I want to preface this by saying that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and there should never be a rush to judgment. However, in the situation at Penn State, it seems pretty clear that Joe Paterno knew or should have known what was going on and he, himself should have used all the power available to him…and that’s a considerable amount of power for the head football coach at a Division 1 school. Those guys are frequently the most highly paid state employee. They are the people that are supposed to be role models and somehow channel all the violence and aggression that exists in their young players into teamwork and character building. Paterno had been head coach for several years before I was even born. He’s a legend and was a hero to his community.
But he didn’t do everything in his power. He should have called the police. Instead, he notified the athletic director and went on like nothing untoward had happened. He had a greater responsibilty and he failed. He deserved to be fired, he apparently fears prosecution if the headline about him hiring a criminal defense attorney is to be believed.
This is not a case of horsing around or boys being boys. This is a story about multiple cases of child rape. It’s more important than football. And yet, Paterno has significant numbers students rallying to his defense and rioting in anger because he was not allowed to end his career on his terms.
What is wrong with people? Let’s get some perspective here. There should not be a game this Saturday. It should be cancelled. A big college game is a community gathering, a weekly celebration, complete with bands playing and flags flying as each side celebrates their school, their community.
Penn State has nothing to celebrate. They should cancel the game, and barring that people of good conscience should stay away. Silence the bands. Lower the flags. Put the pom poms away and leave the stadium as silent as the school’s response to the atrocities that occured in her locker rooms.