A child-sex abuse case is something that nobody wants any part of. It's arguably the most
despicable of all crimes in our society. If you're involved in one, or even mentioned in one,
you'll get a stain that can never be removed. Perhaps, that is why very few people came to
the defense of Joe Paterno. Can you name a coach in the country that came to his defense?
Nick Saban? Les Miles? Urban Meyer? Certainly, not Bobby Bowden. The former coach
of Florida State and clearly a rival of Paterno, took every chance he could to take a shot at
the legendary coach. It was so glaring and ominous that nobody really came to the the
defense of Paterno. Oh, sure, a lot of his players did, and many of the critics said they were
just being loyal to a fault. However, no power broker, or man of significant influence came
out and backed Paterno--until Thursday.
Phil Knight, founder and CEO of Nike, was asked to speak at the memorial for Paterno on
the campus of Penn State. Knight has always done things his way in cultivating an image
for Nike that turned the company into one of most powerful brands in the world. He
stuck by Tiger Woods when just about every other company he endorsed ran away from
him after the golfer dominated the presses with details of his salacious extramarital affairs
with porn stars,strippers, prostitutes, waitresses, and very young next door neighbors. Knight
has always been bold, but never more than in his words for Paterno. He addressed the
12,000 people who attended the service, including the universities board of trustees by
"This much is clear to me: If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation
and not in Joe Paterno's response," Knight said. And with that, 12,000 people rose to their
feet and thanked Knight for having the stones to say what many wanted to say, but never
did because they didn't want to be perceived as defending a man who allegedly defended
a known child molestor.
Paterno wasn't perfect, we know that. He had his faults and perhaps, even his demons just
like many of us. We know that Paterno did go to his superiors to report what had been
told to him by Mike McQueary. He did what he was supposed to do as outlined by the
Penn State administration. They had the information, but sat on it, covered it up, and hoped
to dear god, it would go away. The athletic director and president were accused of lying
to the grand jury about it and sent on their merry way. But Paterno became the fall guy.
He became more of a villian because he was silent for so long and didn't show much
effort in trying to defend himself.
When the scandal broke, Paterno urged everyone to let the legal process play out, but
in this country, it seems that we're all guilty until proven innocent, especially in the
court of public opionion. We get excerpts from a grand jury report and abided by it like
it's the gospel. If everything in a grand jury report is the truth, why the hell do we even
bother with a trial? People lie all the time, and get this, they even do it under oath?
What nobody ever seems to point out was the fact, that the allegations against Sandusky had
been reported in a local paper a full three months before Sandusky was arrested. Are you
telling me that the administration and trustees never heard about it? That's a joke. They were
just hoping nothing would ever come of it. Boy, were they ever wrong. When the bombshell dropped, the administration and trustees ran for cover and protected their asses as if their lives depended on it. Which in many cases, it did.
They said Paterno had a "moral obligation" to go to the police. What a crock of chicken
salad. Why didn't THEY go to the police? Why didn't THEY do more? And seriously, how
many executives and managers do their "moral obligation" in business and running companies?
Most of them do the right thing when it's the right thing for themselves. Rarely, do they
put their neck on line when they know their head could be cut off. There are companies
everywhere that cover up things in the work place to protect themselves. It happens EVERY
The administration and trustees at Penn State made Paterno the scapegoat because it was
so easy to. Paterno said that he "wished he could've done more", words that carried so
much weight and were ones that the media put in three-inch headlines around the country.
The trustees and administration ran with that because it got them off the hook. Paterno
deflected the criticism from them, and place it solely on himself. Anyone with a half
a brain, and clearly Phil Knight has a lot more than that, knows that the administration and
the trustees covered up the scandal and made Paterno the fall guy.It's just too bad that no
one had the guts that Knight showed to make everyone see hear the truth.