Last night, Penn State students rioted in support of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno:
Jimmy Gallagher, raised on the shoulders of students at the top of the Old Main staircase, shouted from a megaphone.
"We stand united as students. We don't care what anyone else has to say. We want Joe and we want him back," Gallagher (freshman-energy business and finance) said.
Jimmy, your football coach—a grandfather, if one can believe—failed to take action for nine years after he learned that one of his subordinates reported witnessing another subordinate raping a 10-year-old boy in a locker room shower. And there's evidence that Paterno had received other allegations against Sandusky going back to the mid-1990s.
The legal process must take its course before we can actually call former coach Jerry Sandusky a child rapist. But that doesn't matter to the appalling lack of moral intelligence Penn State students, staff, and administrators have displayed in the last few days.
Jerry Sandusky may not have done anything he's accused of doing. But if someone witnessed him having sex with a 10-year-old boy in the showers, for that person at the very least not to run to the nearest phone and call 911, or (given the witness was a former football player) not to beat the snot out of the (alleged) child rapist on the spot and then call 911, beggars the imagination.
So, Penn State students who rioted yesterday, you are voicing your support for a man who did nothing to investigate a credible report of child rape for 9 years after he learned of the incident. You're mad he won't get to coach a football game, but not mad he (allegedly) covered up a horrible crime? Wow.
The damage that Paterno, Sandusky, and everyone who failed to act even with the morality of a professional tobacco lobbyist did to Penn State's reputation will take a generation to fix. Who cares about the next three football games.
Updated to correct grammar, dates.