Don’t Cry for Joe Paterno

In College Football on November 10, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I usually don’t write blogs this close together, because I want to allow people more time to check out the previous blogs, but you can see the last couple if you go to my main blog page.

I wanted to comment about the Paterno scandal just to try to get it off my chest. I know a lot of people really don’t want to read about these things, and if you don’t want to, I don’t blame you. I tried to avoid it, but it just got to be too much. I have to comment when I feel something so wrong is being defended, especially with the despicable actions on the Penn St. campus. This was a good condemnation of what went on there, written by an unrelated child-abuse victim, who I thought did an impressive job to not react more emotionally.

I don’t feel sorry for Joe here. This investigation has been going on for years. They first looked into Sandusky in the late 1990s. It seems like there has been a conspiracy to keep Joe the head coach long enough to break the record. There was a meaningful column about this posted back in April, but the national media and Penn St. (except for a few people who commented to insult the writer) ignored it until after the record was broken. That can’t be a coincidence.

Also, Sandusky has been living on borrowed time since he “retired”. Did Paterno or the university disassociate from him? No. Firing Paterno now is the least they can do. He was going to voluntarily leave at the end of the year, but having Penn St. in major football games against Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Ohio St., and also possibly in a Big Ten Championship game and in a BCS bowl with him as the face of the program in light of what has happened with his program and his staff is just adding insult to injury not only to the victims but to the program and the university going forward. He could have 500 wins, and there is no excuse for it. There needed to be sweeping ramifications years ago, and since there aren’t any time machines, getting Paterno out now (even if he thought there was just some “horsing around” and possibly touching and honestly thought this was being handled appropriately) needed to be done. It would have been irresponsible not to. They could have had a nice meeting with tea and crumpets and a cigar to fire him, but they had already waited long enough.

Ironically, I think the only reason as many people are still around at Penn St. is they really need to start from scratch from the top down, which takes more than one week. They need to have a new president, that new president should probably have something to say about the AD, the AD should probably have something to say about the head coach, who should have something to say about his assistants. Also, of course, they’re more removed from the problem.

As far as McQueary, I think it depends on what exactly he saw to say how culpable he might be, but for me, if it’s a potential victim like that—and even if what was seen was merely suspicious rather than criminal, any reasonable person can know that if you see something suspicious, what makes it suspicious is the possible things that you don’t see—failing to contact law enforcement, parents, etc., and continuing to be associated with a program that has Sandusky around seems to show some serious character flaws. I wasn’t in college that long ago, and I wouldn’t want to be around someone like that. I can’t imagine parents would want their children around someone like that. It just comes off as unconscionable to me to have anyone in this whole “chain of command” still around, including McQueary.

Maybe not all the coaches who are there right now have had anything whatsoever to do with this, so I do understand keeping the rest of them on, but at the end of the year, I think how it should work is, they should all be fired and if they are found out not to have had anything to do with it or any knowledge of what was going on AND the new coach chooses to add that person to his staff, then they can be hired back. I don’t know if it makes sense to consider someone currently on this staff if it might be found out later that they also knew or were told something about the situation and did not handle it responsibly (“responsibly” being something other than making sure the head coach was told).

I noticed after writing this that Jeremy Shaap had expressed similar sentiments.

  1. It has definitely tainted Paterno’s legacy. Check out my thoughts at

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