After a four month span in which he was fired amid a shocking child abuse cover-up and diagnosed with lung cancer, Joe Paterno, winningest college football coach, has died at age 85.
Paterno started his collegiate football career as a quarterback for Brown in 1946-1949, and upon graduation, joined his Brown coach Rip Engle as an assistant coach at Penn State in 1950. When Brown retired in 1965, Paterno was named his successor, where he went on to bome the winningest coach in college football with a final record of 409–136–3, passing Amos Alanzo Stagg for most wins in 2009, his 44th season at Penn State. After Paterno was fired last year, it was the first time that either Stagg or Paterno wasn't on the sidelines of a college football game (as player or coach) since 1884.
It doesn't seem like a stretch to say that getting fired from Penn State killed him.
My understanding is that a graduate student told him that he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the shower, and that Paterno went to the college president with the information.
What I am expressing is a brutally honest doubt of my own moral resolve in such a situation.
“On March 1, 2002, a Penn State graduate assistant who was then 28 years old entered the locker room at the Lasch Football Building on the University Park Campus. As the graduate assistant entered the locker room doors, he was surprised to find the lights and showers on. He then heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. He saw a naked boy, Victim 2, whose age he estimated to be ten years old, with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant was shocked but noticed that both Victim 2 and Sandusky saw him. The graduate assistant left immediately, distraught. … The graduate assistant went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had seen. His father told the graduate assistant to leave the building and come to his home.” - Grand jury report
“All I can think about is what that boy must have thought when he saw (then-graduate assistant, now-receivers coach Mike) McQueary. He must have thought ‘Salvation is here, a rescuer is here.’ And instead, the rape and the violation continued. That moment must be as damaging as the abuse itself. How do you look into the eyes of somebody who is suffering like that and walk away?”
- New York filmmaker Chris Gavagan, who is working on a documentary about sexual abuse in sports and the abuse he suffered at the hands of his roller hockey coach.
* * *
“The graduate assistant and his father decided that the graduate assistant had to promptly report what they had seen to Coach Joe Paterno, head football coach of Penn State. The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned Paterno and went to Paterno’s home, where he reported what he had seen. Joseph V. Paterno testified to receiving the graduate assistant’s report at his home on a Saturday morning. Paterno testified that the graduate assistant was very upset. Paterno called Tim Curley, Penn State Athletic Director and Paterno’s immediate superior, to his home the very next day, a Sunday, and reported to him that the graduate assistant had seen Jerry Sandusky in the Lasch Building showers fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.” - Grand jury report
“People who are crying for Joe Paterno are saying ‘He did the right thing, he passed it along to his boss, it wasn’t described as a rape, it was described as something of a sexual nature.’ Well, isn’t that enough to go to the police? A guy you employ is doing something of a sexual nature with a 10-year-old boy in a shower on campus and you don’t go to the police? He was the most powerful man on that campus. The bottom line was Paterno was protecting one thing: Penn State and his legacy. That’s all he cared about. He didn’t care about the victims. The most insulting thing wasn’t the rioting. The most insulting thing for me was watching Joe Paterno after he was fired saying, ‘Let’s pray for the victims.’ Well, there wouldn’t so many victims if he had done something.”
- Anonymous, New York man who told the Massachusetts grand jury that indicted Oliva that the basketball coach had abused him, too.
I'm guessing the only reason Paterno lasted through the night, is that Satan himself didn't think Hell was quite hot enough for him yet, and wanted to turn up the burners for a few hours.
When we reach for the gallows lever, we should take a moment to ask ourselves, in our heart of hearts, if we really would do the right thing and protect the innocent when the time comes. And then, after we shudder with the horrifying realization that yes, we make these compromises every day in the name of money, power, and keeping up appearances, we pull the lever and walk away.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
he was a record-setting big-time football coach who still had a salary way under 100K/year (maybe even under 50K/yr)
Those who might suggest in the most strident terms that it is unfair to put so much emphasis on Joe Paterno’s connection to the Sandusky abomination when that was actually a tiny speck in a long and storied career probably acknowledge that it has to be done. He happened to be at the wheel when the program ran into a ditch. Even he admitted later to the Washington Post that “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it” and “I backed away” and turned it all over to others.
But the problem was that nobody was more powerful in State College, Pa., than Joe Paterno .... So when it came time for the most powerful man on campus to exercise that influence, he inexplicably delegated. It was no time for a hand-off, and as a result a proud career ended in controversy and exile.
.... Paterno suffered from the disease of imperiousness.
..... He was brusque, impatient and difficult. He was insulated and suspicious, as most people with great power eventually become.
In the end, when ugliness enshrouded Penn State, all of that worked against him. He was the wrong personality at the wrong moment. The entire horrible mess sideswiped him, left him dizzy and confused, then came back and hit him head on.
"He maintained a high standard in a very difficult profession. Joe preached toughness, hard work and clean competition. Most importantly, he had the courage to practice what he preached."
Penn State concluded its weeklong goodbye to the former football coach Joe Paterno with a memorial Thursday at a packed arena that featured remembrances from a player from each of the six decades in which he coached, videos of him with the team and an emotional closing eulogy from his son Jay… The speakers mostly avoided the child sexual-abuse scandal that led to Paterno’s firing Nov. 9.
The exception was the speech given by Phil Knight, the chairman of Nike, who was a close friend of Paterno’s. In the memorial’s most riveting moment, Knight lambasted Penn State’s board of trustees for firing Paterno…
“It turns out he gave full disclosure to his superiors, information that went up the chain to the head of the campus police and the president of the school,” Knight said. “The matter was in the hands of a world-class university and a president with an outstanding national reputation. Whatever the details of the investigation are, this much is clear to me: if there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation, not in Joe Paterno.”
Knight’s comments drew an explosion from the crowd of about 12,000, followed by a sustained standing ovation, with Paterno’s widow, Sue, and his family members rising to their feet.
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