The News In Not So Happy Valley Is So Bad, Even the Nittany Lion Can't Bear to Watch...
Time for a disclosure to explain my possible inability to see things objectively... Not growing up in an area with a Division I college football team, my favorite school was Penn State. My dad was born and raised in Luzerne, Pa.... Penn State football is life there, and in my 43 years there has been one coach - Joe Paterno.
Most of the issue has been discussed, so we're posting this more to mark the event historically. That being said, we're confused, upset and sad all at the same time. In short, we're like most Penn State fans. Forget us..... I'm still trying to talk Bobby off a ledge in downtown Charleston.
Coach Paterno has always had a reputation as a tough coach, but to us, he seems like a softie - a nice guy. It makes you feel like he's beig run over because he isn't a dick. Honestly, if the same thing happened to Bobby Knight, would anyone feel bad for him? Doubt it... There are a lot of factors for why Paterno got the axe, despite his reporting the incidents to his superior.
For those of you who are familiar with PSU, you know there are factions within the school that have been trying to dump Paterno for a decade now. A lot of politics are involved in college administration. They tried a few years ago, when Joe Pa seemed to have lost his touch for coaching. Then a funny thing happened..... he started winning again. The chance to fire him was lost.
But, much like dictators or anything, eventually Paterno's tenure HAD to end. Most of us thought it would be when he dropped dead on the sideline. Or at least, he would get to finish out the year as he asked. We think he deserved a victory lap - an opportunity to stand on the sidelines, reflect on his career, and to enjoy and know this is his last game.
Not to be... The Board of Trustees, which includes Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, took that away, but none of them seem to be reticent to get into any details. There are only a few truths: First, that Jerry Sandusky is the one to blame for the sexual assaults. The second truth is that Penn State is going to get their asses sued off. THAT is why Paterno is gone. It's a move to try and stem the criticism away from the college. No one should blame anyone but Sandusky, but lawyers don't look at things that way. Not wrongly, but we've rarely seen someone get canned for inaction (not 100% true, it's relative).
I know, you're saying 'Hey Mike, what about the kids who were molested?' I agree. Paterno is not a victim, compared to the boys Sandusky took advantage of. But, you don't hear me talk too much about starving babies in Africa much either. There's nothing I could add to what happened to them. I AM sorry for all of them. In politics, we often judge winners and losers, but sometimes there are no winners. Penn State, Paterno, Sandusky, the team and those boys all have lost a lot. Once the fallout clears, the school and the team will survive and come back. Many schools have come back from worse. Just go up the road to Marshall and ask them.... But Paterno and the boys both have been scarred forever. We feel bad for both of them.