Why did Penn State fire its football coach, Joe Paterno? Based on the information released to the public and reported by numerous media outlets, it seems an overreaction to fire Paterno.
Today the Washington Post* published on its website an interview it says was conducted Thursday and yesterday (January 12 and 13, 2012), Paterno’s first interview since the scandal broke. The article seems to portray the coach in a favorable light, which I liked.
Is Coach Paterno charged with sexually abusing anyone? No. Did he witness anyone being sexually abused? No. Did Coach Paterno ignore or cover up the one case of alleged abuse that a graduate assistant informed him about? Again no. Paterno apparently reported the alleged incident to not one but two school officials, including one who supervised the campus police, according to numerous news reports.
If the allegations are true against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, certainly terrible crimes were committed, and it is a tragedy that action was not taken years ago to stop him. In hindsight, Paterno probably should have contacted the police directly about that one incident or at least followed up with the officials he reported the incident to. But remember Paterno did report the incident, which is much more than many other officials have done. Too often school officials, police, lodge members, etc., cover up crimes committed by their comrades – and Paterno apparently did not.
Paterno served as the head coach coach at Penn State for over four decades. His public record is remarkably clean compared to most big name college football coaches, unless something is being hidden from us.
I am not affiliated with Penn State in any way. Personally, I think football itself ought be banned and perhaps replaced with a less violent sport due to the numerous serious injuries that come playing football at high school, college, and professional levels. But the punishment of Paterno seems excessive based on the information released thus far.
Paterno was 84 when fired (He turned 85 on December 21, 2011) and perhaps it was time for him to retire. But I see no reason to rush the process by ending his career so abruptly. Why couldn’t he finish this season, then retire as he voluntarily sought to do?
I abhore the violence committed by Joe Paterno’s supporters following the decision to fire him. There is no excuse for such vandalism. But the administration’s handling of the case is a contributing factor. Emotions on each side seem to have outweighed common sense.
However, I admit that I am on the outside, basing my views on the information reported publicly by numerous media sources. Perhaps the member of the Penn State University Board of Trustees know some things about the case that I (and the media). If so, it would be great if they’d enlighten us.
Sally Jenkins, “Joe Paterno’s first interview since the Penn State – Sundusky scandal”; The Washington Post; January 14, 2012, 4:02 p.m.; website accessed January 14, 2012.
Note: This article is very similar to one the author published on another website on November 10, 2011.