by Max Brantley
This should blow you away — and should silence all those thinking Joe Paterno is getting harsh treatment.
It's a newspaper column written in April — April! — mentioning sexual abuse allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky, the curious circumstances about his departure from the Penn State staff, news of the ongoing grand jury and Paterno's appearance and more. Columnist Mark Madden referred to Sandusky as a "state secret," in football-controlled Central Pennsylvania.
It seems logical to ask: What did Paterno know, and when did he know it? What did Penn State's administration know, and when did they know it?
Best-case scenario: Charges are never brought, and Sandusky walks away with his reputation permanently scarred. The rumors, the jokes, the sideways glances - they won't ever stop. Paterno and Penn State do the great escape.
Worst-case scenario: Sandusky is charged. Then it seems reasonable to wonder: Did Penn State not make an issue of Sandusky's alleged behavior in 1998 in exchange for him walking away from the program at an age premature for most coaches? Did Penn State's considerable influence help get Sandusky off the hook?
Don't kid yourself. That could happen.
Written seven months ago. His closing line?
Plenty of questions remain yet unanswered. Potentially among them: What's more important, Penn State football or the welfare of a few kids?