UPDATE I: Joe Paterno has finally been fired by PSU:
In a massive shakeup, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier were fired Wednesday night by the board of trustees amid the growing furor over how the school handled child sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach. The longtime coach, the winningest in major college football, was ousted at the end of day that began with his announcement to retire at end of the season, his 46th. It was not to be. "The university is much larger than its athletic teams," board vice chair John Surma said during a packed press conference.
I've been following this horrifying story for some time now, but was so sickened by it that I couldn't put any words down about it until now. Penn State University, the community and the country has been rocked to their core as more facts come out about the Jerry Sandusky child rape case. Here is a timeline of events if you're not familiar with the case yet. Heads are rolling and although university officials are doing their best to shield Joe Paterno, he's certainly next. After Penn State canceled his press conference, it was pretty clear he won't be coaching their next game against Nebraska. In fact, as this post was being written, Paterno announced that he was retiring, a sad final note to his legendary career. However, it gives the Penn State officials an easy out, instead of firing Paterno, Sandusky and all the other program officials who did nothing once they found out that children were being raped.
Paterno has been at PSU for over fifty years and the common wisdom claims he built a culture there of impeccable character. Now, his legacy will remind everyone of Cardinal Bernard Law, the archbishop of Boston who resigned over covering up unconscionable child sex abuse cases instead of the masterful coach that he was. Today, Joe offered nothing but hollow condolences to the victims of Sandusky.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief," Paterno said in a statement released just after initial reports of his pending retirement.
I'm sure the kids who were abused and raped by his friend and heir apparent are the ones who are really devastated and all of Joe's prayers will not comfort them. The time was years ago to give them justice and to stop any more innocent children from having their lives ripped apart by a vicious predator he knew all too well. How could anyone turn a blind eye to Sandusky's behavior?
I've watched Kim Jones covering the Yankees on YES for many years. She is an alumni of the college and started her career covering the Nittany Lions. She joined Mike Francesca on WFAN three days ago to discuss the recent revelations and she was obviously full of rage and venom at what had transpired and gave a passionate take on the situation.
From what I've seen so far, most of the alumni who are now in TV, coaching or commentating want to tear the state program down to the ground, they are so horrified at what transpired there.
There was no excuse for letting Sandusky roam free for all these years, raping and abusing kids up until very recently. My God. And Joe says he wished he'd done more? Please, go away. NOW.
Lawyers, Guns and Money writes this about Penn State's former starting back Mike McQueary's role in all of this. McQueary had reportedly walked in on Sandusky molesting a ten year-old boy in the locker room:
As miserable as these attempts to minimize Paterno’s disgraceful conduct are, what can one say about McQueary’s? In 2002, McQueary was a powerful young athlete, just a couple of years removed from NFL training camps. It’s possible, I suppose, to make some sort of excuse, based on the effects of shock and disgust, for his behavior in that locker room, where instead of coming to the aid of a ten-year-old boy being raped by a 58-year-old man, he fled and called his father.
The point of lingering over McQueary’s decision to value his potential for career advancement over stopping a serial child rapist from continuing to find and parade his victims in front of McQueary’s face isn’t that McQueary (along with the rest of the actors in this saga) is some sort of inexplicable moral monster. It would be nice to think so, but consider that his despicable behavior merely mirrors that of his head coach, his athletic director, and his university’s president, who all made, and continued for years to make, essentially the same decision to value their careers over stopping little boys from being raped by a man they had worked with for years, and who they allowed to continue to walk among them every day. The point of calling out McQueary’s physical and especially moral cowardice is to remind us how we are all capable of sinking so low, if we do not remind ourselves constantly, in whatever way is most useful for each of us, of the truth of Samuel Johnson’s remark that, “courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.”
It's easy to come up with excuses and rationalizations after the fact. But when it comes to young children not only dealing with the sexual abuse but the authorities of the school ignoring such horrific events, the actions by all parties involved is just unconscionable.
After hearing news of the firing, Paterno released a statement, saying: "I am disappointed with the Board of Trustees' decision, but I have to accept it. A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed. I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm and please respect the university, its property and all that we value."
A source close to former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno tells CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian that the Paterno family is shocked and outraged over the university's handling of the firing....read on
The family is upset at the way the university handled it, but they should be upset at the man that withheld valuable information about a pedophile.
Video below the fold of the press conference announcing Paterno's termination. I'm surprised it took them this long.
Speaking outside his home after the press conference, Paterno said: "Right now, I'm not the football coach. And I've got to get used to that. After 61 years, I've got to get used to it. I appreciate it. Let me think it through."
After meeting Tuesday, the board said it would appoint a committee to investigate the "circumstances" that resulted in the indictment of Sandusky, and of Curley and Schultz.
Sandusky founded The Second Mile charity in 1977, working with at-risk youths. It now raises and spends several million dollars each year for its programs. Paterno is listed on The Second Mile's website as a member of its honorary board of directors, a group that includes business executives, golfing great Arnold Palmer and several NFL Hall of Famers and coaches, including retired Pittsburgh Steelers stars Jack Ham and Franco Harris.