Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Penn State does the right thing

Penn State -- finally -- has done something right in the child-abuse sex scandal that has rocked the football program. The school fired Joe Paterno, its football coach for the past 46 years, on Wednesday night. This action came only a few hours after Paterno, 84, had announced he would retire -- but at the end of the season.

As I wrote in my column for Wednesday's newspaper, Paterno didn't fulfill his moral obligation when he was told of an eyewitness account of an alleged sexual assault committed by his longtime former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, on a 10-year-old child in the Penn State football facility's showers in 2002. (At the time, Sandusky was retired but still had the run of the Penn State facility -- the eyewitness was a Penn State graduate assistant).

Paterno said in a statement Wednesday that in hindsight he wished he had done more -- he told the school's athletic director about the alleged 2002 incident but not the police. As of early Wednesday, Paterno planned to coach the Nittany Lions against Nebraska Saturday.

Penn State's board of trustees, however, didn't think that was enough and severed ties with Paterno immediately. The school's president, Graham Spanier, also was fired Wednesday night. The athletic director Paterno reported the alleged sexual assault to was already gone.

The fallout will undoubtedly continue, but this was a necessary step. I was in the studio of WFNZ's excellent afternoon radio show with Taylor Zarzour and Marc James Wednesday afternoon, talking for an hour mostly about Paterno. It didn't matter that it wasn't a local topic per se; it seemed to be what every caller wanted to weigh in on.

When the co-hosts asked me point-blank if Paterno should be coaching Saturday against Nebraska -- if retiring at the end of the season was really enough -- I had to think about it for a second. I had just wanted him out; I hadn't thought as much about the timing of it.

Then I said I hoped Paterno wouldn't be coaching Saturday, that when you want to clean house, you might as well get started sooner rather than later.

Penn State's house is badly stained, and it needs to be cleaned up. This was a beginning, but in no way is it the end.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe Linebacker U did the right thing. I thought the tail wagged the dog up there. UNC can learn from this.

Anonymous said...

To me, it seems that not going to the police was just the tip of the iceberg. It is more disturbing, beyond paterno (and others) not going to the police, that Sandusky was actually allowed on Penn St. campus and had continued to be on campus as of last week before his arrest. The University took no precautions with Sandusky, except to say, don't bring any children on campus.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong. Paterno essentially went to the comissioner of the Campus Police, a force with over 200 members a force sanctioned by the state of Pennsylvania that has jurisdiction to prosecute crimes that occur on campus just like a local or state police, when he went to the AD Curley and Gary Schultz....Schultz oversaw the police on campus!!! Why don't people realize this?

Joe F. said...

Congrats Scott, you & everyone else have gotten your pound of flesh. One of the greatest football coaches of all time, who manages to run a squeaky-clean program for almost 50 years while winning multiple championships (with 5 undefeated & untied seasons), has now been fired in disgrace. His legacy will now not be his unprecedented success, but an association with child molestation (BTW, I am a southerner who could care less about Penn State)

The truly sad part is that about the only person who has not yet been punished is the sick degenerate who committed these alleged atrocities. But I guess that is considered "justice" in America these days. Kind of reminds me of Salem, MA about 400 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Joe F

Can you provide a link to an article that says Paterno went to Campus Police? I heard the Campus Police investigated another incident about three years before the 2002 incident, but I've only heard that Paterno went to the AD.

Anonymous said...

Joe F:

It was Paterno's watch - therefore his responsibility. And just how GREAT can he be if he's known about, covered up, and regretted (his own words) this type of situation for so many years? Winning on the football field, obviously, isn't everything. Thankfully, the PSU Trustees seem to understand that tonight.

Anonymous said...


I'm glad you got some readers with your garbage. All of you media members have made me sick with this whole story.

To not know the entire story and jump to so many conclusions is irresponsible for someone who claims to be a journalist.

We've talked at various events in the past, but you have shown us all that you are nothing but a lynch mob follower.

Why is your attention not focused on the person who actually committed a crime? Coach Paterno went to his superiors, like he was supposed to. There are chains of command for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Once Paterno realized the other administrative personnel were not going to do the right thing, he should have done it himself. This crap of saying I reported to the appropriate personnel just doesn't cut it. How would he have felt if that 10 yr old boy was his son or grandson? I bet he would have taken some action!

This perverted activity with Sandusky started 14-15 years ago so don't say Paterno ran a squeaky clean program for 50 years and this is an isolated situation because it ain't so!!!!

TC said...

Well Scott,I hope you and the rest of the vultures are proud of yourself now that you have Joe Pa`s hide for a trophy.....what are you going to do,stuff him and mount him on the wall?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Schultz told the jurors he also knew of a 1998 investigation involving sexually inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with a boy in the showers the football team used.

But despite his job overseeing campus police, he never reported the 2002 allegations to any authorities, "never sought or received a police report on the 1998 incident and never attempted to learn the identity of the child in the shower in 2002,""

Anonymous said...

Link on last comment cut off....

Anonymous said...

thatlawyerdude... went into great detail about Paterno's legal obligations. It's established that Paterno did the minimum required of him legally. Legality and morality often differ. The "honor" part of JoePa's code of conduct took a terrific hit. What a liar! What a two-faced pile of garbage! Thankfully, he will die in disgrace.

TC said...

To anonymous at 12:02 AM.......real classy to hope someone dies.....JERK!!!

Anonymous said...

Schultz headed the university police department when he was in the meeting with Curley. Just like all the media, you wanted blood. Shoot first, ask questions last. Screw letting the facts come out.

Anonymous said...

Fact 1: Something bad happened to kids in the PSU Football facilities.

Fact 2: The police were not contacted.

Fact 3: The buck stops with JoPa at PSU. He's like one of the Catholic Bishops who kept moving the molesters around, rather than calling the cops.

