For the first time in 61 years, Joe Paterno was not part of a Penn State football game on Saturday.
That was, obviously, a good start.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, vice president Gary Schultz and president Graham Spanier were also gone.
This, too, was a necessary and appropriate step.
Each of the aforementioned men were complicit by either (a) their negligence in failing to report to law enforcement the alleged sexual molestation of children by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, or (b) their intentional willingness to cover up that molestation, and the Penn State Board of Trustees had no alternative but to clean house from top to bottom while the criminal investigation continues.
The only question remaining, then, at least in terms of relieving the negligent or guilty parties from their duties, is “How on Earth can that housecleaning be complete unless Mike McQueary is also swept out the door?”
McQueary also missed Saturday’s final home game, but only due to security concerns after he received death threats. For some inconceivable reason, he remains on the coaching staff, which means he is still receiving a paycheck from parents of Penn State students and from the taxpayers of the state of Pennsylvania.
That is a travesty.
Of all the despicable human beings responsible for allowing Sandusky’s alleged serial molestation of young boys to continue, no one should shoulder more blame than McQueary, save for Sandusky himself.
It was McQueary who, after unwittingly walking in on Sandusky and witnessing the alleged rape of a child in the shower room of the Penn State football building in March of 2002, carefully weighed his options and made a bold decision.
Did this grown man, a 28-year-old graduate assistant coach, grab a football helmet from the nearest locker and bash it over Sandusky’s head, rescuing the boy from the sexual assault? No.
Did he scream at the coach to move away from the boy, phone in hand, under the threat of an immediate call to the police? No.
Did he leave the room and call 911 to notify them of a felony in progress? No.
McQueary’s bold decision was to go into his office and call his dad, who invited him over to his house to talk it over.
Impossibly, the former Penn State quarterback and team captain — an aspiring full-time coach and a leader of young men — took daddy’s advice: He left the 10-year-old boy to fend for himself, while the 58-year-old pedophile continued to violate him, and he drove to Dad’s house.
And what counsel did the elder McQueary offer his distraught son? Did he tell him to call the police from his home, to at least have the authorities look into the matter, in a bare minimum of effort to learn the young boy’s identity and provide him with whatever medical and psychological care he might need?
No. Dad said he should call Coach Paterno instead.
Great advice, that, because the rape of a young boy in the shower room might not rise to the level of criminal activity, at least in the minds of the McQueary’s, but it must surely be a violation of team rules.
To summarize, Penn State’s highest board saw fit to fire Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier for failing to do more when they learned of the ongoing child molestation on their campus, but the man who failed to do anything to stop an actual rape in progress — and then did nothing more than tell his head coach — gets to keep his job?
Penn State officials clearly think they’ve found their moral compass by firing a few of the officials responsible for the cover-up of Sandusky’s heinous, reprehensible crimes. However, McQueary’s continued presence on the coaching staff — and on the university payroll — proves they are still hopelessly lost in vast moral wasteland.
Bob Frantz is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.