Sometimes We Must Cut the Niceties

WARNING: OBSCENITIES IN THIS POST

In testimony today, Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary provided some explanation for what he saw and reported in the 2002 incident, in which McQueary allegedly saw former Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a child in the showers.

What is interesting here is the way he chose his words when reporting the incident up the Penn State food chain:

McQueary’s story is central to the case against Curley and Schultz. They testified to the grand jury that McQueary never relayed the seriousness of what he saw.

McQueary said he had stopped by a campus football locker room to drop off a pair of sneakers in the spring of 2002 when he happened up Sandusky and the boy in a shower.

He said Sandusky was behind the boy he estimated to be 10 or 12 years old, with his hands wrapped around the boy’s waist. He said the boy was facing a wall, with his hands on it.

McQueary said he has never described what he saw as anal rape and couldn’t see Sandusky’s genitals, but that “it was very clear that it looked like there was intercourse going on.

He said he peeked into the shower several times and that the last time he looked in, Sandusky and the boy had separated. He said he didn’t say anything, but “I know they saw me. They looked directly in my eye, both of them.”

McQueary said he reported what he saw to coach Joe Paterno.

He said he did not give Paterno explicit details of what he believed he’d seen, saying he wouldn’t have used terms like sodomy or anal intercourse out of respect for the longtime coach.

He said Paterno told him he’d “done the right thing” by reporting what he saw. The head coach appeared shocked and saddened and slumped back in his chair, McQueary said.

Perhaps there is a lesson here: sometimes we must cut the niceties and tell the ugly truth about what we are seeing.

Imagine that, instead, McQueary had (a) decked Sandusky, then (b) called 911 and said, “JERRY SANDUSKY WAS FUCKING A KID UP THE ASS, SO I PUNCHED THE SHIT OUT OF HIM. GET OVER HERE AND GET THIS PIECE OF FILTH OFF MY PRECIOUS CAMPUS, AND HELP ME GET THIS POOR KID TO SAFETY!!!!”

I’m sure the latter approach would have elicited a more decisive response from the police and university officials.

NOT That There’s Anything WRONG With That…

To say that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is in a mother lode of hot water would be an understatement. As it stands now, he has at least 10 credible accusers ready to flay him alive in court. And that is likely not to be the end of it.

But his attorney–Joe Amendola–isn’t helping him too much. Recently, when asked about the account of then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary, who allegedly saw Sandusky raping a child in the showers of the Penn State athletic complex, Amendola said, “I suggest you dial 1-800-REALITY.”

Well, it turns out, that phone number will land you on a gay sex chat line.

E-Reader

My mom purchased my 14 year old daughter a Nook last spring. My daughter is a voracious reader and absolutely loves that thing. But, we’ve discovered something I don’t like much.

She has wanted to purchase e-books while at her dad’s; that doesn’t bother me. When she’s at my house, she purchases books through my account because she does not need her own credit/debit card. So her dad created a Barnes and Noble account so she can purchase ebooks at his house. But here’s the catch … books you purchase through one account at B&N cannot be read or accessed unless you are signed into that account. So she must sign out of my account, loose access to all ebooks purchased through my account, and then sign into her dad’s account, to view and read books purchased through his account.

There is not one central database on a Nook to hold all purchased books. You must be signed into an account to access and read your books, you can only access and read the books purchased by that specific account, you cannot access books purchased by another account without completely loosing access to all the information and books obtained by the first account – even though you paid full price for those books. 

I think I’d rather have an old-fashioned, hard-copy, paper-in-my-hands, book. Then I can read it whether or not I’m signed into an account. I can purchase books anywhere and keep them with me to read in any location. I can share them or even give them away if I like. I can choose what to do with that which I paid for.

But then … when I was in college, we prepared all our papers on typewriters. Perhaps I’m old.

The Anti-Tebow Brigade

Broncos QB and former NCAA standout Tim Tebow is a divisive figure. Most people either love him or hate him.

