This handsome stalk of corn is a guy named Les Mann, longtime columnist for the Daily News in Norfolk, a town of 24,000 in northeast Nebraska. He's been following this Penn State scandal pretty closely, and now he has something to get off his chest. His story begins with a phone call from some "twerp" reporter in Wyoming nearly 30 years ago. Take it away, Les:
He started asking questions about a girls' basketball coach who had been employed in the local public school a couple of years earlier. A chill went up my spine because I suspected what was coming.
"Were there any reports of him sexually abusing his players while he was there?" the reporter asked.
"Um, nothing official," I replied, "Why, is he in trouble . . . there (I almost said 'again')?"
"So there were no stories in your paper about why he left . . ."
I shared with him the "rumors," which we both knew were now more fact than that. We both also knew if they had been reported it might have saved another child from harm.
But it was a different time and the excuses for looking the other way were legion. The school board knew. The superintendent knew. The county attorney had to know because he or his partner was the school attorney, too. The whole town knew. Certainly the newspaper and sports editors knew.
But we all sorta did a JoePa.
Um. Wow. The reader who sent us Mann's column is a Norfolk resident who wasn't around 30 years ago. Having spoken to many people about what Mann wrote, our reader says they "don't appreciate the town being painted with this broad stroke." Kudos to Les Mann—the name is almost poignant—for writing about this openly and self-laceratingly, but when he says something like ...
But let's be careful about the harsh words we use to condemn those who have been found guilty of covering up the deeds of sexual predators in the past.
We might just end up condemning ourselves as well.
... all I can think is, who's "we," white man?
Can't avoid scandal by doing a ‘JoePa' anymore [Norfolk Daily News]