by Bill Johnson (email@example.com)
The situation at Penn State doesn't make any of us in sports feel good. Media, fans, coaches and players....
Most of the time when a rival team gets into trouble it's a source of humor for fans of other schools.
There may be jokes about Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno, but there's nothing funny about any of this.
Like many of you, I wanted Louis Freeh to discover that Joe Paterno was a feeble old man beyond his prime; that he was merely a figurehead. I wanted to hear that the program ran off the rails with ambitious underlings making the decisions, while lovable old JoePa sat in his office eating creamed corn and watching Matlock.
That was not the case.
Paterno engineered one of the most sinister cover-ups in American history.
Nixon's cover-up of the White House's involvement in the Watergate break-in is the most famous cover-up in American history. The result of that cover-up was the downfall of the Nixon regime and an increased distrust in the Presidency. Nixon won in a landslide in 1972, but was forced to resign 18 months later.
That's just politics.
Paterno's cover-up allowed a craven pedophile to roam free and hunt for over 13 years (as far as we know.) His cover-up allowed Sandusky to recruit his young victims via his Second Mile charity. Even after discovering that Sandusky was a dangerous child raper, Paterno still allowed Sandusky free and open access to the Penn State football facility.
Those ambitious underlings that I wanted to blame? It appears that at least a couple of them wanted to turn Sandusky in back in '98. Joe Paterno talked them out of it.
Joe Paterno talked members of the Penn State athletic administration out of turning in a known pedophile. That pedophile went on to rape more boys, including at least one in the Penn State football facility.
There is no excuse for Paterno's actions. There is no justification.
Ask me 10,000 times what I would do if my best friend did what Sandusky had done. Ask me what I would do if it affected what I did for a living.
10,000 times the answer is the same. I'd turn him in.
Despite the bad publicity for the program and the potential loss of employment, Jerry Sandusky had to be stopped.
Joe Paterno had the choice in 1998. He chose to cover up his friend's horrific crimes and allow him to commit more. For me, this makes Paterno just as guilty as Sandusky.
First, do what Phil Knight and Nike did. Joe Paterno's name comes off of everything. Today. If his name doesn't come off without destroying the structure, then destroy the structure.
How can you look at anything with Joe Paterno's name on it? How can anything named for Joe Paterno exist?
Penn State has decided to keep Joe Paterno's statue outside of Beaver Stadium for the time being. This is an indication that the current Penn State administration is nearly as clueless as the the previous administration. Penn State commissioned the Freeh Group. When that group's findings were as damning as they were, everything Paterno should have come down. Period.
Tell me about all of the great things Joe Paterno did as a football coach and a man. List them off one by one.
They mean absolutely nothing.
Joe Paterno is one of the most horrendous villains of our time. The ultimate wolf in sheeps clothing.
What about Penn State football?
Death penalty. Immediately.
I think it needs to be self-imposed, but I don't think anyone the fortitude, intestinal or testicular, to do it.
What about the financial losses for Penn State?
I don't care. Everyone involved in Penn State athletics, including fans, is somewhat culpable in the Sandusky/Paterno case because of the power they gave Paterno. His dictatorial reign allowed him to think it was ok to let a pedophile roam free in order to protect the program.
What about the players? They didn't do anything, right? I hear this one all the time.
Allow the current Penn State players to transfer without penalty and play somewhere else next season. It's too late to do this in 2012. Sorry, but this inconvenience to these student athletes is unavoidable. Penn State cannot play football in 2012 or for the foreseeable future.
I believe the 2012 recruiting class can get out of their commitments, but I have questions about those players anyway. After what went on last fall, how could any player want to play at Penn State?
"Oh, Penn State. That's the place where the pedophile coached for 30 years. I need to go there."
Not sure I'd want any of those players anyway.
What about the blank space on the schedule for Penn State's opponents? Deal with it. Find and FCS or D2 opponent. Leave it blank. I don't care.
That blank space on the schedule and the accompanying loss in revenue can serve as a stark reminder to all NCAA member schools.
We can never allow a coach to have the kind of power and influence that Joe Paterno had at Penn State ever again.
I don't know how you do it, but the power of college football and men's basketball coaches has to be curtailed. Never again can we allow a coach to become bigger than a university, bigger than the NCAA, bigger than a state.
We're all a little bit to blame for Joe Paterno.
Let's not let it happen again.
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