Among his admirers: religious conservatives, Broncos fans, Tebow’s teammates, and folks like myself who admire hard-working, clean-cut, no BS professionals who walk the talk.

Among his detractors: washed-up quarterbacks who want to be relevant (Jake Plummer), his boss (John Elway), anti-religious bigots, and a community of sports analysts who wishes he would go away so they wouldn’t have to deal with his God talk.

(After all, what is more marketable? Tim Tebow thanking God for various things, or an NFL player brawling it out at a bar at 2AM?)

OTOH, Tebow is not the first high-profile athlete to give lots of attention to his Christian faith. Julius Erving, Kurt Warner, Tony Dungy, Michael Chang, David Robinson, and Orel Hershiser were all outspoken about their Christian faith during their playing days.

Nor is Tebow the high end of the ostentatious side. Those who remember Tyson-Holyfield I will remember Holyfield throwing the admonitions of Matthew 6 completely to the wind after he TKOd Mike Tyson in their first bout.

Still, none of the aforementioned athletes received the clobbering that Tebow does. I can’t recall any athlete–before Tebow–getting mocked by an opposing player in a religious gesture.

Jen Engle asks a very relevant question: What if Tebow were Muslim? That’s an easy one: Stephen Tulloch would be hiding out with Salman Rushdie, hoping to avoid one or more fatwas from various clerics.

I would suggest that the anti-Tebow movement is driven by several factors:

(1) A sea of skepticism. Many athletes have proclaimed a Christian faith, while–on further inspection–having egregious moral deficiencies. A recent biography of Walter Payton had some scandalous accounts; Evander Holyfield fathered nine children, most of them outside marriage; Julius Erving was a serial adulterer who initially attempted to deny his outing as the father of tennis player Alexandra Stevenson. Eugene Robinson–right after receiving the Bart Starr Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes–got busted for soliciting a prostitute.

Recently, Kurt Warner admonished Tebow about this dynamic: fairly or unfairly, he is getting viewed through the lens of others who have seen no small number of hypocrites. Toward that end, Tebow can earn their respect as he keeps walking the talk.

(2) Tebow is not the “right kind” of Christian. If he were an Episcopalian who believed in ordaining gays–or a member of Ebenezer/HerChurch–there would be no controversy. Heck, he would be celebrated as a great humanitarian. If he were gay, he’d be the poster child for the Left.

But Tebow is a conservative Christian who has appeared in pro-life commercials. A gutsy move on his part, as that act has landed him in the permanent doghouse of at least half the mainstream media.

(3) Tebow has not yet achieved indisputable All Pro status. If Tebow were passing for 400 yards per game, his critics would be somewhat muted. If Tebow had Cam Newton’s numbers, at least half the rancor would go away.

To be fair, those who question his viability as a QB–that includes me–have merit. Elway does not yet have complete confidence in Tebow, and that is understandable.

As a passer, he has ranged from shaky to good. In his last two games, he has put up good numbers–including a 10-15/202 yards/2 TD/0 INT performance against Minnesota. Against Detroit, he got hammered in a blowout loss. In those performances, one can see what he wants to see: he is either a dud, or a promising prospect who is steadily improving.

Even if Tebow gets his team into the playoffs, the critics will not go away. After all, even Trent Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring. At the end of the day, it’s all about consistent performance.

In Tebow’s defense, he makes few mistakes as a passer.

His completion rate isn’t high, but he has only thrown ONE interception this season. He has only fumbled twice all year.

He runs a good ball-control offense that keeps his defense well-rested. By committing few turnovers, his offense has maximized their opportunities while keeping the pressure off his defense.

He is a hard worker and a hard competitor. If he has a chance to run hard or jog out of bounds, he’s not afraid to go balls-out to get the extra yardage. Even a skeptical coach–like his own–will respect that work ethic and competitive spirit.

