Penn State wide receivers coach Mike McQueary, who allegedly witnessed Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a young boy in Penn State showers in 2002, reportedly has told his former teammates that he did the right thing.
NBC news reporter Peter Alexander says McQueary emailed former teammates to say “I did the right thing … you guys know me … the truth is not out there fully… I didn’t just turn and run… I made sure it stopped… I had to make quick tough decisions.”
McQueary has been scrutinized by nearly everyone who has learned about this case for not immediately stopping the sex act in the shower when he witnessed it. He says he did stop it, and that the truth is not out there.
We have envisioned a context where McQueary’s actions, and seeming lack of outrage, make much more sense. Follow me on this one.
Most people who have heard and read about the situation believe that McQueary witnessed a young boy being sodomized in the shower by Sandusky. We at LBS even described it as an anal rape. People were outraged that McQueary did not break it up, knock out Sandusky, and call the police. Isn’t that what most people would do if they saw a young child being violated so inappropriately? But what if that’s not the full case.
Let’s say McQueary, like all the coaches who had been around the Penn State program for a while, knew that Sandusky had a shady record with children. Let’s say he had heard stories about Sandusky being a molester, and that he had seen Sandusky bring children around the program for years. In that context, maybe seeing Sandusky having sex with a boy in the shower was disturbing for McQueary, but not nearly as shocking as it would be for a stranger. Maybe that’s why he didn’t seem to have the outrage we have when we read about it.
It’s almost like hearing about a coworker who is a coke head, and then walking into the bathroom at work and seeing him do lines in the mirror. It wouldn’t be as shocking if you kind of already knew about it.
In that context, it makes more sense why McQueary called his father first, and then told Joe Paterno, rather than going to the police. It also makes much more sense that McQueary says he did break it up.
Either way, if this continued to go on for years — which it allegedly did — then McQueary is as guilty as everyone in the athletic department and football program who knew Jerry Sandusky was a sexual abuser but failed to stop him.
More on the Penn State Scandal:
Why Did Campus Police Director Call Off ’98 Jerry Sandusky Investigation?
Barry Switzer: Penn State Coaches Had to Know About Jerry Sandusky
Nobody Believed Jerry Sandusky’s 1999 Retirement Was for Good