In 2001, John Lawless, then a state representative from Montgomery County, documented these and other Penn State excesses, and it resulted in a showdown with then-president Spanier during appropriations hearings. According to a report at Thecapitolwatch.com by Michael Geer, Spanier was confronted by Rep. Dave Mayernik, D-Allegheny, and was asked, "Was it [the on-campus Sex Faire] wrong, yes or no?"
Spanier ultimately responded, "I'm not trying to be evasive, but to give you an honest answer. I'm not understanding what you mean by ‘wrong.'?"
This response probably should come as no surprise from Spanier, given the fact that many of his academic papers concerned "spouse-swapping," among other things. In one of his papers he wrote, "An individual's behavior becomes deviant only when others define it as deviant."
This was the thinking of Graham Spanier. But Penn State avoided all this, because the face of Penn State was JoePa and Penn State football.
I once marveled at Paterno and his great teams that won by playing smart, smash-mouth football and giving us Jerry Sandusky's Linebacker U. But the off-field achievements were also a source of pride, with great students like Mike Reid, an All-American lineman and concert pianist, and Danny Onkontz, a great linebacker and spectacular student. Paterno won big, had true student athletes and quoted Homer along the way.
In later years, I gradually started to see that JoePa, in addition to having students major in criminal-justice studies, had a number of athletes majoring in criminal activities. ESPN profiled Paterno and the police blotter of his athletes. The pressure to win made Paterno accept more and more morally marginal guys.
Then Tom Corbett was elected governor and started to appear on my show, and he started to demand cutbacks from Penn State and their more than $4 billion-a-year budget. We talked about their excessive number of buildings, high salaries and the legislators who went along with it in order to sit on the 50-yard line.
Then came the faint echoes of Sandusky. The wagons were circled by Penn State alums and fans of Joe Paterno. Joe couldn't have known. Joe reported it to his superiors. Joe didn't understand due to his generation not knowing about pedophiles.
All this comes to a screeching halt with the question of one of my listeners: "What would Joe and others at Penn State have done if one of Joe's grandkids had been in the shower with Sandusky?"
The questions now should shift to what should happen to punish those responsible for these many victims and years of horrors. My first suggestion is that the statue of Joe Paterno on campus must be taken down.
When I brought this up on my show last week, some of the attitude that got Penn State into such difficulty surfaced. Kate, a caller and Penn State alum, told me that only Penn Staters should decide about the fates of the statue and Paterno's name on the library. This is nonsense. The taxpayers of Pennsylvania fund Penn State to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. I think the overwhelming number of readers of this column will say take the statue down now.
As a taxpayer, I also think the Legislature should get busy and defund the pensions of Sandusky, Paterno, former athletic director Tom Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz.
As far as the current Penn State football program, I do think the NCAA must sanction Penn State for the coverup that went on for more than 10 years at least. The punishment should at least entail Penn State not being able to go to bowl games for a few years and the loss of the number of scholarships they can offer for several years.
A final recommendation is to closely look at the number of professors on college campuses that are preaching the idea in various forms that pedophilia doesn't damage kids. I've confronted professors at Temple and Cornell, among other places, that have been trying, through bogus "scientific" studies or Greco-Roman traditions, to preach the idea that sex with young minors is OK. My position is that they have freedom to espouse this, but they should be made to show the science behind it or lose their positions at their colleges.
On the basis of the Freeh report, I do think that Spanier will be indicted. I do think Curley and Schultz will be convicted. I think authorities will reopen a look at the officials at Sandusky's the Second Mile charity.
As for Paterno, I would like to channel a line Ronald Reagan uttered to Mikhail Gorbachev during a speech about the Berlin Wall: "Mr. Penn State president, tear down this statue." n
Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard on WPHT (1210-AM) radio. Contact Dom atdomgiordano.com.
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