The allegations brought up against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky have shaken the journalistic world into a frenzy. The 2002 incident, which involves Sandusky’s sexual misconduct with a 10-year-old boy, has begun to unravel the very fabric of one of college football’s most historic programs and it’s most historic coach.
Joe Paterno, the longest tenured coach in the NCAA with one program (1950-1965 as an assistant coach & 1966-present as the head coach), will see his reign as the school’s most iconic figure come to an end because of something he had no control over. Good.
The university is making an example for a trend that has become rather popular in the collegiate ranks: informing your superiors in a matter that should be reported to the police.
Paterno washed his hands clean of the situation when then-graduate assistant coach, Mike McQueary, informed him of the inappropriate acts of Sandusky. After Paterno heard of the incident, he says he went to his superiors, or in his words, “followed the rules.”
The issue of a child having his innocence taken from him by a creepy old guy under the guise of attempting to offer opportunities for “at-risk youth” seems to get lost in translation because it’s Joe-Pa’s program. He has been its guiding force for more than forty years and the best he could think to do is tell his Athletic Director about an act this serious.
What position does this put current players in? How do they respond to questions about things they weren’t around for and still focus on their season?
He deserves to be fired and hobble off to play golf at a deserted country club somewhere. Bobby Bowden got the picture. The era, and game, has evolved from his time. Doing back door deals and cover-ups for the good ole boys in the club isn’t going to work anymore, especially involving a crime of this magnitude.
This situation could have easily been avoided if people just learned to take the lessons from similar situations i.e. the Catholic Church. Their allegations of child molestation by priests were swept under the church rug for decades until it finally began to tear the church and its values. Church leaders lost credibility, members lost faith and children spoke out left and right of instances of abuse that were either reported and ignored, or treated with a mild slap on the wrist for the accused priests.
But the sporting arena is heaven and players and coaches are untouchable Gods. The rest of us are mere mortals, pushed and shoved aside for the greater good of the game. Never mind the lives and health of children are at stake: Paterno and Sandusky won games. All else is irrelevant.