CEO Mark Parker announced today that they are taking Joe Paterno’s name off of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center at Nike headquarters in Beaverton Oregon. The announcement came after a report came out stating that Paterno not only knew about the abuse of boys by Jerry Sandusky, but he actively kept the information from becoming public. He reportedly conspired with other officials at Penn State including then President Graham Spanier to stop reports from being filed with authorities. “The facts are the facts,” Freeh said of Paterno. “He was an integral part of the act to conceal.”
“Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims,” said Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the F.B.I. who oversaw the investigation. “The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
I was contacted today by NPR news to comment on the move by Nike. Their question was why is it so important to take Paterno’s name off a building. I mean Joe was a famous sports figure and it’s not like he touched any kids or anything. And he did lots of good for young men. Right?
Well in the first place, a Child Development Center named after a man that protected a child molester, not to mention the reputation of his football program over protecting children is offensive at the least. It probably qualifies as an oxymoron, Molester Protector Child Development Center. It certainly offends me, and I am impressed that Nike chose to step up and say it also was deemed offensive by their company.
This whole story points out just how deeply child sex abuse is ingrained in our culture. It is one more arena where society has turned a blind eye on abusers at the expense of our children. The amazing change here is that corporations and institutions are finally being targeted as part of the problem. This story is far from over. The Freeh report also indicts Former Penn State President Graham Spanier in the cover-up. Penn State officials Gary Schultz and Tim Curley that were also reportedly in on the deception, today called the report one sided. Yeah that’s right, it’s the side you two assholes conspired to hide at the cost of children’s lives. Don’t hold your breath for these tigers to change their stripes. I do look forward to these men being tried as accomplices to child molestation and rape.
And what about the years before 1998? Are we to believe Jerry Sandusky started molesting boys in his forties? Not likely! This story will never end, because it will live on in the lives of the victims and their families for decades to come. And maybe someday looking back, we may see it as the turning point on child sex abuse. The point in history where we began to chose children’s welfare and safety over the protection of perpetrators and institutions.
Joe Paterno, albeit posthumously, is now deemed a party to child molestation. No, he did not directly touch a child inappropriately. No he did not hold a gun to the bank teller’s head. But he did drive the getaway car.