Friday, November 11, 2011

11 Things I think you think I think about Sandusky situation

  1. I read the 23 page grand jury document. It’s revolting. Actually I didn’t read all 23 pages. I had to skip some paragraphs due to their nature. 
  2. My heart grieves for the children – many who are now adults - who were abused by Sandusky. I pray they somehow find peace. 
  3. I think Joe Paterno had to be relieved of his duties. I think it’s impossible to gracefully fire someone in that situation. The man had served the university for 60 years. He did a lot of good things and had a wonderful impact on many people. The man’s not perfect (only one was). I doubt this was his only mistake, but it was most likely his most egregious one. Put yourself in the PSU Board’s shoes: 
  4. You’ve got a long term employee and a beloved public figure. Some have contended for a few years that his time is past. But ignore that piece. Focus on the beloved and faithful employee. 
  5.  You find out that at least 9 years ago – and probably 13 - he found out about a legal issue. He didn’t do the right thing. As an enabler, he enabled a continued cycle of sexual abuse for years to come. His inaction in his role led to tens of millions of dollars of potential exposure to the institution. 
  6. You just cannot ignore the inaction that exposed your organization to millions of dollars of losses. Factor in the child sexual abuse that was enabled, and you cannot have a big going away party for the guy with 100,000 of his closest friends on Saturday. You have to pull the plug. 
  7. My thoughts regarding McQueary’s role in this are confused. A quick story about myself: When I was 28 years old (17 years ago) I was working a new job as an accountant. The company had recently gone public. My wife of 1 year and I had just poured every cent we had into a down payment on a modest suburban home. We had no cash left. No financial reserves. After a few months, I realized the company was misstating their financial position. Now, the ethical thing to do is to report the malfeasance, right? Well, let’s throw some other dynamics in there. As I said, I was cash poor. The auditing firm, who would get sued if the financial misstatement were uncovered, was my former employer. If I go all whistleblower on everyone, my concern was that I would never get a job in accounting again. Whistleblowers don’t have good job prospects going forward. What did I do. I talked to the General counsel of the company. He blew me off. I found a job and was out the door in less than a month. I did not take my beef to the SEC. In hindsight, I chickened out.  The company collapsed under the weight of its financial problems 2 years later. 
  8.  So, how does this relate to McQueary. He’s 28 years old, as a graduate assistant at his alma mater and where he grew up. Sandusky was the d-coordinator when McQueary was QB. So, McQ’s trying to climb the coaching ladder, making no money as a GA and he catches Sandusky in the shower with a kid. He probably figures if he takes this too far he loses his job, potentially his career. We can all say he would have been a hero, and that’s true. But sometimes heroes die. Or their careers take seismic career shifts. In our nature, we seek self preservation. It is only through self discipline or deference to a higher power that we look out for others. It took some level of courage to even tell Paterno. Yes, he should have done more. But I understand at some level the conflicting emotions that McQueary went through. I can tell you I had many sleepless nights as I went through my comparatively simple issue, and I would imagine he’s had a few as well. 
  9.  The Penn State fans who are angry at the Board of Trustees are just making themselves and their university look stupid. You have to get rid of the President and the Coach for what they knew and didn’t do. 1989 was the year of rapin’ dopin’ shootin’ at OU, as well as NCAA investigation, I had just moved to Texas the previous year. I was embarrassed to be a Sooner grad. I had busted my butt at college to get a diploma and then some student-athletes, who lacked proper moral leadership from their coach, made some pretty idiotic decisions. As a Sooner expatriate in Texas, it was frustrating. Penn State fans, I can assure you, the “us against the world/media/board of trustees” mindset is just silly. You’ve lost perspective at that point. Kids were sexually assaulted. This was identified several times. You should be humbled, not defiant.  If you're one of those kids that was assaulted, or parent of that kid, what's going through your mind as you watch hundreds of people deify a man who enabled a monster?
  10.  ESPN’s coverage of this was absolutely awful. It’s like they were the apologist for Penn State from the beginning. Twisting the coverage to “did PSU Board of Trustees do the right thing by firing Joe by phone” and "it was only a few students rioting" bit is insulting. They had no presence on site. 
  11.  The rush to judgment on this is appalling. We’ve all failed somewhere along the way. Some of us fail in socially acceptable ways, some don’t. Let’s let the facts come out in a normal course of legal proceedings.The rumor mill is not going to solve things.

1 comment:

jaydou said...

Your best post ever...