November 10, 2011 1 Comment
Child molestation is not a joke. Let’s get that out of the way.
What happened to Joseph Vincent Paterno by the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trutees was roughly the equivant of being pushed off Mount Everest. The 84-year-old head coach was all set to ride off in the sunset, holding the NCAA D-1 wins mark when a blindeside tackle in the form of making a telephone call to a member of said board informing him he was fired. Really? Really? Really. This is not Woody Hayes punching out Charlie Bowman in the 1978 Gator Bowl. thank you very much. This dates to almost a decade ago, when JoePa got a call from the father of a graduate assistant named Mike McCreary informing him of sexual harassment in a shower room by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Paterno called his AD Tom Curley and another higher up at the school, in this case, the school’s director of security, and neither did anything about that, but did ban Sandusky from using school grounds for his charity, The Second Mile.
Cut a fast forward to Saturday, November 5th. Sandusky and the school president were arrested on lying to a grand jury, and Curley was placed on administrative leave. The Nittany Lions were idle that week, preparing for their first game against the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as members of the B1G Conference (that would be the “Big Ten”, and now used by internet boards writers such as myself based on the weirdest conference logos in history.) Three days later, JoePa’s weekly presser is cancelled and then the coach announces his retirement at the end of the year. And then came Wednesday, November 9th, 2011. A date that will soon live in imfaminy for Penn State fans.
The board fired the school president. That was expected. Then, they did the wrong thing. Instead of the on-administarive-leave-AD being reinstated and then told to walk the plank Paterno was shoved out in a unaminous vote. Yeah, blame the whistle blower, not the guy who did nothing. Rioting then ensued, a news van was turned over; hell, you’d just think the Phillies won the World Series again. The student body was mad, they have supported JoePa through thick and thin, and all of them were not on this earth in 1987 when Penn State beat Miami (FL) in the Fiesta Bowl when Vinnie Testiverde forgot to never look a Pete Giftopolus in the mouth. And now, the 11/12 game may become a protest by the seniors (as it is Senior Day), the supporters and even the alumni who donated billions of dollars for a Joe Paterno Library at State College. The Paterno firing may even mean that said alums will stop their financial support of the university.
The baord should have let Paterno use the retirement card and let him finish out the season instead of knee-jerking to their own interests, and allow him to become Head Football Coach emeritus after the season and the bowl game within. This decision will come back at some point and bite them in the arrears when alumni stop making those donations, seats at Beaver Stadium will be empty, and even students decide not to go to Penn State becuase the wrong guy was thrown under the bus.