Thursday, November 10, 2011

JoePa had to go

Has any college coach in history done more for his institution than Joe Paterno has done for Penn State these last five decades?

The school became famous during his tenure, he made "Nittany Lions" synonymous with success, he ran a clean program and he donated millions of dollars to the academic side of the university.

And yet ...

Under his watch, a heinous act took place repeatedly: an assistant coach's predatory sexual behavior. Because Paterno passed the buck instead of directly addressing the problem, numerous youngsters were scarred for life.

So when the truth finally came to light, JoePa had to go.

I applaud the Penn State trustees who summoned the courage to fire Paterno, denying the 84-year-old legend the kind of feel-good farewell tour that would have taken place over the next two months had he been allowed to resign at season's end.

As for the Penn State students rioting in the streets in protest of the trustees' decision, I wonder how they would feel if their little brothers or nephews or cousins were among the molestation victims. Grow up, kids, and learn an important life lesson: Everyone -- no matter how tall one's stature in the community -- must be held accountable for one's actions (or in JoePa's case, inactions).

Though we shouldn't dismiss the wonderful things Paterno did for Penn State and for college football, the sad truth is this:

He lost his chance to go out on his terms when he knowingly failed to protect defenseless children from harm.


  1. i take a much dimmer view...people claim he ran a clean program but not since 1998 when the first accusation surfaced...he was running a child molestation operation ...promoting those who knew about it and paying off those he could not...then there is the states attorney who was declared dead when no body turned up...this thing could turn out to be i have said i quit watching college sports years ago for a reason...

  2. In any large organization, a problem which can affect the "image" of that organization should be reported up the chain. This is not passing the buck. However, hindsight being 20/20, Paterno should have, at the least, fired the offending party, and somebody (Spanier?) having been told,should have either notified the authorities, or directed that they be notified. Too bad.

  3. Often I'd agree with this, Floyd, but Paterno is the most powerful, popular figure both at Penn State and in State College. He had the power to put a stop to it. So while he covered his ass legally, his inaction was morally reprehensible, especially for a man who is considered kind and charitable.