But that begs the questions: (a) Is Tebow enduring a parade of scoffers? (b) Does he have legitimate critics? (c) Are there aspects of his practice of the Christian faith that he can adjust, without compromising his principles?

To answer those questions: (a) yes, (b) yes, and (c) yes.

(c) The admonitions of Matthew 6 are there for a reason. While Tebow is no Pharisee, some of his youthful exuberance can smack of Pharisaical show. Praying during games is ok–arguably part of the admonition of Paul to his fellow Christians–but doing that without making a show of it is a learned skill.

Toward that end, he can consult other Christian athletes–like NBA great David Robinson and former NFL greats Roger Staubach and Kurt Warner–about how to flesh that out. I would recommend that he develop an inner circle of accountability if he has not done this. If he wishes to get married, he should build a robust network and start that search sooner rather than later.

(b) On the other hand, he needs to embrace certain criticisms, if he has not already done this. Many folks will demonize John Elway, but–in fairness to Elway–Tebow still has to prove his viability as an NFL quarterback. He has made great improvements, but it is on him to keep working hard and making adjustments.

So far, Tebow has been hard-working and humble. He needs to keep that attitude and keep fighting the good fight. There is plenty of room in the NFL for folks who are good citizens who work hard. Will Tebow become a great QB? I dunno; maybe…maybe not. But he could become a very good player who will never lack a roster spot. If he keeps doing what he is doing, he will be a hero in Denver for many years to come.

(a) As for the scoffers, they’ll always be out there. Some will go on to eventually respect him; he may win a few over to his camp; still, others are going to hate him even if he wins 10 Super Bowl rings, gives 99% of his money to orphans in Haiti, and has a long, monogamous marriage to one woman until he croaks.

But if he were a Muslim, his critics would be in constant fear of bombs.

As it stands now, they only risk getting embarrassed on Sundays.

Mohler and the Lessons of Herman Cain

In the wake of Herman Cain’s self-immolation, SBTS President Al Mohler offers his two cents on the matter.

1. The Christian man must realize that credible accusations of sexual misconduct or immorality are fatal to credibility and ruinous to Christian witness.

This one should be a no-brainer. What is sad is that someone like Mohler has the need to point out this obvious fact.

If Cain were a secularist, this would be no big deal. But Cain was posturing as a Christian standing for Christian values, and was seeking to court religious conservatives. Whether you are a candidate for political office, or a minister, any accusation of sexual misconduct is a serious matter. If you cannot credibly deny it, you are hosed.

For Cain, the first sexual harassment allegations were–at best–non-issues. This is because anonymous accusations don’t count. Cain’s problems were minor at that point.

Then, when accusers showed up publicly, his problems became major. At that point, he needed to provide a serious and credible denial.

When Ginger White surfaced, Cain was done.

2. The Christian man cannot dismiss any charge of sexual immorality as being a private matter of no public concern.

Again, this should be a no-brainer, except that Cain’s attorney–Lin Wood–didn’t get that memo.

While voters were willing to give President Clinton a pass–and who could blame them, considering that many of the sanctimonious Republicans had affairs that made Clinton look like an Eagle Scout (Hyde, Livingston, Chenoweth, Gingrich each come to mind)–Clinton’s base was not on the same par as Cain’s base.

After all, Clinton’s most ardent supporters were willing to give him the “Monica” treatment because he was quite the protector of abortion rights.

3. The Christian man must plan his life in order to assure moral accountability and protections.

This should be a no-brainer. While we’re all for liberties around here, there is a fine line between liberty and stupidity. We should expect adults to know the difference.

When I was in high school–this was back in the early-mid 1980s–we had some next-door neighbors who occasionally needed babysitting services. On Friday nights, I sometimes filled that role. It was an easy $20. Back then, it was quite innocuous.

Today, if I had a son, I would not allow him to do that. Why? All it takes is one accusation. If he cannot credibly defend himself, he’s hosed.

