Joe Paterno’s retirement statement blows me away.
“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care.”
Does that include sitting by while they’re being molested?
“At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.”
So he’s separating himself from the crime and acting like he’s being magnanimous in doing so.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
A ten year old was raped in the shower. What does he know now that he didn’t know then except that he’d be exposed for his negligence?
“My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University.”
So he’s going to show up on the sidelines keeping his commitments? What about the dignity of all those boys who were molested? Clearly, still, all Paterno is doing is thinking about himself and the reputation of the University. This is the kind of twisted thinking that allows sex abuse to go on.
You don’t look the other way when sexual molestation is happening. As long as people in power– respected leaders, “father” figures — continue to do so, whether they are in religious institutions, universities, or governments, kids will continue to be abused at the high rates they are. Who is going to protect them? Not the molester, obviously. Sane adults need to step in, but Joe Paterno acted more like a passive spectator to a crime.
Technically, Paterno did nothing illegal. In 2002, when Paterno’s heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, was seen raping a ten year old boy in a shower, the eyewitness reported the incident to Paterno. Paterno told the Athletic Director and did nothing more when Sandusky was allowed to stay on.
Joe Paterno is Penn State. There is no one in that institution revered more than he. Paterno let Sandusky stick around to molest more kids. Sandusky is being charged with molesting eight boys from 1994 – 2009. There are probably many more.
How could fans show up at a game on Saturday and cheer on Paterno’s team? How could Penn State allow him to stay on through the season? What message does that send to those boys who Paterno failed to protect? And when the season is over, then and only then, the 84 year old is ‘retiring’? Penn State should do the right thing and fire Paterno now.