The Student Stance: Coach lacks morals; punishment earned

The Southerner

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By Josiah Garrett

Joe Paterno’s tenure as head football coach at Penn State ended on a sour note. After the news of the child molestation scandal at Penn State broke, Paterno announced he would be stepping down at the end of the season and said there was no need to fire him since he would leave of his own free will. Because of the horrific atrocities committed at Penn State and Paterno’s inaction involving them, the Board of Trustees decided that his employment shouldn’t last until the end of the season and fired him immediately.
Firing Paterno promptly was the right choice. Now, let’s not sugar-coat this. Paterno knew there was reason to believe children were being raped, molested and assaulted by his longtime friend.
Paterno brought that information to his “boss” (in all honesty, Paterno was the most powerful man on the entire campus, which makes his inaction all the more disturbing). He then did nothing
more and never involved the police.
Paterno continued to be just as inactive in the situation as his “bosses” were. That unforgivable inaction allowed the assaults, rapes and molestations to continue. His inaction led to more innocent lives being damaged. Any person who allows such heinous atrocities to occur severely lacks any moral judgment.
Part of Paterno’s job is to supervise the growth and maturation of the players entrusted to his care. Didn’t he prove himself unfit to fulfill those responsibilities by demonstrating his lack of moral judgment when he didn’t act more aggressively?
It is obvious Paterno should have been fired, but would it have been acceptable to wait until the end of the season? Unfortunately, no. Paterno did not deserve the privilege of being able to retire on his own terms.
Paterno owes everything to the children he could have saved from their own personal hells but didn’t. Even though Paterno had no physical part in the horrific things that happened regarding the molestation of children, his offense was immoral in nature. Paterno needed to be fired in order to appease a sense of public outrage and free the university from nationwide scrutiny.
His decision to do nothing is just as bad as actually having committed the unlawful crime. He tarnished the golden reputation of Penn State and its football program. Regardless of the fact that he had devoted a lot of his life to the Penn State program, his failure to act cannot be excused.
By not making sure the police were alerted of the possible crimes, he was enabling the violation, molestation and rape of children. Paterno was partially responsible.
When all things are said and done, Paterno’s firing is final and deserved.

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