Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Paterno, Penn State officials should all go

The sexual abuse allegations involving a former Penn State coach are not shocking because of what he allegedly did, but because of the disturbing failure of his colleagues in the program to stop him.

Whether or not Jerry Sandusky goes to jail for molesting and raping children, everyone who knew about the alleged abuse in the Penn State program should be fired for allowing a sexual predator to roam free. At least two employees, including a current coach of the team, witnessed sexual assaults and did nothing to stop them. If I ever saw anyone hurting a child, I would immediately physically intervene and call the cops. I wouldn’t care if this person was someone I worked with or someone I considered a friend. But apparently the folks at Penn State care deeply about that for some bizarre reason. As many of them are fathers themselves, you would think they would not want someone like Sandusky in their organization, but they did nothing to get rid of him.

That includes Joe Paterno. The legendary coach did not fire Sandusky when he was informed directly about an alleged attack, did not follow up on what action the university was taking to get rid of Sandusky. It’s horrifying and despicable considering Paterno has five children and 17 children and part of his legend is that all his children are proud Penn State graduates (I bet Paterno never allowed any of his grandchildren near Sandusky after he was told what happened).

I have always admired the Brooklyn-born Paterno for his success on the football field (two national championships, 409 career wins and hopefully not counting) and his willingness to buck conventional wisdom in college football to care more about his athletes doing well in school, which should be the primary focus of their college years rather than football. But sometimes a person does something so heinous that it outweighs all the positive contributions they’ve made in their careers and their lives. This is one of those times and it’s the reason why the man they call JoePa has to go.

What really makes me even sicker and madder is the spin on this by the university. They did the bare minimum of notifying up the university’s chain of command, but no one, not even Paterno, bothered to call the cops. I find this so infuriating. While it may be defensible from a legal perspective, it certainly isn’t from a moral perspective. This is why everyone who knew about the alleged abuse, including Paterno, should have the decency to walk away or the university board should have the courage to get rid of them as punishment for their inaction and the shame they have brought on a good university.

Thanks to PSUMark2006 via en.Wikipedia for the Paterno photo.

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