The Fall of an American Icon

Penn State Seal

People have asked me why I haven’t chimed in on the Penn State Sex Scandal. “Sex Scandal?” That couldn’t be further from the truth. This scandal isn’t about sex in any sense of the word most of us are familiar with. It’s about sexual assaults on boys that went unpunished in the name of football. The attitude that prevailed: there’d be no tarnishing Penn State’s shining star. Football brings a ton of money to the university, and if anyone knew that one of their coaches was a sexual predator, financial support for the team would suffer.

That said, it’s hard to find criticism with the apparent kneejerk reaction from university officials who fired Coach Paterno. He never assaulted anyone. Yet I have disdain for him, not because he didn’t call the police on Sandusky, not because he relayed McQueary’s observations to his bosses, Schultz and Curly, but because, after nothing came of the accusations, he continued to associate with Sandusky, even allowed him access to the university facilities, after knowing full well what the predator had done to a boy in the locker room back in 2002. That’s nearly ten years of silence from the head coach. It’s despicable. How could he even look Sandusky in the eye without vomiting? Paterno deserves to lose his job, deserves to be shamed, deserves his fall from grace because he put his job and the reputation of his football team above the welfare of a child.

 And so heads roll all the way to the top. What this boils down to is the old saying: “When you fly with crows, expect to get shot at.” Though they hadn’t participated in the crimes, Paterno, Curly, Shultz, and McQueary all conspired to protect the black raven of their flock, and now they are paying the price for their loyalty (and their cast-iron stomachs).  Did president Spanier deserve to get the axe, as well? It’s not hard to believe he knew what Sandusky had done, what he continued to do with immunity, and that the university had to keep a lid on it (cover up) or lose a ton of money. Spanier had to have known, and if he didn’t, he should have. These crimes against kids happened on his watch.

That’s American Pork, my fellow football fans. It doesn’t get any sicker than this. Or does it?

About Terry Wright

There’s nothing mundane in the writing world of Terry Wright. Tension, conflict and suspense propel his readers through the pages as if they were on fire. Published in Science Fiction and Supernatural, his mastery of the action thriller has won him International acclaim as an accomplished screenplay writer. A longtime member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, he runs their annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Terry lives near Denver with his wife, Bobette, and their Yorkie named Taz. He invites you to visit his Web site at
This entry was posted in National Commentary. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Fall of an American Icon

  1. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to offer something again and help others like you helped me.

  2. Patti says:

    I could not have said it better myself!! I am sure the “guilt” runs deeper than anyone even imagines. Those who know of the allegations and chose to ignore them are as guilty if not more so than the perpetrator. One victim is bad enough, but when responsible adults choose to ignore the obvious they are guilty of the same crime as the perpetrator for every victim thereafter!! While I like football, and most other sports, we the public have allowed many of the athletes, coaches and so on to become “Gods” who we do not hold to the same standards as the rest of us. It is time we stop accepting the excuses for their lack of judgement and let them pay the price just as you and I would if we behaved like they do.

  3. Terry Wright says:

    Hi Eve. My disgust for the football program at Penn State runs deep, but disbanding the team? I don’t know. I have to think about the student players. They don’t deserve to be punished for their coaches’ actions. Nor does the student body who clearly supports their team, though rioting in the streets after Paterno was fired shows a disturbing callousness toward the boy victims. Still, I wonder how many other college football teams are infested with predators who have been ratted out yet.

  4. Terry Wright says:

    I don’t know about McQueary’s dad, but seems he’s just as guilty as the coaches and their higher-ups for not calling the cops. The sick part is how many years this went on unhindered. Sandusky, having left the university staff in 1999 (if I recall correctly), shouldn’t have been allowed on campus. That’s akin to an ex-McDonalds employee going in and fixing himself a hamburger. Oh… and screwing the customers’ kids while he’s there.

  5. sandi says:

    Okay, most the time I think you play devil’s advocate just to rile people (like me) up. This time, I don’t think even you could see this from the other side! I would like to add to the pot, McQueary’s dad. His son, a 27 yr old man himself, called and asked his father’s advice. How many times did his father ask him, “well have they done anything about Sandusky yet?” How long would it take any of us to get so wrapped up in our own lives and just forget it? I cannot even imagine EVER being able to forget that! I don’t think losing your job is enough punishment. I don’t see where this is any different than trafficking in human beings and I think they should be charged and punished accordingly

  6. Eve Morton says:

    Terry, I could not have said it better myself. While the big wigs were looking out for Penn State and Sandusky…who had the boys’ interests in mind? It makes me sick how these men who knew everything could watch Sandusky parade these poor innocent boys around the field and not tear him to pieces. I would have torn that man to shreds as soon as I saw him doing that to a little boyin the locker room…and I’m a small 5’4″ woman who has never fought in her life. Every single person involved needs to be fired and the football team disbanded for a season to shed the sickening lizard skin they’ve accumulated since this became news. And then begin anew with a new coach and a new season. Time to put young children ahead of a football season, wouldn’t you say?