|Head Coach of Penn State Joe Paterno fired|
The past few days have been very sad to say the least for the Penn State Football program. Mired in scandal and controversy, the news surrounding this case has sent the entire country reeling and rocking. This scandal stinks on some many different levels we find it hard to grasp and really don't know where to begin. When the news broke about the reports of child molestation by a former defensive coach of the Penn State Football program, we were shocked and mortified by it. And, as the horrific details of the story begin to unfold, it seemed very hard for us to believe and even understand. A 10 yr old boy being sodomized by former defensive coordinator Gerald Sandusky and then Grad Asst ( at the time) Michael Queary walking in on this horrific scene; who after seeing this grotesque display of molestation, called his father and then reported to his boss, now former Penn State Coach- Joe Paterno. How about calling the police? Why not intervene and stop Sandusky from violating this 10yr old in this horrific way. So many questions.
Since the details of this event has come out, countless others have come out as well. And, what is most disturbing is that Joe Paterno; probably the most revered and respected football coach in America, did very little in correcting things, or maybe he believed what he was doing was actually that? No one really knows. But, now this Hall of Fame Coach of this storied program on last night had to begin the walk of shame away from a life that he has known for over 7 decades. Next to Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson, Joe Paterno is the winningest Coach in College Football with 409 wins. Amazing. And, it seemed like he was at a point in his career where he could exit on his on turns. In fact, he was planning to do exactly that, as of early Wednesday, Joe Paterno was going to retire as the Penn State Head Football Coach at season's end. But, amid this current scandal and controversy the Board of Trustees voted on yesterday to fire this head coach immediately as well as the University President Graham Spanier. Two of the universities more powerful men, who used their power and influence to cover a molestation scandal that has rocked us to the core of moral being. What a sad day for Penn State, what a sad day for America.
I echo the sentiments of my friend and journalist for ESPN, Jemelle Hill (@Jemelehill) in her column this morning that "this is a justified end for Joe Paterno" seemingly harsh words for such a well respected sports figure, and yet very appropriate given all that has come out regarding this scandal and the immense cover-up. How could he let this type of activity go on at a university that he basically run as one of the most powerful mean on campus. This is the lingering question that we may never have the answer for. We initially help Joe Pa; as he was affectionately called, in the highest esteemed, and believed that if confronted with this time of situation, would respond as any right thinking adult would and should. Alert the authorities of this matter, notified the University President of what was going on, confronted Sandusky with the allegations and completely removed this pervert from the university and its student population until this investigation was completed or for good, if found guilty. But, what we discovered was that no such thing was done. In fact, Joe Paterno openingly admitted to having not done enough. He said, "this is a tragedy it is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." An open admission of guilt on the part of the man who morally participated as a co-conspirator in the perpetuation of another man's evil deeds. Dr. King said, "our lives began to end the day we become silent on things that matter." And, he went on to say, "there comes a time where silence is betrayal." And, in a real sense Joe Paterno betrayed the trust of those young boys with his silence. By not speaking up and out about what was going on at his school, in his football program, was the ultimate betrayal. And, this is why he was forced to take the walk of shame. This is not how we envisioned Joe Paterno's exit from college football; this is not how anyone believed he would leave the game that he loved. And, yet this seems to be a "justified end" for former head coach Joe Paterno.
Our continued thoughts and prayers are with the families of the effected young boys. And, we pray that the all responsible parties are ultimately brought to justice.
Pastor Michael S. Nimmons