” Protect the Institution”? Penn State sexual abuse scandal

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A ‘church of football’ at Penn State? NBC Today Show 11/10/2011

ANN: >> mike is a columnist for the new york daily news. good morning and thanks for being here. let’s make sure we’re all on the same page on how big a fall from grace this is for joe paterno. what was his reputation?

Mike Lupica
: >> ann, this is one of the iconic names in the history of college football and american sports. he started being the head coach at penn state in 1966, showed up there 61 years ago. he had become not only one of the most powerful people in the sport but certainly the most powerful person in his school. the hierarchy at a place like penn state, where he had made so much money and won so many games is football coach, school president, on down. that’s why it was interesting yesterday when he said the board of trustees shouldn’t spend another minute worrying about me, it’s like he was still under the impression that he was calling the shots at penn state. well, that ship had sailed when he didn’t call the cops after being told about this alleged child abuse nine years ago.

ANN: >> how do you square that? how do you square a guy with this sterling reputation for being a good guy, not only a legendary football but a good guy, a good force in football with not — if an eyewitness had come to him and said, if the charges are correct, i just witnessed the raping of a 10-year-old boy, why he would not have called police?

Mike Lupica >> you know, ann, this — i’ve been writing all week about the church of football at penn state and how similar this was to me to what happened in the catholic church. and the first instinct seems to be protect the institution. last night the board of trustees said, we’re doing the right thing for penn state. well it’s about time that somebody was looking out for the best interests of the school, but nobody looked out for the best interests of this little boy nine years ago. and if it is true that mike mccreary, a graduate assistant at the time, saw what he said he saw, and believe me, ann, you don’t want to read this grand jury report because it’s hideous. if he saw what he said he saw and went and told joe paterno and didn’t actually try to bounce this guy off the wall before he called 911, i think the legal problems for penn state are going to be immense. that’s why everybody keeps saying, we want to hear joe paterno’s side of this. i’m not sure that a lawyer wants him to say too much. even when he said yesterday, i should have done more, i think this school is in a world of trouble, because nobody was looking out for these kids and everybody was looking to protect the penn state brand.

ANN: >> you talk about this school. if this was a moral lapse for penn state officials does it also say something about the power currently of college football, whether there is too much power in the hands of people who run the football program?

Mike Lupica >> oh, look at this shameless jockeying for money in college football. yes, ann. it’s no accident that the people who go to these big stadiums are called the faithful and that guys like joe paterno are treated like gods. we found out differently. he wanted one more saturday because he thought he was all that. he didn’t even deserve that.

Ann>> this is to be continued and i hope you come back and explain more as more details come. thank you so much.

>> thanks, ann.

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