Joe Paterno is no longer the head coach of the Penn State football team and for very good reason.
He was fired last night amid a growing scandal that involved former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and allegations that he sexually molested children at Penn State facilities.
Out of all the college football scandals out there (and there are a lot) this has got to be the most disgusting of them all.
The incident at the center of this scandal happened in 2002 when Sandusky was witnessed molesting a little boy in the showers of the Penn State locker room.
Amazingly, Sandusky was allowed to hang around the team and practice facilities long after that. (He was officially banned from campus on November 6 this year).
Couple that with the fact that similar allegations were made against Sandusky as far back as 1998. You have to ask yourself, “Why was a sexual predator allowed to be part of the university for so long?” And this wasn’t the only child Sandusky is accused of molesting.
He is facing 40 counts of sex crimes of eight different boys. It’s starting to look more and more like a cover up and Joe Paterno was aware of it.
Joe Paterno certainly deserves to be fired. The fact that he came out with a statement saying he was going to retire at the end of this season was the height of arrogance.
Did he really think he was going to be able to dictate the terms in which he would leave the university? He’s lucky there are no criminal charges pending against him right now.
And for those who defend him by saying, “Joe Pa didn’t do anything,” that’s the whole point. He didn’t do ANYTHING. Merely reporting the incident to his superior was not enough.
We’re talking about a crime here. A crime against a child. Paterno should have gone directly to the police and reported this. And why keep Sandusky around for so long after that incident?
What does that say about Paterno? He was willing to overlook children being sexually abused because Sandusky coached a good defense?
If that’s the case, Joe Pa might as well have held the kids down while Sandusky did his thing.
One of the saddest scenes last night was the mini-riot by Penn State students on campus. Many of them were upset over the “way Joe Pa was fired,” (over the phone) and that he deserved better.
They seem to forget or did not want to realize that at the center of all this was child molestation. One thing they need to understand is that one coach, one player or even one university is not more important than the safety and well being of a child.
And to be out protesting Paterno’s firing was an embarrassment to themselves, the university and their families. You are just making yourselves look stupid and uncaring. I hope today they realize how wrong their actions were.
And to all the other Big Ten fans of other schools out there who think now is the time to crack jokes and say how great your school is; just don’t.
You will look just as bad as the Penn State students. This is not a time to point fingers and revel in others misery.
Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in Division I football.
He has two National Championships. He is in the College Football Hall of Fame. But none of that will matter. He has forever tarnished his reputation by his inability (or unwillingness) to act appropriately.
He could have done what was right (go to the police) but instead he did what was easiest (passes along the information and then thought nothing more of it).
College football scandals are sadly becoming the norm but this one goes to a whole new level of repugnance. Every time I read about it I feel like I have to shower.
And Joe Pa has the distinction of letting it happen under his watch. He will most likely never set foot on campus or attend a university function again.
The outrage and backlash would be too great. He is going to spend the rest of his life in exile from the one thing that defined his whole life: Penn State.
You can feel sorry for Joe Pa if you want. I certainly won’t. But if you do find yourself feeling sorry for Paterno take a moment and think about the children he let get victimized. I’m sure you will feel just a bit differently.