Bough Breaking, Cradle Falling

July 12, 2012 | Derek Andrews

The Freeh Report released today confirmed that, “senior leaders showed total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims.” In the beginning of the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, the focus was more on Joe Paterno and the football program than on the number of victims that courageously stood strong to reveal the hurtful and painful experiences of being sexually abused.

The overwhelming support for Joe Paterno and not for the child victims shocked me to the core, and showed the willingness to protect powerful sports programs and the revenue brought to organizations, in this case, to the university. For those who still believe it’s about football, need to reexamine their moral standing.

Don’t get me wrong, Joe Paterno’s legacy is still legendary, but the fact of the matter is, in a time to stand for something outside of the awe of Penn State, Paterno didn’t use his great power or influence to save lives. He did the right thing by telling someone, but that wasn’t a matter of allocation of money, or a student-athlete’s off-the-field issues, it was about the victims of sexual abuse. It deserved more than just telling your boss.

Going to Tim Curley, the university’s AD, wasn’t proactive enough, because it was about protecting the university’s image. Following protocol is standard, but in this case, follow-through is more important. If nothing is done, then action is necessary immediately. In this case, it was taken out of the hands of law enforcement and state officials. These steps weren’t taken and as a result, put shame on the university and the State College community.

Justice has been served for those victims. These tragic events don’t define the life of Joe Paterno and others, but it does give those of us who are destined for leadership a frightful example of the necessity in taking proactive steps when dealing with serious ethical dilemmas.

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