The death of Joe Paterno gives me pause. Here, we have a man who by all accounts had a tremendous positive influence on the lives of countless individuals both within and without college football.
Yes, he may have had an act of poor judgment when he did not follow through with the sex abuse of a child allegations. But, it does appear that he followed protocol and reported it to the Administration. The Administration should have done the right thing and investigated the allegations with the cooperation of the local authorities. Had this been done we would not be where Penn State finds itself today.
Unfortunately, the media and the public rush to judgment on these matters and in their mind everyone is guilty even before the true evidence is presented. There are scores of sexual abuse accusations made against innocent individuals; those charges where later found to be completely false. But the damage was already done. The reputation of those falsely accused damages them forever. Whatever the case here, it is clear that the media and the public needs to look in the mirror and accept the responsibility for the climate that exists today.
The firing of Joe Paterno by the Board was just another case of bad judgment in a string of errors. The rush to judgment created a firestorm of controversy that the college did not need and will regret. The better alternative was to have Joe retire. Yes, it would be a forced retirement, but it would be the best for all concerned. The Board shot themselves in the foot when they had only one leg to stand on.
Once the trial of Mr. Sandusky is completed and the facts are know, the public may reevaluate how they perceive such things. But, don’t count on it.
I will forever remember the positive aspects Joe made in the lives he touched. I will not condemn him for being human.