This Penn St. situation is, to put it nicely, a mess. I’ve been struggling to figure out just what to write about this whole thing and what angle I want to take since yesterday.
On one hand, you have a situation where a coach who has meant more to a university than any other one person. Joe Paterno has the most wins in college football history, and in his 46 years at Penn St. has brought them from just another school into a national brand. That said, I know that from what we have heard so far about this, he didn’t perform his civic duty to nearly the extent he should have.
Yesterday, I felt almost sorry Paterno. I knew he could have done more to stop this before it ever started, but you have an 84-year-old legend as your coach, how can you fire him? I thought maybe nudging him out after the season is over, but after sleeping on it, I’m not sure that is ok.
What Jerry Sandusky did makes me sick to my stomach. Sexually abusing young children is unforgiveable, and simply reading and hearing about it can’t help but make you upset. These are children that cannot defend themselves. They will never be able to get that innocence back that this man (I use that term lightly. Sandusky clearly isn’t a man if he thinks this is something that is ok to do) took from them.
To me, it feel’s as though Sandusky started this charity simply so he would have an easy way to get to the boys while still having a cover up. Just writing that sentence makes my stomach turn. He is the person that you see on TV and wish you could get a couple of good swings at. He is the dog crap that you accidentally step in and have to smell the rest of the day. He is truly the scum of the earth.
Back to Joe-Pa and the handling of this whole thing. When Paterno was informed of this happening by then Graduate Assistant and now wide receivers coach Mike McQueary, he fulfilled his legal obligations and went to the athletic director.
First of all, McQueary, instead of running from the issue and calling his daddy and telling Joe-Pa, he needed to call the police himself. I’m not sure what about seeing and hearing what McQueary witnessed wouldn’t scream like hell to call the cops. It is CLEARLY not supposed to be happening, so step up and be a good citizen and stop it from continuing.
As for Joe-Pa, yes, he did what he was legally obligated to do and told the AD. I’m sure this was not an easy idea to wrap his head around that his long time friend and assistant was committing such unspeakable and heinous crimes, but much like McQueary, what about this wouldn’t prompt you to do whatever it takes to stop it.
Since I started writing this, Penn St. has (in a strange yet predictable move) cancelled this week’s press conference with Paterno. The New York Times has released a piece stating that Penn St. is preparing for Paterno’s exit. Whether they plan to fire him, let him step down, and when this all may transpire isn’t really made clear, but what is, is that Paterno will not coach Penn St. next year. Joe-Pa’s son has since tweeted that the NYT piece is premature and his father isn’t going anywhere. Scott Paterno is apparently also in the process of setting up an off campus press conference for his father to speak to the media.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m tired of the bullshit runaround Penn St. is giving us and I want to hear from the horse’s mouth. I want to know what Joe-Pa really has to say about this whole thing. Sure, the legal implications will probably prevent him from divulging too much, but if they are going through all this trouble just to speak to the media, it’s pretty clear it won’t be all about their game against Nebraska this weekend.
One of the topics I want answered, or even addressed, is how accountable should Joe-Pa be. I haven’t really seen anyone else raise this question yet, but how did he let this happen. Sandusky is his own man and will rot in jail for what he did, but this happened IN JOE-PA’S HOUSE. This was on his territory. Even after Sandusky retired, he still used the Penn St. facilities to work out in and run his camps. These crimes happened in the house that Paterno built. There are just so many things wrong with this whole thing. It’s really infuriating to think about it all and realize how stupidly each step of the process was handled and how simple it would have been to avoid ever allowing it to reach this level of negativity.
I thought after writing this and getting all of my thoughts out there I would have a more clear cut opinion on what should happen to Joe-Pa. Part of me says fire him now. There is no excuse for not carrying out your duty as a human being to help save these kids and bring Sandusky to justice. The other part of me says you can’t fire this man. He is too big of a legend. He didn’t commit the crime itself; so let him finish out this season. There were no NCAA violations committed in this whole mess and the current players are just the unfortunate recipients of this unthinkable distraction. They deserve better. Let Joe-Pa finish what he started with this team and then nudge him to the door. He has done enough to warrant letting him at least step down himself.
I saw a Penn St. fan say via twitter that it was way different than what happened with Tressell and Ohio St. Tressell lied/didn’t say a word about it, while Paterno at least told the AD. A valid point I suppose, but there is a huge difference between selling rings and jersey’s for tattoo’s and child sex abuse. Come on now. To the writer of that statement, you’re better than that. Remove yourself from being a fan and realize how horrific and scaring this all is. If something like this happened at the University of Louisville or Indiana University, I would hang my head in shame and potentially become ill over the situation. I don’t know if I could handle being associated with a University as a fan and/or alum that was associated with this. It would be more than heartbreaking.
Just to address this before someone inevitably brings it up or at the very least thinks it; Rick Pitino’s situation with Karen Sypher is EXTREMELY different than this. Pitino is a grown ass man that made a mistake that affects his family. It’s clearly not socially acceptable to cheat on your wife and then pay for a women’s abortion, but he committed no true crimes. It’s just something he has to live with. The only reason it was ever in the courts was because Sypher was out of her mind and attempted to extort millions from Pitino. She’s in jail now and he is still coaching a top 10 basketball team.
I don’t have the answer of what to do with Paterno and to this point, I don’t really have any faith that the brass at Penn St. will make the right decision based on how they have handled it all thus far. What I do know is, whether he is fired tomorrow, coaches the rest of the season, or into the future, it is a true shame that something like this will forever tarnish a career that up until this point was spotless. Joe-Pa is unlike anyone else college football has ever seen, and it’s heartbreaking as a fan of the sport to see such a captivating, genuine character have his career tarnished because he just didn’t do enough.<!--EndFragment-->