Paterno loyalists have been labeled "JoeBots", and "cultists" and "deniers" over the past year or so for their long held respect of the old coach and for simply refusing to accept the accusations of "Joe Knew" and "cover up" because that would be wholly inconsistent for someone of his transparent history and character stretching well over sixty years.
It all began with a sensationalized grand jury presentment, distorted just enough to outrage the public and the media and point a giant Uncle Sam like index finger at Penn State. Lost in the storm, though, are some disturbing facts about who was targeted for prosecution by attorney general Linda Kelly and who was not. Exempted were the very first two people Mike McQueary told about the shower incident he witnessed in 2001, his dad (a physician assistant) and family friend Dr. Dranov.
We now know that Dranov, when pressed on the witness stand, insisted that McQuery did not describe anything sexual. As medical professionals, he and McQueary's dad were obliged to report even "suspected" abuse to the proper authorities. Why did Linda Kelly not charge the two men, who are legally obliged to report, and were the first to be told while the angst was fresh in the mind of the witness, with failure to report? Why did she go after the PSU administrators some degrees of separation away instead? The answer for Kelly can only be, they could not have "suspected" abuse at the time, or else she would be shirking her duty to file charges.
Detractors in the "here and now" understandably question, how could anyone not have been suspicious about that private time after hours in the shower? But here and now is a lot different from "there and then". Back then Sandusky’s behavior, though odd and perhaps discomforting, was well established. And this is understandable after a thorough reading of FBI expert, Jim Clemente’s report, which details how an entire community can be groomed by a pedophile. The boy could very well have been passed for a new adoptee and the incident dismissed. You couple that with the reality of what was actually witnessed, or rather, not witnessed, and there’s ample room for doubt.
Part of the problem is McQueary didn’t actually "see" anything. He "heard" the water in the shower. He "heard" one or two slaps above the noise. He slammed his locker shut then went to investigate. And there they were standing there looking back at him. It obviously made him uncomfortable, but he’s on a razor’s edge. Is it just the two of them horsing around or something else? People in the here and now wonder why McQueary just didn’t forcibly rescue the kid and beat the crap out of Sandusky. But there and then, it’s not as clear.
There can be no other reason the two medical professionals were not part of Kelly’s "round up", which then begs the question, how did things get from the first two not suspecting abuse (which had they suspected, they would have been obliged to report) to charges, two degrees of separation away, of failure to report suspected abuse? The logical explanation is in the grooming and in Sandusky’s reputation and history. He was basically a good guy, savior to hundreds of troubled youth, but every now and then, gets into some stupid physical game with them. They had no idea, how serious it really was. Because, according to Clemente, Sandusky was master at covering his habit.
And then came Freeh. Numerous attorneys and experts have weighed in on the Freeh report and many have determined that his conclusions were basically plucked from thin air, because they are unsubstantiated by the body of his own work. Still some piggyback Freeh’s conclusions with Linda Kelly’s presentment and simply can’t let go of the cover up theory. Again, Paterno loyalists readily spot the inconsistency in Freeh’s claim that a reverence for and culture of football superseded regard for the welfare of Sundusky’s victims. But any coach who has the reputation of benching star players for poor academics and/or poor citizenship cannot possibly be accused of putting football ahead of anything, let alone sexually abused children.
Freeh’s second claim is that Penn State administrators feared bad publicity, should they report Sandusky to authorities. And there again, history shows that Paterno never gave a rat’s rear about publicity. His life’s pattern was etched in granite over a period of decades and that was to always do what was right regardless of what the papers might print the next day. There’s no question there.
Freeh’s conclusions are a joke on their very face, and more and more people are beginning to realize that. The latest to call them into question is sports personality Bob Costas. I would not take lightly this turn of events, because Costas is a giant in sports broadcast media and by no means someone in need of controversy to boost his ratings. His revisit and reversal after airing his initial thoughts on the scandal reflect honesty and sincerity. Let’s just say from his vantage, he doesn’t need Penn State to advance his personal success. You could even argue his latest stance puts it somewhat at risk.
