bad person. Obviously for a fan or someone who actually new him he is far more than that and there is nothing wrong with that.
     
  5. Loaf31

    Loaf31 Walk On

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    I have never met Joe, but his death has affected me as if he was a member of my family. I am also in the sports industry and to stay true to your job for so long is an accomplishment that will never be matched again.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. The Dude

    The Dude Professor of Dudanomics

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    My overall point was simply to say that while he certainly bears some responsibility for the lies and the covers, he has in no way been treated fairly, and I think we should view his loss with real sadness. I believe his death can be tied pretty directly to a sensationalism that is regrettably a huge part of how we live our lives today. And I believe that, even if we knew exactly what it would do to Joe (and I think we did) we would still shine the spotlight and exchange 62 years of service for 15 minutes of fame. I'm not defending the man. I'm just pointing out how overboard we went, and what the result of that was, as I see it.
     
  7. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Walk On

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    There was no cover up, or lies on Joe's part. You are an intelligent guy, read the court transcripts from tne preliminaries and then you should have a deeper understanding of what really went on. I thought tatgate would have taught you to ask questions rather than accept the media fallacies.

    But I'm done trying to defend Joe, there are 62 years worth of student-athletes who are the living embodiment of his character and morality that will do just fine.
     
  8. The Dude

    The Dude Professor of Dudanomics

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    My understanding was that Joe was told, Joe upped the info to those who could take action, and no one took action. At least no one took meaningful action. Call it an error in judgement, or call it cowardice, but the inability to act led to others being harmed. Just because it didn't happen in the Penn State locker room doesn't mean folks at Penn State don't bear some responsibility for behavior they had plenty of reason to think was going on off campus.

    I'm not saying Joe was criminally culpable - his behavior reminds me more of the Milgram Experiment we all learn about in Psych 101, where subjects set aside their own understanding of right and wrong just because there's a higher power in the room. There are times when "I told my boss" is sufficient. This just isn't one of those cases. That gap is where I find fault with Joe. Joe essentially hired Curley to be his boss, and everyone involved acknowledged that Joe's control over the program was absolute. Telling Curley was more like telling an assistant than telling a boss. Joe surely knew that he would call the shots on how it was handled. Taking Sandusky's locker room keys just wasn't enough. He had to be stopped. He could have been stopped. He wasn't stopped. It's blame pie, and everybody involved gets a slice. The more power, the more ability to make change, the more blame. I think that's fair.

    This is not how the events were portrayed, and that is a tragedy also. As soon as Joe's name attached to the story, he became the center of the story, and that was wrong in many ways. Sold lots of papers, though. Yea capitalism.

    It appears that one of us wants to demonize the media for blowing things up far beyond reality, and the other wants to let Joe completely off the hook. We're not that far apart, I think, but no way he's completely off the hook. I just happen to think there are much bigger fish that should be on that hook, and a lot of them. I also think that his legacy should and will eventually be a great one, but this is going to be a giant stain on the program and the school for years, and that sucks. Too much good has been done for it all to be undone this way.
     
  9. carolinaeasy

    carolinaeasy Walk On

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    I don't think he should be off the hook, but I find your statements that he had near absolute power to be untrue generalizations. If you look at the timeline of when this originally took place Joe was in the midst of the worst period in his coaching career, he was facing the pressure and those higher up from him were plotting his retirement. He was hardly in a place of power, that is one of the things that outsiders falsely assume, the second thing is Mr. Schulz (the admin charged with a cover up) was the HEAD of University Park police. University Park is a town, has its own zip code and has a fully accredited police force (I know they are real from personal incidents involving a bike, a pizza, and a visit from the Smirnoff girls). He wrongfully trusted the police commissioner and for that he was vilified. He should have done more by his own admission, but outside of calling the cops again what could he do? Publicly accuse a pillar of the community after hearing allegations of "something inappropriate" going on? Or maybe he could have carried out vigilante justice and forgone the legal system he trusted? He wasn't the villain he was supposed to be. And as Matt Millen said "He wasn't perfect, but he was the best there ever was."
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  10. The Dude

    The Dude Professor of Dudanomics

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    I can agree with that.
     

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