The One Fact That Everyone is Missing

Joe Paterno was fired because people think he didn't do enough.  As of this moment, no one knows if that's true.  With a complete lack of any further statements from Joe or the university the Grand Jury Report is the only source of facts we have to go on; the Board of Trustees admitted that this document was the only source of fact they relied on in making their decision.  I know it's a tough read, but anyone who's passing judgment on Joe right now needs to read it carefully (or at least read page 7 carefully) so that at the bare minimum, they have what few facts the rest of us have.

Joe has been lambasted for simply "informing his superiors" and not taking this matter to police.  However, look over that account again: McQueary goes to Joe, Joe goes to Curley, McQueary is called to meet with Curley and Gary Schulz.  Most media accounts gloss over the detail about Gary Schultz, as people seem to think he's some irrelevant administrator.  However, he was the vice president in charge of the university police force; in a municipal hierarchy rather than an academic one, the man with his power and duty over the police force would be the police commissioner.  That would seem to be a crucially important detail.

So, Joe Paterno made it possible for the eyewitness of the horrible crime in question to take his account directly to the commissioner of the university police force.  Given the urgent and sensitive nature of such an awful crime, one would think such an approach would be more desirable and effective than having McQueary call a tipline or wander into a police station, and tell his story to whichever beat cop was on duty at the time.

Because Penn State utterly failed to address the media as this crisis has escalated, this fact has been lost amid the drumbeat of "Joe didn't do enough."  Even the New York Times is missing the detail that McQueary met with Schultz after meeting with Paterno.

So, here is my call to arms: Penn State has failed us.  They should be contributing to the public discourse on this matter, and their utter failure to do so has allowed the story to take an overwhelmingly negative spin against our university and against Joe Paterno.  If you care about Penn State, or if you think Joe Paterno has been treated unfairly, PLEASE take the time to contact the authors of pieces you read that omit the facts I've discussed here, and if their publication has an ombudsman, please contact them as well.

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