Penn St, Congnative Dissonance, and Sandusky's Wife

alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior MemberPosts: 8,775 Senior Member
I admit I have only read summaries of the Penn St report. It seems the general conclusion or interpretation is that there was an active cover-up with the goal of protecting the reputation of the football program and the university. The thing I question is the idea that because Joe Pa and the administration knew about the investigation of Sandusky in 1998 that therefor they should have known he was a child molester and should have done more to stop him. This to me is somewhat faulty logic. Sandusky was investigated by the police but never charged. If I were his friend of 30+ years, the assumption I would make from that fact would not be that he was a child molester, but that he was falsely accused because the police did not find evidence to even charge him, let alone convict him.

The 2001 incident is harder to fathom. It seems there were some high level meetings between JoePa and the administration and a supposed change of course after the meeting. The assumption is that JoePa convinced them to cover this up to protect the reputation of the university and football program. That is a plausible hypothesis, but an equally plausible hypothesis is that JoePa vouched for Sandusky as a close friend and "great man" who was doing great work in the community and "never could have done these things" and had been falsely (or never proven) accused in the past. From the outside it seems impossible that JoePa could have been that blind, but cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing. This man was his close friend and he thought he knew him well. He couldn't possibly actually be a serial child molester/rapist could he? It's not an easy accusation to believe about someone you know well and care about.

To see how easily this mind set is to adopt, look no further than Sandusky's wife. She was married to him for decades and apparently was in the same house when many of the attacks occurred, yet up till the end she still refused to believe the allegations were true and she even testified in defense of her husband. This seems absurd to us on the outside, but again cognitive dissonance is an extremely powerful force. Accepting the idea that her husband was actually a child rapist was just too far out of what she thought she knew that it was nearly impossible to believe. Just think of someone who you have known for decades and love or highly respect and think about how much evidence you would have to see before believing accusations that that person did the things that Sandusky was accused of doing. The burden of proof would be enormous for most of us I would guess.

None of this excuses any of their behavior. Naivete isn't all that much better than willful, self interested disregard. However, by attributing the actions to the latter we insulate ourselves from having to contemplate that this could happen to any of us. Naivete can happen to anyone, the latter requires a willful immoral choice and therefore we easily believe we would always do the right thing.
"Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
-DoctorWho

Replies

  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,425 Senior Member
    At this point I'm downright amused with the uproar from PSU students and alumni. Literally every key figurehead in their football program was involved in this, it's been proven (even by the report commissioned by PennState, so good on them for at least taking a step in the right direction). Yet, the fanbase is still screaming that it's not an NCAA or issue with the football program. Um, hello? Two coaches and a university president cover up years of child rape and it's not an issue with the football program? Do they not teach any inkling of leadership ethics to these sheep?

    This, of course, also encompasses what I view as a larger problem manifesting itself: American universities and the elevated status of athletics in institutions that are supposed to be for academic pursuits and scientific research.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "It's far easier to start out learning to be precise and then speeding up, than it is having never "mastered" the weapon, and trying to be precise." - Dan C
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,775 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    JoePa was told directly of the crime by a person who witnessed the rape first hand. Whet he did by not running straight to the police and ordering his employee and his organization to drop everything and fully cooperate with LE until this was cleared up does not require much analysis. It was criminal and I hope they go after the whole organization with everything they have.

    I get that argument. Why does the wife get off Scott free? Why is she not considered culpable in this situation? Many of the crimes happened in her own home while she was there.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • mkk41mkk41 Banned Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    This whole story is only the tip of the iceberg of college sports sexual misconduct. What about all the females who were raped or molested by football players (I know a few), only to have it swept under the rug by campus police , coaching staff , faculty or paid off by the football program? What about the sexually tinged hazing of underclassmen?
    "There are no victims , only volunteers!"
  • wddodgewddodge Senior Member Posts: 1,009 Senior Member
    Let me say I have no tolerance for child abuse or anyone that tries to cover it up. They should all be used as target stands.

    Who I really feel for is all the people that survive off the football program. There is alot of money brought into town when there is a home game. The waitresses, the concession people, motels, gas stations ect. They are all completely innocent but yet their ability to make a living just took a big kick to the backside.

    Denny
    Participating in a gun buy back program because you think that criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbors have too many kids.... Clint Eastwood
  • Jim TomJim Tom Member Posts: 338 Member
    I still don't understand how the assistant coach that witnessed sanduskey raping a boy in the shower could think he was doing his duty by reporting it, instead of beating the crap out of the pervert and stopping the crime! I sure wouldn't want to depend on that citizen if I was in trouble.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    wddodge wrote: »
    Let me say I have no tolerance for child abuse or anyone that tries to cover it up. They should all be used as target stands.

    Who I really feel for is all the people that survive off the football program. There is alot of money brought into town when there is a home game. The waitresses, the concession people, motels, gas stations ect. They are all completely innocent but yet their ability to make a living just took a big kick to the backside.

    Denny

    Yes, there are many innocent victims here. To Jim Tom's point, Agreed. He, and way too many knew and did nothing. On the radio today a woman called in and said she's in her sixties. Was abused and deals with it everyday.
    I have no clue how they can sleep at night. The abusers I mean.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
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