A few minutes ago, the child molestation trial of former Penn State Jerry Sandusky went to the jury. Now that we are on the verge of the end of this chapter of this terrible saga, it is time to look at four things that will be a part of the Penn State future no matter what the jury finds.
1) Jerry Sandusky was convicted in the court of public opinion months ago.
That means there will be big negatives regardless of what the jury does. Since there are only three possible outcomes here, there are also a limited set of responses.
- The jury finds him guilty.
This will result in a never-ending self-congratulatory parade of the self appointed moralists I called out at the beginning of this mess. Don’t get me wrong, I got kicked off the Penn State island for saying Sandusky deserved to go to prison and that Joe Paterno needed to no longer be the head football coach. The problem is as I explained in the linked article that even if Sandusky rots in prison, we still haven’t solved the situation that allows the creation of the next child-raping monster. All the “Sandusky getting raped in the prison shower” jokes you are going to hear won’t change that.
- The jury finds him not guilty.
Get ready for a damning of the jury system as a whole much like we saw after the O.J. Simpson murder trial. You saw this after Barry bonds essentially got off after being flayed in the court of public opinion, and there’s even similar grumblings about Roger Clemens. Imagine what will happen after all the media folks who swore Sandusky was headed to the slammer get a face full of judicial egg.
- The jury doesn’t return a verdict.
A ‘hung jury” is the worst case scenario. Not only would it result in a spate of media debate over guilt or innocence, but I’m fairly certain we will be treated to a never-ending series of civil suits, not the least of which may very well be the Paterno family suing the university for wrongful termination.
2) It’s a blessing Joe Paterno didn’t live to see this.
The bottom line to all of this: The sole reason Paterno had to lose his job was because he was the “face” of a diseased culture; a diseased culture which meant EVERYBODY had to go, form the university president to the lowliest graduate assistant. Everybody needed to go, which is why the “who knew what when” argument was so utterly pointless when it came to Paterno. Again, I covered this argument in the linked article: I won’t rehahs it here.
3) An entire university will suffer due the acts of one person.
Never, ever forget this is all about Jerry Sandusky. The actions of everybody involved in this, with the sole exception of his victims, were reactions based on the actions of Sandusky. But it is hard to not notice that Penn State as an institution has suffered because of Sandusky.
For example, peruse the listings of the Big Ten Network when it comes to the ever-present classic football games they are always showing. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a Penn State game. The fact Penn State has suddenly dissappeared from the Big Ten network is odd considering that PSU has figured prominently in the conference since joining it nearly two decades ago. I’ve seen more games with perennial B1G bottom-feeder Purdue than the Nittany Lions. Is this a quiet shunning? Nobody knows but I would love to ask that question to somebody at the Big Ten Network.
4) There’s only two things that really matter in all of this:
Making sure the victims get all the help and support they need, and ensuring this never happens again.