One Man Takes Down Penn State’s Joe”Pa”

It happened so long ago that I was still in high-school.  Michael Jackson was the “King” of pop for real, parachute pants were the “in” thing, and Dan Marino strutted “Zuba’s”.  It was the 1980′s.  In college ranks, Penn State’s Joe Paterno was still old and frankly everyone thought he would retire as his 70′s approached.  Time, decades, wars, and economic downturn could oust Paterno from his coaching gig in Happy Valley.  Now all these years later, a man who no longer roams the sidelines with Joe”Pa” as he is referred to will likely bring an end to the longest sports tenure in the world.  Yes, in weeks if not days, Joe Paterno may step down as coach of the Nittany Lions.  Thanks Jerry Sandusky and the two stooges who additionally have been arrested for doing nothing.

Yesterday a ninth male stepped forward to announce that he too was sexually abused by then coordinator Jerry Sandusky who was supposed to be the heir apparent to the Nittany coaching hierarchy.  Instead, Paterno outlasted him by another 15 years or so.  Now that decade is coming back to take big bite of the Lions pride.  The alleagations against Sandusky will likely put him behind bars for a long time.  Along with Penn States’ former athletic director Tim Curley and former senior vice president Gary Schultz.

The roles of Curley and Schultz were not of the abusing kind, they were of the cover up kind.  Apparently there are reports that Joe Paterno learned of the allegations and informed Curley and Schultz who in turn did nothing to act.  Some believe, opinions that is, that Paterno did what he was legally bound to do, he notified State’s athletic officials.  Other contend that in light of nothing being done, Paterno should have gone to the police with the information.  Regardless the questions of the incident and Paterno’s involvement are being scrutinized and the stress of the allegations appears to be taking a major toll on the 82 year old head coach.

ESPN and other outlets are speculating that Paterno will resign.  Faced with the prospect of his entire career being black marked by someone who held in high regard and close friendship.  Perhaps he too is guilty if only by association.  I find it difficult to believe that Paterno hid anything from anyone but I only question his decision not to follow up with information he passed along to his bosses.

Paterno has been a head coach for a very long time.  45 years to be exact.  He took over the head job in Happy Valley way back in 1966.  While he has over 400 career victories at the college level he is no stranger to controversy.  He was cited for road rage in 2007 and in 2006 was accused of making light of sexual assault by the National Organization for Women.  But the 40 counts levied against Sandusky could ultimately be his undoing.

The question many are asking now is whether or not the legal lengths that Paterno went through absolve him of the moral lengths he did not.  It’s a fair question and rumors out of the University today is that the board of trustees are backing off their support for Paterno in the wake of this scandal.  Whether or not Joe Paterno’s career will end as a result of this issue remains to be seen just how influential this scandal will have on his reputation.  In no small part I suppose that it depends on your interpretation of the events as to whether Paterno was as responsible as Tim Curley and Gary Schultz for not going to the police immediately.

One thing is for certain, a legend in all sports is likely cradling the last days or weeks of his profession, right or wrong as you opinionate’, and he simply deserves to go out with more dignity than this.

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Tags: Dan Marino Jerry Sandusky Joe Paterno Penn State

  • wattywat13

    Paterno should have reported it to the police. He would have if it was one of his grandchildren that Sandusky had molested….

  • Phinphanatic

    @wattywat13 True. But again thats what makes this a moral legal conundrum .

  • fins4ever

    Very sad story. This is not what JP needs to end his coaching career. Not sure of the details, but I wonder why none of the victims came forward until now.

    I read yesterday that JP contacted his bosses when he was told of the “situation”. Still, JP should have some liability since he let his coach continue working. JMO

    How important is winning??? NOT THAT IMPORTANT!

  • compcomplex

    Folks, Joe Paterno simply should have called the police. The hell with all this ‘he did what he was legally obligated to do’ BS. If a friend disappoints you in this manner, he automatically isn’t your friend, not unless you somehow, someway, in some inconceivable scenario condone the behavior.

  • mainedolfan13

    Brian thanks for your view. As you k ow I’m a Penn State fan. In no way do I condone what happened. Sandusky should rot in hell for what he did. I feel like you stated, that Joe got let down by the system. He dis what he was supposed to do. He followed the protocol that was in place. The two scumbags above him let him down. I still want to know the events that happened next. Did Joe follow up with them and they said it was being handled? Someone knows the answer to that. The other thing that I don’t understand is he’s getting heat for doing what he was supposed to yet a mother of one if the victims went to her sons high school upon finding out? Where was her moral obligation to call police when it was her child. So I want alot more answers before I pass judgement but if Joe was involved in any kind of cover up then he deserves what ever he gets. This has been a gut punch for me. If there was one thing I could count on was that my college team was above reproach apparently that wasnt true. I was actually at the PSU game two weeks ago. That game may be ALOT more historic than win #409.

  • redteg02

    Not to make light of it, but who would have thought Paterno would be out at Penn State before Sparano was canned in Miami?

  • compcomplex

    mainedolfan13 – I appreciate your point-of-view and grant that maybe I and many others are quick to judge. I did however read your post to my wife (who’s a Penn State fan and reminds me of the Fiesta Bowl game any chance she gets) and she wonders out loud as well about the actions of the mother of one of the victims – very peculiar. Nonetheless, as a mother herself, she felt that there was an obligation (moral or otherwise) for anyone associated with the program – from the AD down to the waterboy – who knew of this to report it to the authorities.

    Hopefully time will tell who knew what and when and maybe Joe-Pa survives this – but from the news coming out this morning…it doesn’t look good.

  • mainedolfan13

    Com…I hear ya. I, as a parent as well, am sickened. This wouldn’t have ever come up if it were my kid, because I would have reported myself after the cops came and got me for beating the pulp out of this guy. I have no doubt that Joe Pa is done, whether it be today, tomorrow, next week or the end of the year.

    The one thing that people keep saying is that Joe didn’t go to the authorities. BUT….the person Joe reported the incident to was ALSO in charge of the PSU campus police, per his job responsibilities. So, in reality Joe did report it to the authorities. Should he have gone further? Probably, but the thing we don’t know yet is what he was told after reporting it. THAT’S what I want to know.