By: AJ Meyer
After 23 years at the reigns of the Penn State football program, 84 year old Joe Paterno was fired last Wednesday evening. The reason for these sudden events is the allegations that came against the former defensive coordinator Larry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually abusing eight children over a span of 15 years.
Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant at the time, had reportedly seen the actions of Larry Sandusky sexually abusing one of the victim’s. He went on and told his boss Paterno, so in turn Paterno went and told his bosses, the athletic director and the president of the university.
“I was shocked!” said junior Wittenberg student Oge Anoliefo. “I am used to seeing players getting paid and receiving illegal benefits but this goes beyond that and takes it into more serious legal matters. I also felt really bad for the kids and Joe Paterno for what got put on him.”
The reason why everyone has started to look down on Joe Paterno is the fact that he did not follow up with his bosses to make sure that they did their job. Paterno repeatedly said on television and in papers this week that he wished he had done more, but he did what he thought was necessary at the time, and his celebrity status is what caused people to view him as not doing anything or enough.
After leading the Nittany Lions to an 8-1 record and sitting comfortably atop the Big 10 conference, Penn State had the week of distractions to prepare for Nebraska and the back stretch of the toughest part of their schedule which included teams such as The Ohio State University and University of Wisconsin. This leaves the question: Should Joe Paterno have been a loud to finish out the season and then retired as he planned to do after the allegations came out?
I asked freshman Kyle Jessup this question and he commented, “I could see it either way, because Joe Paterno did go through protocol and tell who he needed to tell yet nothing resulted from his actions,” said freshman Kyle Jessup. “Yet he still did not pursue justice for those little kids who had been abused by Larry Sandusky.”
Coach Paterno was supposed to hold his usual press conference last Tuesday but it was canceled by the University earlier in the day. If he were to hold this press conference he would have announced his retirement at the end of the year, and maybe save face a bit by explaining his side of the story.
After working for Penn State for 41 years, 23 years as the head coach, Joe Paterno was fired via telephone, a means of communication that some believe was the wrong way to go about the situation.
“No, I don’t agree with their decision to give a man of his stature a telephone call to relieve him of his duties,” said senior Touby Bender on the way in which the board of trustees terminated the head coach. “I think they could have showed him a little more respect and the entire situation could have had a little more professionalism and class in their decision to dismiss him.”
With the breaking news this week coming out of State College, Pennsylvania, Joe Paterno has decided to hire a criminal defense attorney in slim chance that criminal charges are brought against him. The Big 10 followed this up with devastating news of not naming the inaugural Legends & Leaders championship trophy after him.
The students looked up to Joe Pa not only as a football coach but as a father figure on campus and they came united over this troubling experience to help move on, and bring Penn State back to the integrity first program that it once was.
(AJ Meyer / email@example.com)