For all the speculation over the past year regarding Joe Paterno and this being possibly his last season coaching Penn State, I wonder what the odds would have been if your choice of options included a scenario where he was connected to a child sex abuse scandal surrounding one of his former assistants?
500-1 maybe? How about a zillion, billion, ga-gillion to one?
That’s more on point.
In nearly 20 years of covering sports, I can’t think of a scandal this bizarre on this scale. Add to the mix it surrounds Penn State football and you get a sick, tragic blend of sadness, mostly for the kids who were abused. Then you feel disturbed and confused regarding the man accused of these heinous acts. Not to mention the coaches and administrative people who were involved and according to our state attorney general, helped to cover it up.
Penn State AD Tim Curley has already taken a ‘leave of absence’ from his post. He will most likely never return to that job. Jerry Schultz, a senior vice president for business and finance at the school retired. Both are facing charges for hiding the news given to them by their head football coach.
But what about the old man? Was there any moral obligation met by Paterno on this? I can’t think so. Should he have done more? I would think yes, but clearly he didn’t. If that’s the case, how does he continue to live with himself and stay on as coach?
Oh yeah, it’s his legendary ego. The one I’ve told you about for years. The one many of you Nits love to ignore or even acknowledge. His pride has blinded him. His friendship with a man he had known for nearly 50 years kept Paterno from inquiring further.
So the focus is now on Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in Division I history and what will happen to him. He is Penn State football. When he learned about what Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time, now the Lions wide receiver coach, saw inside a shower at the Lasch football building in 2002, Paterno did his duty and notified the proper people at the school.
But here’s what bothers me and from what I can gather so far, the general reaction from the public is this…why didn’t he do more? Why not make a call to a man that spent nearly 40-years coaching under you? Do you not call this man friend?
I guess when you decide to stay on too long at your job, forcing others beneath you to suddenly retire in 1999, the answer to that is no.
Sandusky was defensive architect behind both of the Lions two National Titles in 1982 and 1985. Many tabbed him as Joe’s successor as head coach. There was just one problem, Joe Paterno had no intention of ever leaving. Alive.
So Sandusky retired after the 1999 season. He continued to enjoy the benefits of his relationship with Joe and the school, as he had what some called ‘free reign’ of the school’s facilities when it came to activities surrounding his Second Mile youth organization he founded. It’s on the Penn State campus where one of the 14 charges laid out against Sandusky took place. One that Joe was made aware of.
If these charges are found to be true, nobody involved with Penn State football should survive this as everybody must go, including Penn State President Graham Spanier.
And that includes the old man. Enough is enough. At 84, Joe Paterno should be doing other things and none of it should surround coaching football. And given the allegations surrounding his lack of involvement regarding the news of Sandusky, this should be the last straw.
It’s time for Joe to go.
John Phillips is the author of this article and a secret member of the Galactic Empire. When he’s not chasing down jedi across the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, he can be heard hosting talk-shows and anchoring sports updates on 93.7 The Fan. Follow JP on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/937Phillips