I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, and that meant a couple of things; we shared the road with Amish buggies, our little town had at least four churches, we walked to school, and we loved Penn State Football. It was in our DNA – Penn State football and Joe Paterno.
I no longer live in southeastern PA, I live in southern CA, however, I pay extra to my cable company in order to have the Big Ten Network so I can watch my Penn State Nittany Lions every Saturday come September. I am a fan.
In September I was standing in front of Buckingham Palace on my first ever visit to England. I was in awe of the beauty and the history of what I was looking at. I was standing on the Queen Victoria Monument looking down the Mall when I noticed a young woman in a Penn State sweatshirt. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside thinking we were on the other side of the world and still – there are Penn State fans. I went over to this young woman and asked her if she was enrolled in Penn State. She had graduated and we discussed ever so briefly our love of the game and of our Nittany Lions. I told her to enjoy her visit to the UK and as I turned to leave she yelled “WE ARE” and I turned and faced her and yelled back “PENN STATE.” It was surreal. I am a fan.
After the aftermath of this week’s news – I am still a fan of the game, of the Nittany Lions but – my opinion of Joe Paterno has sadly gone through some changes.
I didn’t want to believe – I didn’t want to read – I didn’t want to hear that Joe Pa could have been in any way responsible for any of the heinous things that were being written. His legacy is that of honor and dignity. His record – up to this point – speaks for itself. He has been the voice and the face of Penn State. Not just football, but, he’s been the man who has told his students to go that extra mile, to be a little stronger – to be a moral, upright person. Like I said – it’s all about honor and dignity.
Fan or no fan, I don’t find his actions or should I say his decision not to act honorable at all. I find no dignity in the fact that for the past 15 years he has said nothing about what he was told was happening. He’s not honorable, and there is surely no dignity in his actions.
Everyone on the Penn State Campus who had knowledge of the rapes going on at the campus should be gone. From the President to the Janitor. No exceptions. Deciding to do nothing was a decision on the part of Joe Paterno, and in my opinion – he chose poorly.
No one should be saved because of football National Titles or win/loss records. Those are so very insignificant when it comes to the lives of these young men who finally found the courage to go up against the institution that is Penn State University.
Joe Paterno had a moral obligation to stand up as a man and do the right thing. He chose not to do that for whatever reason. Don’t look at the old man he is now and think – oh, leave him alone. He was 15 years younger when this was all taking place, and he certainly had the power to make things happen, and he chose to do what was legally his obligation and nothing more. Where was his moral code when it came to these little boys? Where was his concern? Did he not think that an adult in a shower with an eight year old boy was just a little strange, and didn't any little warning bells go off in his head? Seriously, why would any grown man not at least question the actions of a coach in the shower with an eight year old boy?
Joe Paterno needs to resign – NOW – Everyone at Penn State University who was involved needs to step down –NOW. The culture surrounding football needs to change – NOW. The culture surrounding rape needs to change – NOW. No one should get a pass when it comes to child abuse – everyone should pay for their crimes – NOW.
WE ARE – PENN STATE.. Make me proud – Do the right thing – NOW.