Full disclosure, I’ve always had a thing for Penn State. I read “Something for Joey” when I was in 7th grade and it’s the alma mater of my favorite uncle. It was on my short list of colleges for those reasons. I’ve always had a soft spot for Joe Paterno. Even as his role was reduced to figurehead I thought he deserved to stay at Penn State until he felt it was time to go. Unfortunately, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, that time has come.
After reading the attorney general’s report I can only come to the conclusion that every person that had any knowledge of Jerry Sandusky’s conduct is at fault. Surely, what Sandusky did was disgusting but the adults that were alerted and aware and basically did nothing, are just as bad. To give some details (since you might not make it through all 23 pages of that report due to the content), a graduate assistant at Penn State caught Jerry Sandusky in the locker room shower having sex with what looked to be a 10 year old boy. That assistant was upset and notified Joe Paterno. Joe Paterno then notified the Athletic Director. The Athletic Director took Sandusky’s keys away, which amounts to nothing at all.
By the letter of the law, the graduate assistant and Paterno did the right thing by notifying their superiors. But how could their conscience stop them from doing more? Sandusky has been associated with the Penn State program since he played there from 1963 – 1965. This would suggest that there is a relationship between him and the head coach which would have at minimum required a phone call that started with, “Jerry, I heard some things, what’s going on?” Why was Paterno content to let his superiors handle it? This was on his watch. This was happening in his facility. As a man that has dedicated his life to developing boys into men how is simply reporting it to his boss enough?
It’s sad that it has to end this way, on this note. But it has to end. Joe Paterno is one of the greatest to ever coach college football. He recently surpassed the great Eddie Robinson in college football victories. None of that will change the fact that he is now a man that allowed a predator to have access to his program long after being warned. I’m not sure how you can send your son to play for Paterno knowing that he never asked any probing questions. If you can’t convince kids to come play for you, you’ve lost. So Joe, it’s time, as much as I hate to say it, you’re done. It’s a shame it had to end this way, but it must end.