By B. Minich
In the last few years as a Penn State fan, I had one main fear: that somehow, Joe Paterno’s tenure at Penn State University would end in ignomy. Penn State fans like myself had prided themselves on the lack of scandal at the program: seemingly the last football program without one. It seemed too good to last. And as Paterno’s role at Penn State changed from intimate involvement to overseer, I feared that something would escape him, a scandal that he would fail to notice would envelop the program, forever tarnishing the legacy a man who had done many great things for Penn State and college football.
I am saddened to discover that my fears have come true. And this isn’t a “scandal” in the lame NCAA sense, where some kids drove cars around when they shouldn’t have because the NCAA has stupid rules. No, this scandal is the worst thing ever to happen to a college football program. We’ve all been shocked and saddened by the allegations that young boys were molested by a former Penn State coordinator. The crimes are heinous. And the repercussions are only beginning.
Many columnists have written what they think should happen to those who let this abhorrent crime continue on their watch. And I had opinions on it as well. But those are moot now, for Paterno has been fired. The post-Paterno world that all Penn State fans knew was coming is here. In a way that even the most pessimistic believed was impossible.
I’m saddened. Saddened because of what happened to so many young boys. Saddened that more wasn’t done to prevent this. And also saddened that Paterno’s legacy will be remembered this way. Saddened that people will forget what he contributed to education, to civil rights, to the community of State College, PA.
A tweet from the Macworld writer Jason Snell says it well: “It’s a crying shame that this is how Joe Paterno’s career ends. But it had to be done, and he brought it on himself.”
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