This is unbelievable. But welcome. Who would ever have imagined it? President Spanier cashiered too. Thank God for the university’s Board of Trustees. They have guts. I didn’t think institutions ever fired senior managers over turning a blind eye to child sex abuse.
Who would have thought last week at this time what the next seven days would bring for Penn State, for Joe Paterno, and for college football.
Still, a tragedy all the way around.
UPDATE: Bill Lyon in the Phila Inquirer:
And then, sadly, tragically, there came the shattering day no one had seen coming, the day the icon toppled, brought down by a failed and egregious attempt to preserve the image of his Camelot.
That image turned out to be fraudulent. And in his zeal to keep up appearances, Joe Paterno appears to have become a de facto enabler for an alleged sex predator, Jerry Sandusky, who had been a loyal lieutenant for years and had been considered a leading candidate to succeed Paterno as the head man for one of the most powerful and prestigious big-time football programs in the country.
The irony is, the tragedy is, in trying to keep his beloved school from suffering harm, Paterno had a hand in causing that very harm. When the scandal was brought before him, he reacted, but it was only the bare minimum, superficial, a shocking cover-up that flew in the face of all that he, and Penn State, had come to stand for.
More, on the great good he did:
When he had won his first national championship, Joe Paterno went to the school’s board of trustees and made an impassioned plea for them to raise, not lower, entrance requirements and, oh yes, spend some – make that lots of money – on the library.
In other words, the coach fresh from another undefeated season was campaigning for a university the football team could be proud of.
UPDATE.2: Philly Fox station reporting that “riot police have been deployed in State College at Paterno’s house. Some disturbances have been reported in town.”
UPDATE.3: I can’t get over the integrity of this Board of Trustees in doing this, in canning Joe Paterno, given the man’s stature in this state. I bet they get threats over this. Maybe the board members didn’t have much choice at this point, but they could have let him serve out the rest of the season. The fact that they fired him immediately was meant to send a powerful signal. And, I think, it does.
UPDATE.4: John Ondrasik, in Sports Illustrated:
If what we know is what we think we know, Penn State Football should be shuttered. If the NCAA’s standard for the “Death Penalty” is SMU’s covering up of “recruiting violations” how can there every be another game at Happy Valley?
There will be a time to care about sports again, but it will take a while. What will help is those who are legally liable in the Sandusky case being brought to justice, those who are morally liable shamed by society, and the healing passage of time. (At least for those of us who were not personally affected.)
Full disclosure: while writing this article the Kings and Predators are on the tube, but the sound is off. As I struggle with words, my mind swings between the unimaginable suffering of those children and the evil that was Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State palace guard.
Why is Mike McQueary still coaching for Penn State? The man testified under oath that he walked away while Jerry Sandusky was anally raping a child. The whole lot of them who can be shown to have had any knowledge of this should be fired.
UPDATE.5: It’s kind of staggering to think about when it comes to holding accountable powerful men who overlooked and facilitated the rape of children, the nobodies of the Penn State Board of Trustees has more moral integrity and plain human decency than the Roman Curia.