Joe Paterno was fired yesterday evening after 46 seasons at the helm of the program and with the most wins in the history of NCAA Division I football.
Following the announcement by the board of trustee’s around 10 p.m. EST yesterday evening, students were shown rioting and causing destruction, including the tipping of a news truck and the attacking of a reporter.
All of this could have been avoided, however.
Paterno needed to go and that was inevitable and the correct decision, but the rush of the decision and the manner in which it was carried out was not fair to the coach or the students.
After firing Paterno over the phone, the board of trustees announced his termination, which sparked the uproar.
If the administration would have thought this out, it could have made this a much more peaceful process by asking Paterno to step down. After all, earlier in the day Paterno announced his retirement at the end of the season.
Having Paterno step down instead of firing him on the national stage would not have only saved embarrassment for the coach who has done so much for the university, but would have also allowed the university to come off looking clean.
The firing of Paterno was a necessary evil in what was a brutal case that destroyed many lives.
It’s too bad that such a great man—and coach—had one lapse of judgment and will forever be remembered for it.
If anything good comes out of this case, it has really brought the subject of molestation to the forefront of the sports community and will surely bring about more prosecutions at all levels, because let’s face it:
If it can happen at a squeaky clean program like Penn State, it can happen anywhere.