In the sports world, the last 36 hours have been full of news about Penn State. It started Sunday, when the seven foot, 900 lb statue of former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno was removed from outside Beaver Stadium. Word quickly spread, that the NCAA was going to issue corrective and punitive damages in regards to Penn State that would not be the “death penalty” but would be worse than the “death penalty”.
Penn States Sentence:
$60 Million fine
Four year pan on post season play including the Big 10 Championship, Bowl/playoff games
Loss of 20 scholarships per year
Forfeiture of all victories from 1998 – 2011 total of 112 games
The penalties are harsh and truly do punish the past, the present and the future of Penn State Football. Sadly the reaction of the Joe Paterno/Penn State apologists is a disgrace. They simply do not get it.
This cult does not seem to grasp that a former head of the FBI who also was a federal judge, spent seven months investigating this case. This man who was commissioned by Penn State to investigate the handling of Jerry Sandusky’s accusations and determined that Paterno, Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, the board of trustees, janitors, assistant coaches all failed to protect innocent children because they all said and did nothing. Yet these people seemed concerned that Joe Paterno is not receiving due process. These people keep harping about all of the good Paterno did. It is great that he built a library and did do a lot of good with his life. However, he made a decision to protect his football program and allow Jerry Sandusky to continue to attack young children and said nothing until it was too late.
“We really don’t have all the facts”
During CNN and ESPN’s coverage of taking down of Joe Paterno’s statue, a woman by the name of Leslie looked into a video camera and said the sad thing about the statue coming down is that, “We really don’t have all the facts in this case.” A guy by the name of Jeremie felt that the University was caving to pressure and did not make its own decision. I guess for Leslie and Jeremie a 267 page report prepared by the former head of the FBI which included 400 interviews and millions of documents was not thorough. The family of Joe Paterno agrees.
A member of the Penn State Class of ’64 thought he would be creative and sat in front of Beaver Stadium yesterday with a card board cut out of Paterno because we support Joe. This image became popular on facebook quickly. One PSU alumni made the comment that any company has a chain of command and Paterno did what he was supposed to do by reporting the Sandusky accusations to his superiors. Clearly this woman does not have children or nieces, nephews, cousins or morals. First and foremost, Joe Paterno had no superiors. Perhaps in title, the athletic director or the university president were his superiors. You know, the guys, who in 2004 tried to convince Paterno to retire and were promptly thrown out of his house and the coach informing his “superiors” that he will decide when he retires. Joe Paterno was made such an icon that he truly was the most powerful figure at Penn State. His superiors, based on the Freeh report, followed his lead and let treated Sandusky humanely while allowing children to continue to be attacked.
The facts are present. The cult of Joe simply chooses to ignore them and will continue to ignore them because they cannot believe their hero lied and covered up Sandusky’s disgusting crimes.
“It is not fair to the current players”
A lot of people feel the current players at Penn State are unfairly suffering and being punished for doing nothing wrong. I will not argue that the current players are the collateral damage in this case. That is how things are in College Sports. USC is coming off a two year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships because of benefits taken by Reggie Bush in 2004 and 2005. Tell me, where were the masses crying for the USC Trojans of 2011? Nowhere, because that is how programs have to be punished.
The current football players at Penn State did nothing wrong and sadly are going to miss out on the chance to play in bowl games and compete for national championships. While I feel bad for them, they at least have the choice to leave Penn State and go play somewhere else, they have the choice to stay and make the best of it or they have the choice of completing their degree and not playing. The victims of Sandusky had no choice. They had no choice because men like Paterno, Spanier, Schultz and co. allowed Sandusky to use the campus at his will and commit these disgusting acts.
The reaction of many of the Cult of Joe shows exactly why these penalties are not excessive. You cannot sweep this under the rug and claim it needs to be resolved in a court of law. That option was thrown out the window a long time ago because Joe Paterno was turned into an iconic “god” at Penn State. These actions are taken to punish the program and to take control away from power hungry coaches, boosters and the like and remind people that sports are not more important than life.
“No one from the NCAA talked to the Paterno Family”
It must be tough being a surviving member of Joe Paterno’s family. After all, the children of the “czar” lived a charmed life in their patriarch’s world. They were used to getting what they wanted, when they wanted. They were used to being in charge. Now, they are no longer the darlings of the sports world. The NCAA did not talk to the Paterno family because they did not need to. Joe Paterno spoke for himself before a grand jury. Due to his stature as the coach at PSU, there was plenty of documentation that proved he was lying. The Paterno family feels that Joe’s lawyers should have been contacted and allowed to interview key witnesses. They seem to not realize that Joe’s legacy is not entitled to a fair trial or due process. The NCAA did not owe the Paterno family anything. As the Paterno family has pointed out, the coach is dead and cannot defend himself. That does not mean his family has the right to defend his honor to the NCAA or in a court of law. The legacy cannot be punished if found guilty. Paterno had 14 years to defend himself. He had 14 years to confront Sandusky or call the police or do anything to keep him away from Penn State and away from children. Instead, Paterno chose to protect his baby, the Penn State Football Program.
“So I lost every college football game I ever played in?”
Evan Royster, a 6th round, 2011 draft pick of the Washington Redskins and Penn State alum, tweeted the above comment. Royster rushed for nearly 4,000 yards during his Penn State career and averaged 5.7 yards per carry while at PSU. According to the record books, yes Evan, you lost every game you played in.
Now Evan knows, and most of the players who played at Penn State from 1998-2011 know what games they won and what games they lost. While record books will show they lost each and every game, no one can take away the memories these players have. I do feel sorry for them. However, maybe just maybe, by forfeiting all of these games, some former Penn State players will realize that because their beloved head coach did not act with honor or integrity, the very characteristics he preached about, maybe they will realize he is to blame for their losses and not the NCAA or Louis Freeh.
The purpose of stripping Penn State of every victory from 1998-2011 was directed solely to punish Paterno. I believe the coach made the decisions he made to protect his football programs image and reputation. The NCAA has told Paterno that he failed. His programs reputation and image is disgraced because he failed to act. He was stripped of those victories to show that his priorities were wrong. He chose football over children. He chose winning over children. He chose his program and reputation over human decency. That is why he will not go down as all time leader in victories. That is why his players from 1998 – 2011 lost every game they played, because the man referred to as “JoePa” let each and everyone of his players down and more importantly, he let down all of those children who Jerry Sandusky attacked.
Where to Go
Many Penn State apologists have talked about healing and moving forward. It is not likely that will happen any time soon. There will be a sentencing for Jerry Sandusky and a likely appeal. I am not sure what grounds he will appeal on but he has stated he will appeal. Tim Curly and Gary Schultz will stand trial and there is a chance Graham Spanier will be indicted as well. The Paterno Family seems hell bent on “reinvestigating” the Freeh report. The victims will most likely sue Penn State for a large amount of money and who knows if there are more victims of Sandusky out there and how many.
New Penn State Football Coach Bill O’Brien has a tough job to do. He has to lead the Penn state football program through a difficult period over the next five years. It was never going to be an easy job for whoever replaced Joe Paterno. The job is that much harder. Will the fans understand that O’Brien may not win for a long time because of the sanctions and repercussions of this entire tragedy? How long will he last at the helm? He is a smart man and a good football coach who once served on Ralph Friedgen’s staff at Maryland and recently was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. More than likely the skills of O’Brien as a crisis manager might determine his success at Penn State as opposed to coaching ability.
As always, our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims who were abused by Jerry Sandusky. They deserve to find peace and happiness in life and are the real victims, not Joe Paterno.