Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joe Pa Fired, But It's Not Over

The Penn State Board of Trustees had to make a stand. It is the type of stand that should have been made years ago by others. How so many people at an institute of higher learning can be aware of sexual abuse of minors and allow nothing to come of it for a decade, if not longer, defies any application of civilized logic. Joe Paterno's firing as Penn State head football coach on Wednesday night will eventually be seen as way too little, way too late. For now, many students are angry with the decision to fire Joe Pa and that emotional response is to be expected. Paterno hoped to finish out the season and coach his final game at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. But that would have been a circus, and it would have further eroded faith in an institution and the man who did so many great things in 50-plus years at Penn State. Paterno should have done the more honorable thing and resigned before the board had to take action. But that inaction by Paterno pales in comparison to the inaction by Paterno, his athletic director, and others at the university, when the abuses by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky came to light. The allegations are so sick I had trouble reading the entire grand jury report.
Perhaps Paterno was not made aware of the seriousness of what the eyewitness saw but even Paterno admitted, "it was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw." That in and of itself should have set off more curiosity from the head honcho of the Nittany Lions. Once Paterno told his A.D. about the eyewitness account of the abuse, did Joe Pa never think about it again? Did he ever wonder why nothing had come of it? Did it occur to Paterno that if the allegations were serious and true, Sandusky should have been serving a prison sentence as opposed to still hanging around the program? And it is not just Paterno. All of the adults involved in this should have been wondering why nothing more had come of this situation. Well, that time has come. Everyone involved will have their feet put to the fire. That may not help the poor victims, but those who overlooked these crimes against children need to be held accountable. Joe Pa may be fired, but this story is far from over.

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