In a prior church experience, we had a former children’s worker–CE–who is now doing 20 years for child rape. In 1997, two children accused him of sexual misconduct. While they recanted–and the charges were dropped–the church learned from that: while many in the church thought he was innocent, he was forbidden from being around children alone. When I arrived as minister of education, I extended that rule to everyone.

A few years later, after I had left the church, CE was once again accused of abuses, this time at his house. When he was asked if he was ever alone with those kids, he could not answer in the negative.

As the trial date arrived, other kids came out of the woodwork, accusing him of indecent acts. He was not able to deny contact with those kids either. Eventually, he pleaded guilty to child rape.

Prudence matters. At my church, we have rules, and they exist for everyone’s protection.

As a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, I always either (a) had a female volunteer with me when I was with the client, and/or (b) kept the door open while the client was in the room.

As a youth minister, whenever I was on visitation, I stayed on the porches, except when I had another adult–usually the pastor, who was a older guy–with me.

Are these hard commands? No. But this is not about right versus wrong, but rather about prudence versus carelessness.

4. The Christian man must depend upon his church, the congregation that is so essential to his Christian vitality and faithfulness, as a bulwark against sin.

Not sure I completely agree here. If Mohler implies that a Christian man is better-served to utilize his Church family to help him in the accountability department, then yes: I agree. If he means to promote a Sovereign Grace totalitarianism, then I would call him for using the Cain scandal as a pretext to promote ecclesiastical fascism.

5. A Christian man knows that his wife is his best defense against sexual immorality and sexual vulnerability – and his most important witness to character.

Not sure I agree with what he says after his last conjunction. This is because the act of trotting out one’s wife to vouch for one’s character is often the last act of desperation for the guilty.

Moreover, if you have compromised yourself to the point that you cannot be “spoken for”, then trotting out your wife is damage control at best.

When the Ginger White situation hit the fan, here were my thought processes:

(1) When I first saw the picture of Ginger White, I thought, “No way! If I were single, and she was the only woman alive, I’d be taking a vow of celibacy as the human race plodded to extinction.” MrsLarijani also had her doubts.

(2) When Cain’s attorney trotted out the “this is a private, consensual matter” defense, and Cain did not IMMEDIATELY fire him, I thought, “Cain is now in serious trouble.”

(3) When White started offering cell phone logs, the plot thickened. While that is not necessarily airtight, Cain was not in any position to say, “I never texted her at 4:30 in the morning.”

(4) That Cain never said, “I have never been unfaithful to my wife, except–in the words of a former President–‘only in my heart’,” left a gaping credibility hole.

(5) That Cain never had his wife in the loop as he was helping Adams financially was very telling. That looks shady, and I would expect a top-flight CEO to know better.

I’m an IT guy, not an upper-level manager, but If I was helping anyone–same or opposite sex–financially, you can bet your bottom dollar that not only would MrsLarijani be in the loop, I would not do this without her approval.

Innocent or not, Cain left himself in very indefensible positions and displayed–at best–a glaring lack of prudence.

Random Thoughts

(1) Tim Tebow was impressive yesterday.

I’ve long maintained–and still do–that Tim Tebow is not a good passer. He’s a hard worker, a great competitor, and has a great attitude. There is plenty of room for him in the NFL in the long run, but his longevity as a QB is probably going to be short-lived. He’d make an excellent running back, tight end, linebacker, or free safety.

But if he keeps playing like he did yesterday, my outlook may change.

When he came back against the Dolphins, the critics said, “Well yeah, but that was the Dolphins. They suck.” When the Detroit Lions destroyed him, the critics were validated.

But since then, he has managed to come back against the Raiders. He came back against the Chiefs. He came back against the Jets. He came back against the Chargers. Yesterday, he passed for 202 yards–without throwing an interception–in a comeback victory against the Minnesota Vikings.

