Penn State Scandal: Joe Paterno Doesn't Need Your Stupid Excuses

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterNovember 10, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno leaves the team's football building on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Joe Paterno is a big boy; he doesn't need your excuses, especially your stupid ones.

Since news began to leak out that Joe Paterno was part of a larger cover-up in the Penn State scandal, fans and outside observers have rushed to the icon's defense.


According to the grand jury testimony, Paterno knew something, and it is false to assume otherwise. The simple fact is that young boys were raped by a sexual predator and Paterno helped sweep it under-the-rug.

Now, Paterno is being defended with a bunch of really stupid excuses. He doesn't need them, and neither does the national discourse.

But...But...Joe Paterno isn't the real bad guy here!

The worst excuse that is made for Paterno (at least in terms of logic) is that Paterno isn't the biggest bad guy, so we shouldn't focus on him.

Consider it is your child or younger sibling or even you who was abused. Who would you want fired more, the guy who did it, the guy who saw it or the guy who heard about it?

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The answer, of course, is all of the above.

If even the tiniest sliver of the allegations are true, Jerry Sandusky deserves nothing but the harshest penalty Pennsylvania can offer. No one is disputing that. The sins of Sandusky have been discussed and passed around for stomachs to churn about.

McQueary is guilty and should go, that doesn't mean Paterno should stay.
McQueary is guilty and should go, that doesn't mean Paterno should stay.Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Likewise, Mike McQueary—who allegedly witnessed a young boy being raped by Sandusky—deserves our ire. I'm sure it was hard for the former Penn State QB to do the right thing. His future in coaching was at stake! That doesn't excuse McQueary.

When McQueary notified Paterno, Paterno told his superiors, who did nothing. A school president and an athletic director are also without jobs because of their part in the cover-up. Paterno told them and they did nothing!

Yet, to assume the heinous actions and inaction of those men somehow excuse Paterno is nonsense.

Each man gets to face the music for his own part in this horror story.

The media forced JoePa out with the help of trustees who always hated him!


It is no surprise and no secret that the university once tried to force Paterno into retirement. Penn State went through an awful dry spell on the football field, and he was seen as old and ineffective.

Paterno stayed and turned the program back to its winning ways.

To think that the trustees still have some grudge against Paterno is both asinine and completely devoid of any logic. Paterno has done a great deal for the university (more on that later!) and is fielding a football team that has been wildly successful in 2011.

There is no way that the trustees would use this as a convenient excuse to get rid of Paterno when the Nittany Lions could be heading to a Rose Bowl in a few months.

The media doesn't have any grudge against Paterno either. Well, it's probably more astute to say they didn't, because now they might and rightly so.

Paterno deserves the media and the public's ire in this matter. He was complicit. Sandusky was still hanging around campus—Paterno's campus. Sandusky was allowed to house foundation events in Paterno's locker room.

Paterno deserved to go, and the media and trustees aren't at fault. He is. The students have no one to blame for Paterno's exit other than a man that didn't do the right thing when it was needed the most.

Paterno is too great of a man to leave like this! You just don't understand all he's done!

Joe Paterno is a great football coach.

His contributions to charity and athlete education are second-to-none in the coaching brotherhood. No one is more well respected among his peers, and no one has done more for Penn State as a university and as a football program.

All of that is very true. Yet, none of it matters.

Over 20 young men, so far, have alleged that Sandusky assaulted them. Paterno could have stopped it or (at least) could have brought justice about sooner.

None of Paterno's great acts will fix that for these young men.

This scandal does not diminish the other great things that Paterno has done. However, it does diminish how the outside world will view Paterno as a whole.

Paterno was not fired because everyone forgot how great of a football coach and humanitarian he is. Paterno was fired because he helped cover up a pedophilia scandal, and that is inexcusable.

Where was this protest for the rape victims?
Where was this protest for the rape victims?Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What more do you want?

Late last night, as students protested Paterno's release, a young man defended Paterno to an ESPN reporter. "[Paterno] said he could have done more; what more do you want?"

Simple. For him to have actually done more.

Paterno didn't do more, and that is why he is facing the consequences now.

Over the next weeks and months, Paterno will have the backing of a legal team to fight any criminal and (more likely) civil liability he might face. Paterno will have public relations experts to craft statements on his behalf.

He doesn't need your stupid excuses.

Michael Schottey is an NFL Associate Editor at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.