Now comes Mark Emmert and the NCAA. We don’t need to remind folks of all the complexities surrounding the so-called binding consent agreement of unprecedented sanctions, suffice it to say a can of worms has officially been opened. A lawsuit filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for anti-trust and one filed by the Paterno Estate et al seeking injunctive relief and punitive damages are just the beginning. The NCAA, relying on Freeh’s ridiculous conclusions, seized on an opportunity to grandstand and meddle in a matter entirely outside their sole interests in athletic integrity and amateurism, did the unthinkable. Many believe, as does the Paterno suit allege, that the NCAA through its president Mark Emmert did indeed coerce Penn State into accepting sanctions under threat of a football program suspension or "death penalty." In essence, there was nothing "consensual" about the "consent" decree. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In a colossal display of piss poor judgment and abuse of power, the NCAA has committed the following epic blunders. 1. Inserting themselves in a criminal matter which was none of their damn business in the first place. 2. Actually believing the conclusions in a shoddy report compiled by someone of dubious reputation and character. 3. Forgoing all internal procedures and controls outlined in their bylaws specifically designed to avoid such blunders. 4. engaged in conspiratorial activity and employing threats in order to coerce Penn State into accepting crippling penalties. All this has done is reveal to the entire world how closely the NCAA and its president Mark Emmert resemble a mafia don and a racketeering organization, a fine publicity stunt indeed.
So with all that has happened, some people want to put it all behind quickly, get through the sanction years and just "move on." The trustees accepted the Freeh Report and the sanctions and that’s that. Well, technically nobody accepted anything with any kind of signature or vote, but implicitly, if you don’t go on record raising any objection, well that means you don’t disagree, so a lack of response can be interpreted as acceptance. So, no matter what the trustees say, they accepted the report generated by Freeh. However, a growing consensus is beginning to see that report for the garbage it is, especially in light of public criticism of other investigations he has been involved with.
Although there have been a number of credible analyses and critiques of Freeh from PS4RS to Thornburgh and Clemente to various commentators and now two civil complaints against the NCAA, I have seen no serious attempt whatsoever to defend Freeh or the NCAA or the trustees. Still there are those who reject out of hand, without so much as a review, all the critiques and analyses mentioned. You could call them "FreehBots."
I imagine when Katie Curic recently featured Sue Paterno on her show and then ESPN’s Bob Ley had the Thornburg Report team on his show, there was a tumultuous groan heard around certain circles, longing to close the sordid Sandusky chapter and "move on." Likewise, no doubt, the same reaction was precipitated when Bob Costas interviewed Thornburg and company on his show recently as well. There is a disturbing trend among such people, which calls to mind the old adage about the baby and the bathwater. They brook no concern for the baby, just so long as they can rid themselves of the bathwater.
The consensus among them is why don’t those Paternos just give it up and go away. Yet, even as more compelling arguments surface and more and more reasons are uncovered that help explain how horrifying crimes went undetected, without indicting an entire University community, these typically stick to their own narrative fueled by emotion, without regard for objectivity. I would label them the "Move on Bots."
And finally there’s the cover up. "Joe Knew", he had to have known, is the stock mantra, by those still hanging on, that they may feel better about themselves. And that is their insecurity controlling their beliefs. In their final analysis, for such a crime or series of crimes to have ever existed, somebody had to allow it, looked the other way, chosen not to report. Such decisions are neither moral nor normal. But hey, we’re normal, therefore we must be moral, and therefore we could never allow such a thing, so they think. These people cannot come to grips with any notion, any remote possibility, that they too could be duped, taken in, fooled – groomed! The very thought strikes dread in their hearts.
Case in point, Cleveland Ohio: Arial Castro kidnapped three young girls and imprisoned them for ten plus years while he sexually abused them in his neighborhood home. Think about that, ten - freaking – years! Where the hell were his neighbors? What about his two brothers Pedro and Onil, released by police without any charges? Do you mean to tell me in all that time nobody stumbled upon anything suspicious, not even once? Not even when one of the girls had a baby? Somebody had to know about Castro. Joe Knew about Sandusky, did he not?
You know what? They don’t have any answers for this, and they couldn’t begin to explain the prolonged existence of this heinous crime. In spite of the fact that they’re standing on thin ice in Cleveland, they continue to cling to theories of a deliberate cover up at Penn State. Why? Because of dread; they dread the thought such crimes could exist under their noses too. I refer to them as "CoverUpBots."
There you have it: FreehBots, MoveOnbots and CoverUpBots, most of whom happily cling to their own version of things, ignoring all the many developments, the studies, analyses, critiques, expert opinion, testimony etc. that will one day lead to a proper and sound understanding of the biggest scandal to hit a college campus, incited by a rabid media mind you.
You see when Paterno Loyalists say they want the truth to come out, it’s not new facts they refer to. They already know. Because of all the work and the historical record and the logic, they already have a solid idea what the truth is, because it makes more sense than anything else. It’s not based on emotion. It is based on objectivity and reality. It holds water and deserves a fair hearing. The "Bots" on the other hand, they only want to cup hands over their ears and sing, "la, la, la." So, who are the ones in denial, really?