When something you passionately believe in is exposed as a fraud, you tend not to want to hear it. Ask the students and Joe Paterno supporters who showed up on his lawn last night to stage an impromptu pep rally for a man who, at best, washed his hands of a report that his long-time friend and assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was seen touching a little boy in his team's showers.
Joe Paterno has announced his retirement due to the ongoing child sex abuse scandal. He wishes to coach the remainder of the season, including whatever Bowl Game his team is invited to.
It is unclear as of yet whether Penn State will allow that. If they do, they should be ashamed of themselves, as they will be responsible for further spreading this vile stain.
Paterno does not deserve to go out on his own terms. He does not deserve to stomp up and down on the sidelines this Saturday at Beaver Stadium during Penn State's utterly meaningless game against Nebraska, basking in the love of his blindly loyal fans.
Paterno does not deserve his players hoisting him upon their shoulders as they march him triumphantly off the field as numerous bulbs flash and cameramen rush around to get the best angle of the hero's departure.
He doesn't deserve it because he's not a hero; he's anything but.
A hero stands up for what is right when the situation is most difficult. There is nothing heroic about the "Grand Experiment" when there was nothing really standing in its way. Confronting his old friend and assistant coach would have been difficult, because Paterno wouldn't want to know the real truth.
He wouldn't want to know that the man, his friend—whose defense was just as big a part of Paterno's success as a coach, who played just as big a part in those oh-so-valued national championships—was a despicable monster.
A hero stands up to bullies, which is what Sandusky no doubt was. Violating, hurting, manipulating, fondling, molesting and raping children who can not stand up for themselves is bullying at its most reprehensible extreme.
Those children needed a hero to stand up for them. Joe Paterno, by his own admission, was not the man to do it.
He must go away now and never be heard from again until he is called to testify against Sandusky during the alleged child molestor's trial. He will inevitably called before a judge in civil court to defend his inaction that allowed a pedophile monster to continue to harm children for at least six more years after Paterno was informed of them by an eyewitness.
There are those Paterno apologists and loyalists who caution that we should not rush to judgement because all of the facts are not out yet.
There is one fact out; the fact that Paterno himself admits under oath. Allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor were brought to his attention in 2002 and he did the absolute minimum required of him by law.
When you think of "heroic" people, you naturally think they are the people that do the absolute minimum, right?
When then-graduate assistant Mike McQueary witnessed Jerry Sandusky's child rape, he brought them to Paterno's attention. That is what McQueary testified to the grand jury.
Paterno claims in his testimony that he was told of some misconduct sexual in nature. Either McQueary decided to keep his employer in the dark about the exact heinous nature of what he witnessed, or Paterno lied to the Grand Jury.
Regardless, we know for a fact Paterno was aware of allegations against Sandusky because he admits it. He told his superiors and then never followed up. Yet he continually saw Sandusky on campus, in the buildings used by Paterno's very own football team.
He obviously knew Sandusky wasn't in jail. He apparently never asked his "superiors" what happened with the allegations he passed along. He knew Sandusky ran the Second Mile Charity for at-risk children since 1977, making it clear that Sandusky was around children constantly. Sandusky even continued to bring children to Penn State practices.
Paterno was told Sandusky was doing inappropriate things with children on Penn State's campus—in his football team's showers.
Not once did Paterno go to any of his superiors and bring this up. If he did, he would've mentioned it in his testimony. He did not. I guess he couldn't stand the thought of this getting out and people looking back on all those victories that meant so much to him, those national championships that he and the University held on to so dearly, thinking, "A child molester helped achieve all of that."
Who knows? But that's the way it seems.
By all means, let's wait for more facts to come out. So far the more facts we hear the more damning they are. For example, the fact that as far back as 1998, Sandusky was investigated for inappropriate contact with an eleven-year-old boy. And the twist, even though a mother of an alleged victim said Sandusky admitted to inappropriate behavior, the DA refused to prosecute...and then the DA literally disappeared from the face of the Earth six years later.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
Now there are allegations of incidents in 1999, just before Sandusky up and retired on short notice—a departure that is now being questioned. Did Paterno know in 1998 and 1999 that his friend and assistant coach was being investigated for being "inappropriate" with small children?
Out of pure speculation, what was going on around that time that would give Paterno and Penn State football cause not to suspend, if not fire, Sandusky, the architect of Penn State's dominating defense? Oh yeah, they were in the hunt for the National Championship.
Oh, I can't wait for these facts to come out.
His defenders say he deserves the benefit of the doubt; he should be allowed to leave on his terms because of all he gave to the college. This is alleged child rape we're talking about.
ESPN reported there is excitement on campus as this Saturday is going to be a big event basically honoring Paterno. Ticket brokers are making a killing on tickets for the game.
Again, there's profit to be had. Who gives a damn if it's the result of children being harmed?
The pep rally on Paterno's lawn was inappropriate, given what we know, and was highly offensive considering Paterno's admitted inaction led to more children being abused and molested between 2002 and 2008. I'm sure those victims and their parents loved seeing those kids chanting "Joe-Pa-Tern-o!" and "We Are...Penn State" as if that's even something to be proud of right now.
Yay! The guy who may have prevented children from being abused! If only he took moral action and went to the police in 2002 but didn't! Yay!
Paterno got to bask in the glory of those misguided students; he had better have enjoyed it because soon he'll undoubtedly be basking in the glare of cameras and flash bulbs as he spends the rest of his life in civil court along with all of the others in Penn State's chain of command who failed to act.
1999 ended for Penn State and Jerry Sandusky with the players picking the defensive coordinator up, hoisting him on to their shoulders and carrying him off the field. That's right; they carried the alleged child molester off the field like a hero.
Penn State should not let them have the opportunity to carry the enabler of an alleged child rapist off the field in the same manner.