Granted, none of these teams are lighting up the world this year, but they aren’t pushovers either. And, in his last two games, Tebow’s passing numbers have been respectable. He makes few mistakes, and–when he does (such as yesterday’s fumble before halftime), the penalty has been minimal. He has only thrown one interception, whereas his counterpart on the Vikings threw two costly interceptions, including a Pick 6.

He may very well have a future as a QB. I still think he should switch positions, though.

(2) Tiger Woods may be back.

Critics will point out that Tiger’s victory yesterday was at a small event that didn’t feature the game’s top players. While that is true, Tiger’s biggest problems are psychological right now. He needs to regain the feel for what it is like to win a close tournament. He needs to regain the feel for what it is like to play four solid rounds of golf. Yesterday was a step in the right direction for him. Tiger’s competition was light, but he won nonetheless.

He may not be back to being the top competitor on the PGA Tour, but–if he gets that confidence back–he’ll be back in the top 5 pretty soon.

Once Tiger gets his game and confidence back, he still has to face Father Time. Tiger’s body is breaking down on him; he has been remarkable in the fitness department, but the aging process is still doing its number. His competition is younger, fitter, and does not fear him like they once would have. His time window for challenging Nicklaus is closing. The last 2 years has cost him dearly, and–at this point–it’s not about money.

Still, don’t count out Tiger just yet.

(3) Penn State’s football program is going to get the death penalty.

And it should. The “lack of institutional control”–which brings down devastating sanctions from the NCAA–has extended well into the worst aspects of the criminal realm. While I feel badly for the student-athletes who are getting hurt in this, Sandusky’s victims are the real sufferers here. If the pimping allegations are true, the impact may extend well beyond the athletic departments at PSU.

The university–as we know it now–may well cease to exist. This may seem unthinkable, as Penn State has a very large campus that has some very reputable departments. Their engineering schools are top-notch.

But the impact of Sanduskygate will tarnish every department of the university.

(4) Good riddance to Herman Cain.

When I first saw the picture of Ginger Adams–the most recent accuser–MrsLarijani and I looked at each other ans said, “No way!” If I was single, and Ginger Adams was the only woman left on earth, I’d take a vow of celibacy. If the only two women on earth were Ginger Adams and a crack whore with AIDS–and God commanded that I choose one of them–I would take my chances on a cure for AIDS. Ergo, I had serious doubts about Ginger Adams’ story.

But when Cain’s attorney–Lin Wood–attempted a coy dismissal of the story, rather than a hard denial of the allegations, I about choked on my coffee. That Cain did not fire his attorney immediately spoke volumes. Al Mohler–with whom I have a share of differences–had about the same reaction I did.

Whether or not Adams was telling the truth, Herman Cain was in a tough position: if he had ever cheated on his wife, he was done.

Whether he is innocent or not, that he would quit now–even as the top two candidates in the polls are very weak–does not seem to be the action of an innocent man.

Oh, and don’t buy the line that he is merely “suspending” his campaign. He’s done.

(5) The GOP field is now as wide open as it ever has been. Newt Gingrich is the new Flavor of the Month for Republicans. While many are going goo-goo over his intellectual abilities, in fact Newt is the John Kerry of the GOP: he is better at talking about issues than he is about doing much about them. You name the issue–Medicare, Social Security, our role in the world, illegal immigration, taxes, spending, the role of government in our lives–and Newt is lacking in substance.

Whereas Rick Perry is a complete dunce who cannot name three agencies he’d eliminate, Newt is the bloviating policy wonk who will give us Big Government fascism, even as he talks a conservative game.

Ron Paul is definitely short of the glory on foreign policy, although, as jobs become increasingly scarce, Americans are going to be less enthusiastic about our forays into 100+ countries. If Paul can frame the issue in economic terms, he might be the next one standing after Newt and Mitt kill each other.

My prediction: Jon Huntsman–not Ron Paul–is going to be the next GOP flavor. Once he fizzles, the GOP will be in total disarray. Things will get mighty interesting when that happens.