Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barry Switzer's Insight On The Penn State Scandal

Once he saw the footage of the Penn State coach standing on his lawn, talking to reporters and admitting to the world that he should've done more, the former Oklahoma coach realized his fate was sealed. He would be forced out. He would be fired.

“I knew that it would come to this,” Switzer said.

“They did the right thing at the university,” he said. “The university had to do this, and it was the right thing to do.”

He paused and sighed.

“It's a tragic, sad story. There are no winners here.”

He paused again.

“There are no winners at all.”

“Having been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret,” Switzer said. “Everyone on that staff had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.”

“You think that a 13-year assistant … hasn't told someone else?” Switzer said. “His wife? His father? People knew. The community knew.”

“There are more people culpable than just Joe Paterno and the athletic director,” Switzer said via telephone while traveling in Texas. “There are so many other people that have thought, ‘I could've done something about this, too' that didn't come forward. That's the tragedy of it.”

That is the tragedy. The adults who had the power to protect kids from a monster. The adults who passed the buck and expected someone else to take care of the problem. The adults who could've saved at least eight little boys from carrying the scars of sexual abuse for the rest of their lives.

“There's no university immune to this,” Switzer said. “No one is immune to what happened at Penn State or what happened at Oklahoma. It happened years ago, and it'll happen years in the future.

“People make poor decisions, poor choices, and this is what can occur.”

“I'll tell you how it happens — it's the American sports phenomenon,” Switzer said. “I've seen it happen all my life; we've made coaches and players and athletes more than what we are. It's what happens in American sports. Because of that, they've gotten away with more than they should have.

“These students the other night, I watched ‘em occupy State College, and I thought, ‘They don't understand.' If they stopped and thought about … how many people were involved and knew this and did nothing, they just haven't lived long enough.

“And what they've done is try to support somebody the university can't support.”

Words from former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer. And you know what, he's dead on.

Switzer presided over the Oklahoma crime spree that ended up with quarterback Charles Thompson on the cover of Sports Illustrated being led away in handcuffs in an orange prison jumpsuit for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. The wild west days of Norman. Switzer knew it was best for him to walk away from the school he loved so much.

Just like how Penn State had to rid themselves of Joe Paterno after the child sexual abuse scandal involving long time assistant Jerry Sandusky. And it's not over by a longshot. There is another layer or two to this story that has yet to come out.

There was no way that Paterno could survive this assault of mounting evidence of a possible cover up for Sandusky. The best thing for Penn State to do was to fire Paterno. Paterno said he would resign at the end of the season, but I think that was nothing more than to keep the wolves at bay. If Paterno wouldnt've felt any heat from this scandal, he'd be defiant about retiring and would be talking about coming back next year. I'm not here to blast Paterno, but this was for the greater good of the university and bigger than football.

I kind of feel sorry for Paterno. After all the years of loyalty to Penn State he goes out under a dark cloud. And it wasn't like the players being paid or an academic scandal that forced him out.

I know Paterno thought he was doing the right thing by following a chain of command and going through typical university protocol. But once he realized something was amiss he should've checked in with the athletic director again and then went to the authorities. It's not like they wouldnt've doubted him. He's Joe Paterno, the lord of State College, Pennsylvania.

He once said that he wouldn't retire to leave the game to the Barry Switzers and Jackie Sherrills of the world. At least they went out cheating the game or on their own terms, rather than trying to cover up a crime against children.