Home > Sports > Joe Paterno Needed To Be (And Deserved To Be) Fired Immediately

Joe Paterno Needed To Be (And Deserved To Be) Fired Immediately

November 10, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

After 45 years as head coach and 409 games won, the most in NCAA history, this is the way it had to end.

If the accusations were egregious – defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky being charged with 40 criminal counts of sexual assault involving boys at the school’s summer camps – the university’s response and in particular the inactions of Paterno and university officials – they reportedly tried to pretty much sweep the whole thing under the rug by doing nothing more than keeping it within the university and away from law enforcement – were even worse.

There’s a saying that I found particularly applicable here – “evil wins when good men do nothing”.  Upon hearing of the incident, Paterno reportedly informed athletics director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz but failed to report the incident to police or discipline Sandusky.  It’s been said that Paterno never even had a conversation with Sandusky about what happened.

This is a colossal failure of personal responsibility the likes of which I haven’t seen in a long time.  These boys are under your personal care and supervision at a summer camp.  The parents and families of these boys place their trust in you.  And Sandusky is sexually assaulting these boys in the showers while the university turns their heads.  Shameful!

After the allegations surfaced, Penn State’s president Graham Spanier was fired.  Curley took a leave of absence and Schultz decided to retire.  Paterno supposedly had come to an agreement to retire at season’s end – a decision that’s as confusing as it is irresponsible.  How could a person who’s as responsible as anybody for this possibly be allowed to keep his job just for the sake of finishing out a football season?  Talk about having your priorities mixed up!

After the firestorm of backlash continued, the university finally came to its senses and decided to let go of the coach immediately.  The firestorm, of course, exists everywhere but on the campus on Penn State where students are inexplicably rallying to the coach’s defense.  I guess in some places loyalty to the sport of football supercedes the responsibility to protect our nation’s children.

Paterno has long since cemented his legacy as one of the greatest college football coaches of all time (even if he probably hung on a little too long).  Now, this becomes his legacy.  Whenever the name Joe Paterno gets mentioned, the first thing that will be mentioned is this.  And that’s sad but ultimately the way it has to be.

This can not be forgiven no matter how many wins he has.

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