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Penn State University had no other option than to dismiss the legendary Joe Paterno from his position of head football coach for the Nittany Lions.
I do not want to demonize Paterno because by all accounts, before this fiasco at least, he was an incredibly generous and genuine man that cared about the university, his players and his coaches.
And it’s a shame how vehemently some sports writers attacked Paterno for this because Jerry Sandusky is alledgedly the real culprit here. There is no doubt about that. Sandusky is the villain in this case as he alledgedly terrorized, abused and raped at least eight young boys causing irreparable harm on their lives forever.
So Paterno should not be used as the scapegoat for this entire scandal because he was not the major villain in the exploitation of the young boys who had their innocence stripped from them. But, he still needed to be held responsible for the part he did play.
Paterno was given information, however vague it was, that one of his coaches that he worked with on a daily basis, was having a possibly inappropriate relationship with a child. It is not a matter of semantics in this situation.It does not matter whether Paterno was told the kids were “fooling around” or if he was told directly that Sandusky was raping the boy.
The fact was, an assistant coach was seen in the shower with a young boy. The situation demanded more than a mere mention of it to his superior. Yes, legally, that is all that Paterno had to do. But it should not be overlooked that Paterno was, without a doubt, the most powerful person on the Penn State campus.
Yes, the president of the university was technically Paterno’s boss, but if Paterno wanted an investigation or if he wanted to take any action towards finding out if the allegations were true, it would have been done immediately, with or without the blessing from the president.
Instead of taking action, Paterno turned a blind-eye. He was in a spot where he could have saved other boys from experiencing the same trauma at the hands of Sandusky, but he failed. He failed them and that is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
He had every possible option open to him because of who he was. He would not have been questioned for opening an investigation after what he had heard. Paterno was in a position where he could have helped. In fact, the situation absolutely demanded more from Paterno. He did next to nothing.
So Penn State had no choice but to do the only thing they could do, they had to fire Paterno after 46 extraordinary years as the university’s head coach. It will not, by any means, make up for what happened to these now men earlier in their lives.Their lives will always be marred by what happened to them at the hands of a Penn State University coach.
And that is the hardest part of this story. The fact that these victims are being forgotten as the entire nation is focusing on Paterno’s firing. These eight men, whose lives have forever been changed, have been overlooked just as they were overlooked by the entire Penn State staff.
The victims and what happened to them is bigger than football, bigger than Penn State and certainly bigger than Joe Paterno. So do not demonize Paterno, but also do not celebrate him in the face of these victims.
Here’s looking at you Penn State students.

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