Monday, November 7, 2011

Should Joe Paterno be fired

Joe Paterno has the most wins in Division I NCAA football.
Joe Paterno holds the record for most wins.

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has won more games than any coach in college football history. But now he faces a fight to keep his job because of something he could have done, but didn't.

The story involves one of the worst crimes imaginable -- child sexual abuse. Paterno is not accused, but one of his former assistant coaches has been indicted for the crime of molesting eight young boys.

The question for Paterno is whether he could have prevented more children from being harmed by acting differently when he first learned of the allegations. And the question for us is whether Paterno had an ethical duty to do so.

The man accused is former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was long considered to be the the heir to Paterno's job. But Paterno continued to coach. He's now 84. Sandusky retired in 1999.

However, Sandusky remained close to Penn State, hosting summer football camps and working with a charity he founded called The Second Mile. A grand jury now accuses Sandusky of sexually assaulting eight boys between the years 1994 and 2009. The indictment alleges that about 20 of the incidents took place while Sandusky was employed at Penn State.

The charges say Sandusky would give boys sporting gear, sports clothing and trips to sporting events, including a Penn State bowl game. The grand jury says Sandusky then coerced the boys into involuntary sexual relations. The key incident occurred in 2002, after Sandusky had retired. According to the indictment, a graduate assistant walked into a Penn State team locker shower room and saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a boy about 10 years old

Sandusky being arrested.
The assistant reported it to Coach Paterno, who immediately informed his boss, the athletic director. The athletic director barred Sandusky from bringing children to the the campus. But the athletic director never informed police, and now he has been indicted himself for covering up the abuse. No one ever tried to discover the identity of that 10-year-old victim or stop such crimes from happening again.

Police did not become aware of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky until 2009, when another boy's mother made allegations to the high school her son attended. That school not only banned Sandusky, it triggered a state investigation.

"The failure of top university officials to act on reports of Sandusky's alleged sexual misconduct, even after it was reported to them in graphic detail by an eyewitness, allowed a predator to walk free for years -- continuing to target new victims," Attorney General Linda Kelly said in the report. "Equally disturbing is the lack of action and apparent lack of concern among those same officials, and others who received information about this case, who either avoided asking difficult questions or chose to look the other way."

The question for you is what what was Coach Paterno's ethical duty in this case. He broke no law. He did what the law requires, and reported it to his supervisor. After all, Paterno's job is to be a coach, not a police officer. And even now, no one has yet been convicted of a crime.
However, some people think Penn State needs to immediately clean house because of this scandal, firing everyone including Paterno.
Others say the scandal was allowed to grow like a mushroom in the dark because Paterno wrapped his football program in a shroud of secrecy. "Practices are closed to the media. Assistant coaches are off-limits. Reporters have virtually no access to players," writes one reporter. In such a program, many dark secrets can be hidden, the writer says.
Sandusky and Paterno
Paterno's defense is that he was never told about the "very specific actions" of child abuse observed by his graduate assistant, implying he might have acted differently if he had known. Paterno said he met his responsibilities by reporting the incident to the athletic director. He's saddened about what has happened to the victims, Paterno says, but now people need to let the legal system do its work.

Did Paterno do enough? Did he have a duty to protect that unknown 10-year-old and other children? Did he have a moral obligation to inform police? Did he have a duty to ask deeper questions of the graduate assistant and discover the details of what happened back in 2002?

Or did coach Paterno do enough by following the law, reporting it to his supervisor and expecting that they would uncover the truth? Should the winningest coach in college football keep his job?


  1. Joe Paterno did the minimum in letting somebody know. He should of made a better effort with that and should of made Sandusky leave the university.

  2. I believe that JoePa did what was right intially by informing his bosses. However, once a short amount of time passed by and he didn't hear back from the AD about the progress of the case, he needed should have taken further action. When everybody saw Sandusky with boys running camps and other activities, questions should have asked about what he was doing and why he was still around.

  3. It all comes down to what JoePa knew. If he really didn't have reason to believe his grad assistant then it's understandable as to why he might not have taken as drastic a measure as taking the matter to the police. As the general public, we don't really know what happened, and based off of what has been reported, I don't think JoePa should have been fired. I think it was appropriate enough that he was planning to resign at the end of the season. I do however agree that he probably should not have allowed Sandusky to work with him afterward, but I'm really not sure how closely the two were working together.

    With that being said, I can understand why Penn State fired JoePa. In the midst of all the reports, Penn State needed to save face, and by firing the AD as well as JoePa did just that. And it could be that they know something we don't know that gave them further reason to fire him.

  4. Paterno should have done more. Not only is he the face of the football program, but he could be seen as the face of Penn State. Yes, Paterno did what was legally required of him; however, he should have higher ethical values. If JoePa knew that his AD didn't inform the police then he should've notified them himself. Paterno deserved what he got.

  5. Paterno did what was required of him. Paterno is being held to a higher standard than a average person. If Joe Pa wasn't such a high profile person in the scene of college football would he still have a job? People may say that ethically and morally he didn't do enough, but why is he at fault? Joe Pa is an upstanding individual and has a impeccable reputation within the community at Penn State, why wasn't that taken into account? For people to sit here and say that Paterno should of done more and he needs to have higher ethical values, who are we to judge him. The man did what he thought was right and left it at that. Maybe he should of done more maybe he shouldn't of, no matter what the case Paterno is being made an escape goat for the action if a sick and twisted mans actions. It is disgusting how the news media is all over Paterno and his front lawn but where is the media coverage on the Athletic Director who simply dismissed the information that was given. Why is he getting off so easy? I feel that we need to reevaluate how we are looking at this situation, and take into consideration a man with an impeccable reputation that is being used in a witch hunt and no has a tarnish legacy.

  6. Yes, Joe Paterno did not do as much as he could to punish the coach who committed these crimes, but he should not be the only one getting punished. I agree with the fact that the AD is getting off way too easy when Paterno did what he thought was necessary which was to report the people ahead of him, which is what he did. The AD had the responsibility to report the incident further. This is all being pinned on Paterno and people are not looking at the others involved.

  7. Aaron Salas

    Joe Paterno did what was required of him by letting his superiors know about Sandusky. But when his superiors didnt do anything about Sandusky, Joe shouldve made an effort to go to the police and let them know what was going on. He shouldve done more that would have gotten Sandusky fired right away.

  8. Coach Paterno informed who he thought was a responsible University official. He was not required to continually nag this person about it over and over again. He did what he thought was his duty and he left it at that. The entire controversy over him being fired is an attempt to try and make Penn State "forget" all of this and trying to just throw away any faculty member who has been associated with this. I personally don't believe they had any reason to fire JoePa or the Wide Receiver Coach because neither of them did anything wrong with children. Sandusky was the only one to blame. Syracuse University is handling this exact same situation in a much way. Coach Boeheim is not facing any consequences because he didn't know anything was going on but also, he was never involved so there is no reason to let him go. Just like there was no reason to let Paterno go

  9. This article is efficient. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am visiting this blog on a daily basis and I am finding so much helpful article each time. Keep working on this and thank you once again. xnxx