The events unfolding at Penn State shock you. They disgust you. They make you angry.
Undoubtedly you've heard, at least the broad strokes, of what has happened in State College this week, which led to the firing of legendary coach Joe Paterno, along with the university's president. The details are so graphic and disturbing it's not worth rehashing them here. To summarize, a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, has been arrested on sexual abuse charges of at least eight boys, some of which took place on Penn State's campus.
Wednesday night, the Penn State board of trustees made the decision to fire Paterno, who'd been the head coach for the last 46 years. It was their only choice. Paterno had to go. While he didn't commit any of the heinous acts, he knew about some of them, and enabled it to continue to happen for over a decade.
Students on campus at Penn State took to rioting upon hearing the news. One day, when all of the truth comes out, they will look back and think 'what was I thinking.' At least I hope so.
This has nothing to do with football, and everything to do with the unthinkable acts children suffered at the hands of a monster. Paterno needed to be fired because he was told about the events and chose to help sweep them under the rug.
Paterno's legacy as a college football coach won't be erased, but it will always have this attached, as it should. Many defended Paterno, saying he did what he was supposed to do - report it to school officials. That's not enough. He even said, "With hindsight, I wish I had done more." Yes, he should have. And he didn't.
It's a sad way to go, but I don't feel sorry for anyone involved, except the victims. It also puts the other college "scandals" into perspective.
Many thought the events at the University of Miami were terrible. Players getting some illegal benefits pale in comparison to the cover up and general lack of action at Penn State. Jim Tressel was fired at Ohio State for covering up players getting free tattoos. That's not even a blip on the radar compared to Penn State.
Paterno got what he deserved for not doing the right thing, something he based his coaching career on. And this monster, Sandusky, will get what he deserves soon enough, if any type of action can measure up to what he really deserves.
Sometimes athletics mean too much to some people. This is an example of protecting a program and people at an unfortunate and tragic expense. Everyone wishes things happened differently. But that doesn't change them now. I wish it could.