He had to be fired. Those of you angry about JoPa getting fired probably would have acted the same way. You're more worried about some stupid football coach's "legacy" than the kids who were hurt. He had a great career, but who cares about his legacy? I don't.

Anonymous said...

Anybody questioning the fairness of this, think about this. It was your child or you who was being molested. People saw. It but did little or nothing. You cool?

Anonymous said...

I think Anon 6:16am needs a hug...jeez If you're going to trash Fowler at least do it in your name...Joe Pa is that you?

Keith said...

To all of you who are defending Paterno (like I did at first), go to and read the Grand Jury presentment. Then tell me if you can defend a man that allowed himself to be a part of a blatant cover-up. THAT is all of the information, and if I had to guess, it's what Scott was basing his editorial on. It's sickening.

Anonymous said...

"...To not know the entire story and jump to so many conclusions is irresponsible for someone who claims to be a journalist..."

What's not to know A-hole? they all ADMITTED they knew about it but did not go to the PROPER authority-the POLICE, not the rent-a-cop campus police, not the Dean of Student Affairs, not the Chancellor...THE POLICE!!!

Anonymous said...

RE: Moral Obligations


You write about fulfilling “moral obligations” though you certainly haven’t as a Journalist.

First, to accuse Joe Paterno of not fulfilling his “moral obligations” after serving as a coach, mentor and teacher for the better part of a century at a public institution is beyond thought. Do you know any teachers? Do you know any public servants? Do you know anyone who has dedicated their lives to making a difference? Clearly you can not comprehend what they do to hold our society together or you would have written the other side of this story.

Second, to accuse him of not doing enough when he reported what he knew of the incident to the Athletic Director (the head person in charge of the Athletic facilities where the incident was alleged to have occurred) and the Chief of Campus Police (the head person in charge of over 200 campus police). The last time I checked Paterno was the head football coach; not in charge of facilities and not in charge of criminal detective work. He reported the incident to both heads of those respective departments. Was he supposed to do their jobs, too? Or would it be safe to assume they would follow up themselves and come to their own, respectable conclusion?

Third, no one cares what radio show you are on or what other goon is available for comment. We have ESPN and the internet for that. As long as you keep putting out this shoddy, fact-retardant, self-serving garbage that you call “Journalism,” no one will respect you. I sure don’t and I know a lot of other people (including non-Penn Staters) who feel exactly the same way.

Mark Reed

Anonymous said...

A caller on ESPN's Mike and Mike Show best summed up the actions of those in position of authority at Penn State using a quote from one of the soldiers who was on trial in the movie a "Few Good Men".

DOWNEY (this could be Paterno)
What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.

DAWSON (School Board)
Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

Anonymous said...

To anon @ 8:50am....At many major universities, Penn State included, the campus police are sanctioned and protected under state statute to investigate and prosecute crimes that occur in their juridstiction.

Explain to me how JoePa essentially going to the comissioner and telling him what he was told is not going to authorities?

Anonymous said...

Fire the PSU Board Of Directors. Sandusky was a perv sicko and acted alone. Paterno did nothing wrong and had reported him to the administration in the past. Pervs are all the same. JP could have easily replaced him a 100 times over.

Lets the authorities do their investigation before you take the heat off yourselves and over-react. Paterno was resigning anyway at the end of the season since he is the winningest coach ever even before this broke.

911 happened on Bush's watch.

Pearl Harbor happened on FDR's watch.

Paterno was in the dark on Sandusky.

Brian Outlaw said...

Scott Fowler is an idiot! Brian Outlaw...

There I trashed him in my name! any other comments from the gutless wonder on here who post as "anonymous?? Well??

Brian Outlaw said...

Scott Fowler is an idiot!

Brian Outlaw! There, I trashed him under my own name! Any more comments from you gutless wonders on here who post your foolish comments under an "anonymous" name?


Anonymous said...

One statement says it all....If the boy in the shower had been Paterno's son or grandson, Sandusky would have been put in prison long ago. Paterno and all the PSU staff were spineless and morally negligent at the very least. And, to top it off, Sandusky was allowed free access to PSU facilities right up until last week! How can any PSU supporter not recognize this?

Anonymous said...

I believe Paterno should have been allowed to finish the season.

It's not hero-worship. It's not moronic, as the first caller to Garcia's show said of me after Garcia read my email defending Paterno's being able to finish the season insisted it is. It's not about anyone's legacy. It's about letting the innocent current PSU players finish what they have started.

I agree that Paterno was morally obligated to do more than pass the buck on the incident he was informed of in 2002. I agree the coaching staff should be gone, and the school President, VP and athletic director who oversaw the cover-up also deserve to be canned. And assuming these charges are true, Sandusky shouldn't be jailed, he should be killed - very slowly, such as in a gas chamber r some other similarly torturous manner.

But the current players have no connection to these crimes. Why should they be subject to the disruption and turmoil of a coaching change with 3 games left in the season?

I've heard the counter-arguments - Paterno is a figurehead and hasn't actually coached in years (probably true, but he's the head coach nonetheless), that it's OK for the innocent to be punished since that's what happens when teams are put on probation for NCAA violations (an asinine argument, in my opinion, because that is an improper practice as well that needs to be reformed).

Again, I have no connection to Penn State and I'm not a Penn State fan, and I agree that all those that could have done more to stop these crimes deserve to lose their jobs. But I stand by my belief that the current players & staff should be allowed to finish the season and see if they can get the Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth they have earned the chance to win.

Then, after the season, fire everybody.

Anonymous said...

Thats just your little worthless opinion Fowler. You know nothing with your proclamation BS.

You are less than a speck.

Now go hype your felon criminal scam criminal lying cheating QB you immoral piece of hypocrisy trash.

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