Skip to comments.They Killed Him
Posted on 01/30/2012 5:00:54 AM PST by Kaslin
January 22nd was a sad day in America. A pitiful and depressing episode that confirms how a lawyer-controlled and weak-kneed society, ended with the tragic death of Joe Paterno. As sure as day turns into night, the actions taken last November by the Board of Trustees of Penn State University were responsible for the premature death of this great man.
I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, next door to Paternos domain: Pennsylvania. My father graduated from Ohio State, and I was and still am a born-and-bred Buckeye fan. I clearly remember the emergence of Joe Pa at Penn State, which had not yet joined the Big Ten that wouldnt happen for another 25 years.
In that time we had the great Woody Hayes, but now we were butting heads with this scrawny- looking guy with goofy glasses who was somehow stealing a number of our recruits. Because he wasnt in the Big Ten and, of course, because Michigan was the center of everything evil in the world I developed a mild liking for the guy. If the Buckeyes werent winning the national championship, then Penn State and Joe Pa seemed to be an acceptable alternative. It was certainly better than some others (like USC). Sure enough, it didnt take him too long to produce undefeated seasons reeling off three very quickly in 1968, 1969 and 1973 but he had to wait until 1982 to win his first national championship.
Paterno went on to become a national icon. There have been many great college coaches with stellar, decades-long careers, but Joe Pa was beginning to set records. From the time he turned 70 and then 80! we all participated in the annual rite of speculation about whether he would or should retire.
Whenever I was asked about it, my answer was always the same: the Bear Bryant Syndrome. Joe knew very well that Bryant had passed away a little over a month after his retirement, and in fact had told sportscaster Brent Musburger that Bryants untimely death was one of the reasons he continued coaching. His team, school, and community along with his wife of nearly 50 years had become his life.
The Jerry Sandusky scandal shocked everyone; it always smacks your senses when someone is accused of such despicable acts. I read the transcript of the grand jury testimony with utter horror, and yet the fact that it engulfed the entire Penn State University made this sordid story even more appalling and disgraceful. Still, something seemed to be missing.
Mike McCreary, a young staffer for the football team, had walked into the locker room in the Penn State athletic complex while Sandusky, now a former employee, was sodomizing a young boy in the showers. McCreary claimed that he reported it to Paterno, who promptly informed his superiors, Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice-President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz. When Curley and Schultz testified that they had heard a different story than what McCreary related to the grand jury, the two men were indicted despite no further verification by the grand jury and then summarily fired by the Board of Trustees. Then McCreary changed his story, telling the press something different than he told the grand jury. The Trustees still fired Paterno.
The most iconic person in Penn State history, an employee for over 60 years, was fired via telephone call. He was not given the chance to explain his side of the story. A group of weaklings who were more concerned with protecting their jobs and fending off lawsuits just started canning people. Even someone who has been with the University for one year deserves to have their side heard. Someone with 60 years of exemplary service merits a little extra consideration.
The villain in this story, Jerry Sandusky, was now lost in the shuffle and the focus of the sports world was on Paterno and the Trustees. Every sanctimonious sportscaster started whimpering about how they would have done more and how everyone involved should have done more. They, of course, were only thinking of the children.
When Joe Pa finally broke his silence, it was accompanied by yet a third version of McCrearys story. Apparently, he never really told Paterno what actually happened in the shower. He justifiably couldnt bring himself to tell a 76-year-old legend the ugly details. The fact that an aging Paterno wasnt really able to comprehend the whole matter will not convince some of his lack of blame. Some people will insist that he should have been able to understand such despicable behavior, and they will never accept that some among us come from an era where such repulsive activities were utterly inconceivable. So Coach Paterno reported what he had heard from McCreary, and that was all he knew.
Some say Joe died of a broken heart. I say he died from a knife in the back. Does it shock me that the man is now dead? No there is, after all, the Bear Bryant Syndrome.
There will always be those who maintain that Paterno should have done more. There are those who claim that if they were in the same situation, they would have done more. But the only thing anyone should really say is if they are ever in the shoes of the Trustees, that they would give everyone the decency and fairness of an honest hearing, that they wouldnt jump to conclusions, and that they would never, ever try to cover their own butts by ruining the lives of others.
Paterno made his own choices. The consequences he suffered were as a result of his own actions.
sorry pal, my sympathy is in teh children who were molested under his watch.
Thank you for having the guts to post this.
Save your concern and sympathy for the young boys that were molested.
I'm confused. Didn't he already have terminal cancer?
I missed this. I didn't know that Paterno had even seen a child in the locker room, let alone one who was being abused.
Sorry - I can’t work up so much as a single sniffle. Sports figures get away with almost anything, and this is another case of something being swept under the rug getting discovered. So it came back to bite him. Who cares? He made a fortune as head coach, and he, as part of his duties, should have kept an eye on his employees. Screw him.
National icon my foot. I’m 59 years old and before all this hubbub about him facilitating child molestation, I didn’t know who Joe Paterno was.
The fact that an aging Paterno wasnt really able to comprehend the whole matter will not convince some of his lack of blame. Some people will insist that he should have been able to understand such despicable behavior, and they will never accept that some among us come from an era where such repulsive activities were utterly inconceivable.
The premise is right, that a man of that era simply has no understanding of today's culture of homosexuality and so on. That, however, is an indictment and not a defense of Paterno.
I totally agree with this article. They killed JoePa and they are still in charge??? SHAME on them and the press!
The press have been relentless in their condemnation and pursuit of Paterno. They are something much less than relentless in examining the NAMBLA-like aspects of this case. Sandusky’s crimes have been described as everything from molestation to rape to a ‘sex scandal’ (ugh) but the PC code of the press means that the most glaring aspect of the case has been ignored (at worst) or simply recounted in matter-of-fact terms (at best).
Most Townhhall articles are pretty reasonable, this one isn’t. I don’t see much likelihood that something like that cold have been going on for years and Paterno not have known about it and the school had no options but to get rid of him. For that matter I’d anticipate the football program being shut down for at least the next several years, if nothing else they’re not going to be able to get serious players for a while.
“They they they”
Go home little kid, your mommy’s calling you.
The death of an 85 year old man with terminal cancer was "premature"?
It’s a very confusing and stunning episode - that we’ll now think of Paterno totally differently than we have all assumed we would think of him for the past several decades.
On one extreme are those who think he’s just as guilty as Sandusky - and on the other are those who want to saint him.
I have no doubt that he really could not process what McQueary was telling him. I am sure that whole scene was totally foreign to him. And yet, rumors are that Sandusky’s proclivities were an open secret in State College. (I cannot deny or verify this).
So -The truth is probably something along the lines of the fact that he held onto a job longer than he should have for a number of reasons - and that part of this motivation for keeping quiet was to protect Penn State football - which is a very poor reason.
I feel for the victims of Sandusky, and for the family of Paterno.
The Board of Trustees of Penn State University gave Joe Paterno lung cancer?
Wow! They really ARE all-powerful...
The single most damning moment for Paterno was when he held court a few days after the allegations surfaced and helpfully explained that the Board of Trustees had better things to do than look at the issue.
That was a blatant display of his de facto power, and the board could not let it stand. I don’t think Paterno was evil, and I have come to believe he was more of an addled figurehead than any sort of conniving dictator. But the board did the right thing for the university in the long run. Did they do the right thing for Paterno? Well, that really shouldn’t have been their concern. Everyone thought what was good for Joe was good for PSU and vice versa, but this situation changed all of that.
JoePa’s body was riddled with cancer. His days were numbered. That’s what took his life. Not the public. Not the press. Not the university officials. May he RIP.