Friday, November 11, 2011

Death Threats And McQueary’s Decisions

Former grad assistant and now assistant coach Mike McQueary will not coach Saturday when the Nebraska Cornhuskers visit Happy Valley due to death threats against him.

Yep, death threats. Welcome to America. 

Now it’s not clear if the deranged idiots who have threatened McQueary’s life are furious with him for not breaking up the horrific incident involving accused pedophile Jerry Sandusky and a still unidentified ten-year-old that he stumbled upon in 2002 or are they the really crazy branch of the scapegoat tree we labeled as idiots yesterday?  We aren’t sure which, but either way if a college football team moves you to threaten someone’s life (or poison your rival’s trees) you need to be institutionalized – mental health facility or prison, your choice.

Now, it’s clear that McQueary should have confronted the naked Sandusky mid-incident and rescued the innocent child from the clutches of a deviant.  Doing so may have spared that child and future victims some pain and suffering.  Or it might not have. 

Only he knows why he didn’t intercede, but let’s take a moment to speculate.

1) He was so shocked he simply couldn’t take any action.
2) As he was a 28-year-old grad assistant who wasn’t yet married or the father of a daughter (as he is now), he wasn’t as immediately incensed as he should have been.

Sorry, but that’s all we got on that one.

However, when he went back to his office to contemplate his next move, things for the State College, PA native got a little more complicated.  While we aren’t justifying what McQueary did next, we speculate these things influenced his ultimate decision not to contact any authority other than Joe Paterno.

McQueary was born and raised in Happy Valley, all he probably ever wanted to do was to play and then coach for Penn State. Half of his life’s dream had come true as he played QB for the Nittany Lions in 1996 and 1997.  He even set a few records.  He was halfway to the second-half of the dream having landed a position as a grad assistant, and then one night when all he wanted to do was put away his new sneakers, he encounters a horrific scene involving another long-time semi-revered Penn State coach.

(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
He was paralyzed.  We surmise he contemplated calling the police, but, no doubt, realized that had he done so and the police arrived when Sandusky’s shower rape was over, it would quickly devolve into “his word against Sandusky’s word” situation.  The grad assistant's word against the mighty long-term retired defensive coordinator who had founded a charity to help underprivileged kids. If McQueary also assumed that it was likely that the State College police officer who answered the call was also drinking the Penn State Kool-Aid, that was not a viable option.

Mike McQueary was probably just a normal guy.  A guy overwhelmed by the aura of Penn State football and perhaps intimidated by the iconic individuals worshiped by the program, the players, the students, the boosters and the alums.  Perhaps he simply didn’t see himself as a hero willing or capable of taking on such a behemoth.

We also believe this to be true:  McQueary was a product of the almighty Penn State football program and he probably didn’t believe in doing anything without the approval of his ultimate superior – the ruler of the kingdom, Joe Paterno.

We also surmise that McQueary at some point between that horrible moment in 2002 and his testimony before the Grand Jury, was concerned that any thing he did or said would end his career at Penn State.  Knowing how psychotic football programs are about loyalty, his exposing Paterno and Sandusky may well have gotten him black-balled in all of major college football.

So, we speculate the McQueary simply put himself first and made the safe play.  In a world rocked the last decade by scandals ranging from Enron to Wall Street it should be abundantly clear that a significant portion of the population subscribes to a simple philosophy of “me first.”  Like many other Americans, McQueary put himself, his family and his career in front of those of all else.

He blew it, it’s that simple. 

(Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
So, McQueary decided to sleep on it and simply inform his boss the next day. 

(And then there’s McQueary’s dad, who just raced past Cam Newton’s old man into the Worst Fatherly Advice Hall of Fame…but that a story for another day.)

So that brings us to Paterno and Scott H. Greenfield’s Simple Justice blog eloquent overviews it all like this:

A young man saw something no young man should ever have to see.  He told an old man, a legend even then, who passed him along to his technical superior because he was no more clear on what to do than anyone else.  And the superior engaged in allopathic triage, making the symptoms disappear without curing the disease, all in the hope that this would never be known.  Primary was the protection of the Penn State football program.

Which brings us to a conclusion with the help of long-time T.A.H. reader C. Gigs. Now, Gigs is a very bright fellow who usually engages us with pro-Big (L)East musings.  This will no doubt curtail as Gigs’ favorite squad Syracuse is moving over to the dark side of the ACC. Undeterred, we predict he will take the position that the ACC is NOW superior because Syracuse and Pitt are equal to (or better than) Duke and North Carolina.  We will nip this in the bud now, pointing out that Duke and UNC combined have won something like 150 NCAA basketball championships while The Orange has won three (two them prior to WWII) and Pitt is tossing goose eggs…

That aside, Gigs sent a very complementary email yesterday with this absolutely BRILLIANT observation:

BOO RADLEY (Rupert Pumpkin via Flickr)
We have, in my opinion, a cultural and societal fear of damaging the reputations of those we hold in high esteem while neglecting the protection of the innocent, weak and vulnerable which borders on pathological.  We culturally laud Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, yet we learned little from it.  Boo Radley is still in the attic.

And that may be exactly why the home grown boy who grew up in the shadow of Beaver Stadium to play quarterback for and then coach for one of the (then) most esteemed football programs in the country simply couldn’t bring himself to notify the authorities in 2002 or on any of 3,505 days since the original debacle occurred.

And that is a disaster in itself…Has anybody seen Boo?

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