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November 10, 2011

Joe Pa Gone. It is His Fault He's Gone. I am Sad He Didn't Do the Right Thing.

(h/t Blutarsky, from Pre-Snap Read)
I've debated writing this post for four days.  On Monday, I wrote the only thing I could without getting preachy and devolving into parentyell. Now, I believe the title sums up how I feel pretty accurately.

For those out there that say his contributions, his wins, his spotless now forever tarnished program should grant him more dignity than a phone call or hand delivered letter firing, I say bullshit.  At the minimum, he facilitated and allowed a pedophile's continued access to Penn State's athletic department. That access was Jerry Sandusky's candy.  At worst (and this is speculation based on the known facts), he knew that Sandusky was doing this, took his promise to not do it anymore, and blissfully ignored the rest.

Either way, anything short of doing the morally right thing when he found out what happened is enough to justify his firing.  The liability exposure alone is. That this involves kids being raped at Penn State facilities is enough to let him find out from the press conference, in my opinion.

If you think whatever good Paterno has done for Penn State and the local area trumps what he didn't do for the past decade, well, we'll just have to disagree.  If you think 409 wins somehow over shadows what happened over that decade, we'll definitely have to disagree. I am very sad for how it all ended for Coach Paterno, but that sadness is about his failure to do the right thing, not that it ended on someone else's terms with a phone call or letter.

And for those that think Paterno couldn't have changed the course of events, I call double bullshit.  If he is so revered that students took to the streets, that folks are actually trying to defend his actions, that the local media literally took an accusatory tone with the Board of Trustees in the press conference during the announcement, then Joe Paterno had the power to stop Jerry Sandusky from buggering children, especially on Penn State's campus.  That cannot be in dispute.

The bottom line is this:  Joe Paterno let his relationship, his friendship, with Sandusky trump the welfare of the vulnerable.  That is why he was fired. That is what his legacy will forever be, at least to those of us that are objective about these things.


Further Reading:
-Paterno failed his biggest decision (Mark Schlach)
-Doyel's report from the ground (Gregg Doyel)


Scott said...

I agree with you except that time will heal these wounds to a certain degree. While this incident will be added to Paterno's legacy, the long view of history will be kinder to him than we are now while the story is still fluid.

Although the situation is very different, I point to the legacy of Ohio State's Woody Hayes. Hayes's legacy includes a lot of tirades which the 1978 Gator Bowl punching of a Clemson player was his last blow up. However, Hayes is remembered for his accomplishments as well as his temper and what got him fired. That happens after time has healed those wounds.

I hope Joe Paterno has a better retirement than his ending and that he is able to enjoy retirement longer than Bear Bryant did.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Sadly, I believe you are right.

However, punching a 20 yo in a game >>> allowing pedophile access. Always.

I believe this will get a lot uglier before it can ever get better. Also, the University will write many checks bigger than whatever money the Paternos have given before it is over with.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean "punching 20 y.o <<<< allowing pedophile access".

But I get the point. Sad end to his career, and no one to blame but himself. Sandusky can rot in hell.

Anonymous said...

Paterno is 84 now so he was 75 in 2002(when he was supposedly made aware of Sandusky's fetish. It boggles my mind that he's been able to continue to coach a major college football program at that advanced age. Would he have handled the situation in 2002 the same if he'd been 40, 50 or 60? His age isn't an excuse, but every person loses some of there faculties at an advanced age and JoePa seemed to be in a diluted state regarding the magnitude of this thing until the very end. He announces that he will retire at the end of the if that's his decision to make. The board did the only thing they could do. We'll probably never know exactly what Joe knew, but we know he knew something and that's enough considering the depravity involved here.

This isn't going away anytime soon. The Sandusky court case will be a circus and more names will almost certainly continue to emerge.

Aladawg said...

You are right in all thoughts. The thing that additionally I continue to be appalled by, but perhaps not surprised by is how these "Icons" eventually allow their true egotistical selves out. Paterno has continued to be arrogant and not nearly as apologetic as he needs to be. He continues to put himself on a pedestal "above" all sense of "doing the right things". I was also disappointed that Coach Dooley interjected his "not well thought out" comment about "Joe's legacy won't be damaged". What was he(Dooley) thinking?

Anonymous said...

100% agree.

Anonymous said...

There is not a factual issue about what Paterno knew in 2002. McCreary testified he saw Sandusky sexually abusing a 10 year old boy in the showers and reported this incident to Paterno. Paterno says the report from McCreary was less specific. Really? A subordinate reports illicit behavior between Sandusky and a young male in the shower yet Paterno does not ask for more details? That is just not credible. Paterno has avoided criminal prosecution because he reported to the AD that "an incident" had occured and Pennsylvania criminal law is unclear about Paterno's duty to report after that. But we do know that Paterno did absolutely zero afterwards, and Sandusky continued his crimes another 6 years. This is an outrage. I hope the plaintiff's bar in Pa hounds Paterno the rest of his life. He should die a broke and disgraced man.

Mr. Sanchez said...

I'm not buying the "he didn't know until 2002" story. Sandusky was investigated by local law enforcement on similar charges in 1998. He prematurely "retires" in 1999. Connecting the dots make a pretty strong implication Paterno knew at least by that time, and 2002 would have just been another alarm bell ringing that he willingly ignored.

ColembiaDawg said...

The Penn State trustees did Joe Paterno a favor. What would have happened if he had stayed? Every press conference would start off with "What did you know, and when did you know it?." And every question would be about nothing but Sandusky.

This is worse than any scandal that has ever hit college sports. What happened at Ohio State is a mild back page story compared to this. We're talking kids who will be scarred for life.

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