Why “Joe Pa” Deserved the Axe

Listening and reading about the molestation scandal at Penn State, I have been outraged at the worry over the “legacy” of Joe Paterno.  Sure, he is considered a legend, but he lost his place when he decided to look the other way at child abuse.  This wasn’t just a whisper campaign against Jerry Sandusky, but another trusted employee saying he saw Sandusky in a sex act with a child.  Paterno chose to not fire Sandusky, but merely pass the information up the administrative chain.  How could he turn a blind eye to a child molester?

I tried to answer this question for myself.  First, I thought about his age, but he was still in control of his mental faculties, so he did know right from wrong.  Then I thought about the differing social mores of the era in which Paterno would have developed his “moral consciousness.”  Even as late as the 1980s, spousal and child abuse were considered a “family matter.”  Still, attitudes have changed and I think you would have to have been dead to not notice the new emphasis on child and spousal abuse as personal and societal crimes.

So, I cannot give him a pass.  Not for being old or old-fashioned.  Basically, children were sacrificed to keep a coach in place.  Shame on the administration that kept these coaches on since an investigation has been going on since 2009.

On to receivers coach McQueary, another huge failure in moral character.  He says he witnessed Sandusky  having a sexual encounter with a ten-year old boy.  He was there!  He chose to do nothing, not confront the situation, not call the police and especially, not to jeopardize his job.  It has been reported in the media that he has received “threats.”  I completely understand why.  When we sit back and watch abuse happen, we are just as guilty as the perpetrator.  So McQueary can out on the side of money.

I hope there is a continued fall-out at the school.  It should not just be relegated to the sports page.  This is not a story about sports, but about human degradation and greed.