What if it's all true? What if it's even worse than we thought?
The Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal at Penn State has rocked the foundation of the collegiate sporting world, and to a certain extent, our society. It has sparked more anger, sadness, debate, conversation, and darkness than any college sports story should have the power to generate. Lives have been ruined, a state university has been turned on it's head, and everyone has an opinion -- some educated, some not -- on who is truly guilty.
Let's get this out of the way: Jerry Sandusky is the animal in this story. He is the one that should get most of the vitriol that we all have towards this issue. His day will come. Justice will be served. Forgetting these facts is irresponsible and unfair to everyone involved.
That being said, I don't understand the support for Joe Paterno in public forums. I don't understand the idea that protocol was enough in a situation where lives were ruined forever. And I don't understand our obsession with due process as if we are all legal experts. Sadly, I believe there is a small contingent of people that want to believe that they'll wake up tomorrow and this will all be a bad dream. That we will all be rewarded by waiting before fully judging. That Joe Pa will be restored to good standing by revealing that he wanted to do more but couldn't because everyone around him was corrupt. That the eight victims in the grand jury testimony are the only eight victims that this horrible man attacked.
What if it this is just the start? What if we are going to horrified even more? What if the cover up went so far as to murder an innocent man?
Media members have been accused of stirring the pot all week long. Supporters of the program -- and people who believe that other humans can't be this corrupt -- are waiting for this story to stop. It's not going to anytime soon. More details will come. Court cases will open. Jurors will have an opportunity to finally disect the facts.
People are calling for everyone with a voice -- you, me, national media, anyone with a blog -- to slow down and consider the possible innocence. I will give this situation a chance to play itself out, as long as you consider the alternative.
What if Mark Madden's graphic accusation on WEEI this morning turns out to be true? What if Penn State forced Jerry Sandusky to retire in 1999, at the pinnacle of his coaching career, because they knew he could not be trusted as part of a coaching staff? What if he never got another job because every other athletic department knew there was something wrong with this man?
I'm willing to consider that Joe Paterno's 60+ years of service allows him the benefit of doubt. I'm willing to consider that the administrators at Penn State didn't know as much as we think they might. I'm willing to consider the alternative to the reactionary thoughts and articles that are surfacing every corner of the internet...
...As long as you are willing to consider how bad this thing truly might be. As long as you consider that the idol that was Joe Paterno might have been bullshit. As long as you consider that big time college sports trump everything, including morality and the law. As long as you are keeping an open mind to the possibility that this was a cover up involving every level of the administration. As long as you realize that it might be an even bigger tragedy than you can comprehend.