Former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno died of lung cancer Jan. 22, and there’s a good chance you already knew that. His 409 victories, overshadow any other coach in NCAA football history. In the football realm, Paterno is a god. Bobby Bowden may rival his amount of respect within the game, but probably not. “JoePa” is on a different level.
That level, though, was taken to sicken- ing new heights in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child rape scandal.The twisted and gut-wrenching details of what allegedly happened within the confines of Penn State football facilities are foul beyond words.
According to Mike McQueary,who testified to witnessing Sandusky molesting a boy in the Penn State locker room showers, he told Paterno of what he saw in 2002. Paterno then told Athletic Director Tim Curley.
And that was the end of it.
Nothing for nine years. If he was alive today, I’d love to ask him how much NyQuil he drank on a daily basis. How else could he sleep soundly?
Pennsylvania state law requires that anyone with knowledge of potential child abuse of any form report it to the police and Children and Youth Services.
JoePa was on a different level, all right. He thought he was above the law. He and the rest of the Penn State administration
effectively told themselves and the rest of the world that winning football games and maintaining a facade of excellence was more important than the safety and well-being of innocent children by main- taining their deafening, haunting silence.
The pain of the victims can’t be under- stated. What was done is irrevocable. Had attention been brought to the situation sooner, things might have been different.
After university officials fired Paterno in November 2011, Penn State students took to the streets to protest the decision. Some flipped a news van on its side to show how much they loved their former head coach/accessory to child rape. Maybe my generation is as stupid as many people seem to think.
Penn State is football.As hollow an identity as that might seem, it’s true. Former players, alumni and current students still revere Paterno as a good, honorable man.
He literally admitted guilt in court: “I should have done more.”
What more can someone need to hear? What can one possibly be confused about? He knew exactly what he didn’t do, and every else–especially the Penn State community–should acknowledge it.