It’s a little more complicated if you’re Mike McQueary. To him, Joe is much more than a friend. He is a mentor, a boss, an example of what manhood and leadership are supposed to be. If he thinks the Sandusky secret should stay in-house, it is not as easy to go against this. But go against this you must.
But back to the original question: If Paterno didn’t protect Sandusky out of friendship and loyalty, then why? And why did those whose ties are not as strong – the president of the school, the VP of finance, the athletic director – not only not come forward but affirmatively lie on Sandusky’s behalf?
There is a good chance the AD and vice president could go to prison for awhile … and perhaps longer if more details emerge.
And how big is this cone of silence? Does it include the university police? The local police? Other state officials and/or office-holders? And, again, why? What are these victims to make of the community they live in and the men who run it? Did nobody care about them enough to stand up and stop this?
This time last week, we all assumed these were decent men. The rioters in State College obviously still think Paterno is.
Why then? Why was this hidden? A lot of people think the secret inside the secret has been revealed – what on earth could be worse than a 40-count indictment for child molestation? But some other secret was bigger. That secret is worth keeping even if it means prison for some of the top officials at Penn State and, for Paterno, the loss of the job that seemed to be his for life and a reputation envied by all in his profession.
That must be one hell of a secret.