Flaim’s Forum: Step Up Paterno

I don’t want this blog post to be overlong or protracted. My colleague and friend EB wrote eloquently about the Penn State scandal and I agree with his premise that everyone must go. You can read his post here. But I felt the need to write quickly upon hearing that Penn State had cancelled Joe Paterno’s scheduled press conference earlier today.

My point is simple, step up! Don’t run away from the media scrutiny. Don’t hide behind legal advice. Don’t consult with public relations experts. Step the F*@! up and answer everybody’s questions.

Joe Paterno is an icon in football. His legacy as a coach is undeniable. As far as the choices he has made regarding this scandal, they are nothing short of deplorable. The Harrisburg Patriot-News just reported that Paterno was disappointed that the press conference has been cancelled and that he was prepared to take questions regarding the scandal.

Guess what Joe Pa, all you have to do is stand outside your house ala Terrell Owens and answer questions there. It doesn’t have to be a university sanctioned press conference. I am sure lawyers have told you not to comment because of the ongoing investigation but I don’t care. Step up and step up now!

Penn State is certainly worried about liability. They may think Paterno may make things worse for them legally or maybe they’re trying to protect him. Supposedly the trustees are working on Paterno’s exit as I type this blog post. Regardless, Paterno can grab a microphone and answer questions right now. Why prolong this and drag it out longer than necessary?

Paterno is front and center but I have to admit I am most troubled by the inaction from the graduate assistant Mike McQueary. Some have defended him giving him credit that he reported what he had seen to Paterno. Still, I cannot understand how he could not physically intervene when he saw the 10-year-old boy being raped by Coach Sandusky.

As much as I want to hear from Paterno, I really want to hear from McQueary. Here’s a guy who witnessed this unimaginable horror. McQueary didn’t step up in 2002. He can now.

Quit worrying about liability. Quit worrying about public relations. You have a choice to make right now. Step up and do the right thing.

John-Paul Flaim

More from Flaim's Forum
  • Craig J. Lazar

    J.P., as long as JoePa is an employee of the University, he is bound by the rules of that institution and his superiors. From all that I have been reading and all that I have known as an alumni, Pres. Spanier is a weasel and has wanted JoePa out for along time. It would not at all suprise me if he barred JoePa from speaking, but I believe Joepa is working on setting up his own news conference to talk about the scandal. JoePa is still JoePa, Iit may be my own unbiased opinion, but I believe that JoePa will step up and accept his part of the responsibility in the scandal..

  • Phil

    Joe Pa for all the great years of teaching people how to grow up and be a man, Mr Joe Pa is failing himself. No statement in writing just a heart felt I am sorry and I failed. Own up to the fact that after getting out of the grand jury testimony and really reading the acquisitions that you either understand why people are questioning your moral decision making. This is not a legal issue, as far as the law knows you and the grad assistant full filled that obligation. As far as morally you failed in Epic Proportions. Which in my honest opinion is why you quietly leave the place that you have built as to not tarnish the University that has now become bigger then you. The President of the school is gone and while those outside the PSU family say you should stay till proven guilty. I think Joe Pa you know your are guilty of failing as a human and not as football coach. In life we make mistakes and this is bigger then going for it on 4th down. Joe Pa you where an excellent coach but like EB and JP say its time to go.

  • Larry Michaels

    It’s very easy to talk tough about a traumatic situation you have never been involved in. There’s a good chance that you too would fall under what is called the Bystander effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect

    There’s also a theory called Empathy altruism where someone ways subconsciously whether to get involved in a situation or not. They are more likely to get involved if they empathize with the victim.

    I’ve got more on why the psychology of the situation allows less culpability for McQueary but I’ve got to run.

  • PJ

    No Comment to someone who thicks Joe Paterno is going to act like Terrel Owens. Until you walk in them shoes, AND KNOW THE FACTS, you are not qualified to comment.

  • Jon

    First off, as someone who passed the bar you should know better than to say “I am sure lawyers have told you not to comment because of the ongoing investigation but I don’t care. Step up and step up now!”
    Now, I’m going to present you an example (more of an analagous hypothetical situation). Again…this situation is HYPOTHETICAL!!!! I AM NOT ACCUSING ANYONE OF ANYTHING!!!!
    Imagine one day you’re sitting there in the studio and Valdez comes in and tells you he just found Brett stealing peoples’ identities using the info they gave him for one of your many charitable fundraisers. Would your first response be “well let’s call the police now and have him locked away!” or would it be more like “hold on I’ve known him for 10 years and that’s a pretty serious allegation and I don’t think he’d do that.”??
    Then say Valdez was adamant about what he saw. Would you then say “well let’s call the police now and have him locked away!” or would you say “ok thanks for telling me, let’s go talk to CK about this.”??
    Then imagine you go talk to CK and he says “Thanks for letting me know. That’s a serious allegation and management will look into it and take appropriate action.” Would you then say “No…let’s call the police and have him locked away!” or would you say “Thanks, CK. I know it sounds serious but I thought management would want to know so they can find out the facts and make sure appropriate action is taken.”???
    That is exactly what happened in this situation. A young colleague leveled huge allegations against a man that JoePa had known for 30+ years (all of which the man had done nothing but show himself to be a great guy). JoePa is given a level of respect that borders deification by some fans, but don’t forget that in that situation he was just a man whose only information came from a young assistant and who didn’t want to believe that his last 30 years of friendship with a man had all been a huge lie. We all know now that Sandusky was a huge phony and a monster, but for a moment stop being an armchair QB and put yourself in that situation in that timeline.
    There’s plenty of blame to go around and, looking back, some blame lies on Mike McQueary and JoePa, but to vilify them and treat them as if they’re every bit as guilty as the administrators who actively tried to cover the story up like their names were JR Haldeman and John Ehrlichman is ridiculous. All JoePa did was trust too much in his 30+ years of friendship.

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