But the rhetoric and demagogueing that I am hearing on talk radio is beyond the pale. People are calling for boycotting the game this Saturday, dismantling the football program, and jailing Joe Paterno and Mike McQuery. Can't count how many times I've heard people say, "If I had been there I would've . . ." followed by some statement about beating Sandusky to within an inch of his life. Putting aside the fact that Sandusky is about 6-3 and 240 lbs., such macho posturing is so much wind. NONE of us knows what we would do in McQuery's situation. He was a graduate assistant, the lowest rung on the coaching ladder, and he was accusing one of the icons of Penn State football -- the architect of two championship defenses, the rumored successor to the sainted Joe -- of an unspeakable act. None of us know what we would do until we are in a given situation. Frankly, I think many people would have stolen away and never mentioned the incident to anyone.
But of course callers and talk show hosts have staked out the moral high ground. I find Angelo Cataldi and his morning crew on WIP particularly reprehensible in their diatribes. This is the group that gave the world the ultimate low-brow event, The Wing Bowl, and they are pillorying a man who gave millions of dollars and a library to an outstanding university and has been the mentor to thousands of young men who have gone on to lead stellar lives, as he himself has. And he's been joined in his efforts by his wife, Sue, who acted as a surrogate mother to many of those players. There has never been a hint of scandal in their personal life. In fact, Joe leads a pretty boring existence.
Outsiders are shocked by the support he is receiving from students, calling them young and naive. They forget that for 56 years, Joe has been the face of Penn State. It is natural that his supporters would not allow this incident – which has yet to be fully explained – destroy their love for the man. He has his faults, and should have resigned several years ago, but his entire body of work needs to be acknowledged before categorizing him as some sort of monster. I want to hear his explanation of what he did and did not do. At the same time, his decision to step down was long overdue.
It should be noted that not everyone on campus supports him. As I said yesterday, there is talk that the student body won't sing the alma mater on Saturday. And someone taped a note to Joe's statue that quoted a line from the alma mater: "May no act of ours bring shame . . ."
It does not look good, admittedly, but his body of work must be considered in the final analysis. As I say, I want to hear from Joe.