I don’t think anyone’s going to be making little blue and white rubber bracelets with “WWJPD?” any time soon. We know what Joe would do. The absolute minimum required of him.
Paterno received an eyewitness account of a young boy being raped by his personal friend and former employee in the Penn State showers. Yes, let’s use that word, not one of the euphemisms being thrown around in the news. A child was witnessed being raped. Paterno’s response? Report it to the Penn State athletic director. The Athletic Director who, by the way, effectively answers to Paterno as the God of the rain making football program for PSU. That was nine years ago.
Since then Joe has walked the halls with a child rapist and never said another word. At least until the scandal broke. Now he asks us to pray for the victims. Would those be the victims who were raped before nine years ago or all the ones which occurred since? Even if the mandated reporter rules don’t apply to him as they would any other educator in Pennsylvania, shouldn’t his humanity have required more of him?
Humanity is the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence. Humanity is what makes even those who don’t think animals have inherent rights to believe that human beings have an obligation to treat them humanely. Paterno showed neither kindness, nor benevolence to that boy, let alone humanity, when he “did what was required of him”.
If you are a Lions supporter out there who feels the perhaps understandable knee-jerk reaction to defend an icon of PSU, take just a moment to recast this situation in a different light. If he had been a school principal, would his response have been enough? If it was your child, and he was anyone else, would it have been enough? What if it had been a dog?
What if nine years ago Andy Reed had received an eyewitness report of one of his coaches fighting dogs, or raping one, and his response had been to tell the General Manager and then never mention it again? Animal people would be calling for his head. What if someone at the kennel your dog stayed in while you are on vacation saw your dog being molested, told their boss, and never told you, let alone the police? Would you think they had done “enough”? Of course you wouldn’t.
Every day animals are abused, people know about it, but don’t report it because they aren’t “required” to do so. If we don’t expect people to take action when a child is raped, why should we expect anyone to do the same for a mere dog?
PSU needs to show that violence against anyone is not tolerated in their school and no one, no matter how iconic, revered, or wealthy, is immune. Joe Paterno and every administrator who was aware of this rape must be fired immediately.
Nittany fans like to ask if God isn’t a PSU fan, why is the sky blue and white? If the next time it rains Paterno still has a job, it will be God weeping.