Unhappy Valley

8 11 2011

Many of us believe Joe Paterno should resign.  I believe, without question, Joe Paterno should not be permitted to resign.  He should be fired, along with every adult in the Penn State program who knew about the horrific behavior of a predator within their midst and failed, for years, to stop him. There are no words to explain the magnitude of the failure of conscience exhibited by people who were part of an athletic department led by a man who many held up as a god.

And what about Penn State after a purging of the culpable and complicit?  Shall we just burn the place to the ground?  Absolutely not.

There is no question that Joe Paterno’s fans are legion, no question that a large part of the image of Penn State has been JoePa; however, no matter how much Paterno would have us believe he is Penn State, he is not.  The university owes its students and alumni – and the residents of the town the school dominates – to take immediate and meaningful action to minimize collateral damage.

There is nothing now that can be done to protect Sandusky’s victims, but there are others at stake. Penn State is a university of bright and beautiful children, most of whom will never set foot onto the gridiron. Penn State’s football program is more than its coaching staff and administrators; it is a hard-working and fine group of decent young men who deserve the same support and respect today as they did yesterday.  Just as there should be a radical surgery to remove the cancer that is the coaching staff and administration at PSU, there should be the same determined effort to protect the body of the university, as a whole.

Talking heads are all calling for “an adult” to step up to change the “spin” that is surely showing Penn State’s feet of clay.  They are wrong.  It will take a new and courageous and ethical administration to make sure the university moves forward properly, but it is up to the students and their families and the alumni to honor the Penn State traditions of scholarship, sportsmanship, and service.

Nittany Lions, hold your heads up. Show the world your moral strength.  JoePa was a myth.  You are Penn State.



7 responses

9 11 2011
Millie Krauss

Well said. I agree with you on every point.

9 11 2011
Katie Margolis

This is one of the best opinion pieces I’ve read on this topic. Can you please post it on facebook so I can share with others?

9 11 2011
Donna Damgaard

I agree! Thank you for voicing this perspective. Please post on FB!

9 11 2011

Spot on and well written! That is why I think you are the ABSOLUTE BEST!

9 11 2011
ted walker

Paula, I don’t think that Joe should be fired immediately. He did do the right (legal) thing in reporting the incident to Curley. It seems to be an ethical question as to did he do enough, knowing what he knew (we surely don’t know what he knew at that time) to pursue this and see that it was appropriately handled. It’s possible that Curley and others were the ones who swept it under the rug and mislead or lied to Joe that it was being handled. We simply don’t know.
Believe me, I am having a very difficult time processing all this and trying to make sense of it. I have serious questions about Joe’s actions and why this whole thing ‘stinks’. Couldn’t the most powerful man at PSU have done more after such serious, horrific stories were relayed to him? I tend to think yes and am disappointed in the lack of any apparent follow-up (by Joe).
For a man that has given so much to PSU I am giving him some benefit of the doubt until I hear more. I’m not so blind to think that he couldn’t/shouldn’t ever be fired. He may deserve it in the end. I just don’t want folks to have such ‘knee-jerk’ reactions.

9 11 2011

Ted, I appreciate your point about knee-jerk reaction. It’s my nature to defend the little guy, though – and to question authority, especially the kind of power that accompanies the level of hero worship heaped on Joe Paterno – so it is hard for me to allow for plausible reason not to be uncompromisingly disappointed in his behavior. The outcome I am hoping for is to heal the innocent injured parties in all this mess – the abuse victims and the students of Penn State. Joe’s fate is pretty immaterial, except to the extent it is one that helps the kids.

10 11 2011
Katie Margolis

The point is this: everyone who knew what this man was doing had a LEGAL OBLIGATION to report him to the police…not just the campus authorities.

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