A panel of sports fans comes to terms with the revelations of the past week—and prepares for more
Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), and Emma Carmichael (writer, Deadspin) talk about the alleged sexual abuse by a Penn State football coach—and the university's apparent attempt to cover it up.
Sportswriters are generally spared the horrific side of humanity that cops beat reporters or war correspondents see on a regular basis. But this week's scandal at Penn State is almost too grotesque to comprehend. Longtime defensive coach Jerry Sandusky has been accused of sexually assaulting prepubescent boys. A gaggle of superiors, some of whom allegedly knew about Sandusky's misconduct as early as 1998, worked diligently to look the other way. A graduate assistant says he saw Sandusky raping a young boy in the shower, and instead of running in there and stopping it, he goes home and calls his father for guidance (hint: maybe you don't abandon a defenseless child). An athletic director, school administrator and university president fail to report the rape to the police or even launch their own investigation. And Joe Paterno, longtime coach and embodiment of Penn State's football program (and frankly the school itself), fulfills his legal obligations by telling his superiors about it but does nothing else, an unquestionable and inexcusable moral failure.