Joe Paterno Fired: Why He Shouldn't Be Hated for His Actions
I have not written for Bleacher Report in over two months, and had no serious plans to start again for a while, but the recent case of Joe Paterno and the Jerry Sandusky incident has led me to say something, possibly the only one who will be on this side.
I do not condemn Joe Paterno.
That is not to say that I support his decision to not say anything, but I will not go as far as to say he was a bad person and should have been fired. Some people may want JoePa to get arrested and charged for doing so little, but if one was to charge him for a crime, it would be that he is a human.
You have to look at the situation more from JoePa's ancient eyes than our own. We all know that molesters should be punished harshly, and that no one should get away with it. No sane person would argue other wise. The AD knows it. McQueary knows it. Paterno knows it.
Paterno's reasoning for his actions comes due to more personal and sentimental reasons.
Joe Paterno met Jerry Sandusky in 1963 as a defensive end while he was an assistant on the team, and would become the head coach for Sandusky in his final year of playing. The next year, Sandusky went to work under him as a graduate assistant. A few years later, in 1969, he returned to be the defensive line coach, which turned into linebackers coach, which turned into defensive coordinator in 1977, a position he held for 23 seasons.
He would become one of his most trusted assistants, and no doubt one of this best friends during this time period. He showed unending loyalty to the program, and is most likely the most veteran underling of Joe Pa, with about 35 years to his credit. They were in close contact for 35 years.
There is history there. There is respect there. There is a bond.
So a few years later, in 2002, when the incident came to life, Joe Paterno was not willfully weak, but instead the product of over 35 years of trust in one human being, and an all-too-human desire to believe the best in their friends, no matter what it is that they may have done.
So, he did what he had too and moved on, unwilling to investigate any further, unwilling to find out more about a person he must have trusted deeply. In his mind, he probably thought that this incident was somehow wrong, misrepresented or even a lie, even if he secretly knew that it must be true.
You don't have to like what I say. You don't have to agree with me. You can blow up this comment section, saying that I'm a pig, or a jerk, or an inconsiderate bastard—and I am okay with that.
Just tell me: If you found out a person you had held in high regard for over half of your life—that you trusted and respected, that would be an heir to your life's work...if you found out they were possibly molesting a kid, could you honestly say to yourself, "I will do the right thing"?
Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the voice.
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