Response to HBO's Movie "Paterno"
Last night HBO aired a movie about Paterno's fall from grace as Penn State's admired football coach. It failed to reveal the Paterno I experienced when coaching with him and Sandusky as an assistant Penn State football coach in 1987 and 1988 and how Paterno's true colors facilitated Sandusky's rampant pedophilia.
I experienced Paterno as a bully who demanded bizarre player witch hunts and staff behaviors. These contradicted his win the right way mantra. He also threatened staff and players with personal violence, he made racist statements, and he isolated, belittled, disenfranchised, and demeaned decent players and staff with tyrannical rage while projecting a calm and concerned public persona in the media. His true self so contradicted his beloved public image to this day people refuse to acknowledge Sandusky's crimes and Paterno's culpability.
Paterno's ruse and permission set the tone for Sandusky to model and create a sham of a charity where Sandusky committed the most vile form of bullying. All abuse is rooted in a predator's disturbed needs for power and contol. Abuse flourishes in organizations only where complicit officials allow it. Great teams elevate their most vulnerable. Bad teams, like those officiated by Paterno and Sandusky, exploit and abuse them.
We are all flawed, and there is a spectrum. The movie failed to show how Paterno's own bullying and his deceptive, selfish, and narcissistic true colors allowed and facilitated Sandusky, whose disorder is on this spectrum with sociopaths and serial murderers, to rape children for decades.
The movie failed to show Paterno's most ruthless, mean spirited, and deceptive character and how THIS facilitated Sandusky's crimes. Paterno was so focused on spinning and projecting his own web of lies he got caught in Sandusky's deception.
As a result of my exposure to Paterno's debilitating actions and organization, I pursued an MBA and have dedicated my last 27 years to helping organizations around the globe thrive with healthy leadership and teamwork while rooting out bullying and abusive behaviors. Simon & Schuster will be releasing my book,"Successful Leaders Aren't Bullies" in September.
It's based on cases I've experienced in my international consulting practice and is written to help readers identify, stop, address, and transcend all forms of bullying and abuse, including childhood sexual abuse.
Thank you for your consideration and support. Please let me know if I can help you or your organization overcome horrific setbacks to thrive.