Report: Joe Paterno out at Penn State soon

Paterno at a press conference earlier this year.
Justin K. Aller

According to a report from the New York Times reporters Mark Viera and Pete Thamel, the ongoing sex-abuse scandal at Penn State will reportedly put an end to football coach Joe Paterno’s 46-year career at the school.

As the Times tells it:

At age 84 and with 46 seasons as the Penn State head coach behind him, Paterno’s extraordinary run of success — one that produced tens of millions of dollars for the school and two national championships, and that established him as one of the nation’s most revered leaders, will end with a stunning and humiliating final chapter.

Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator under Paterno, has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys across a 15-year period, and Paterno has been widely criticized for failing to involve the police when he learned of an allegation of one assault of a young boy in 2002.

[...] On Monday law enforcement officials said that Paterno had met his legal obligation in alerting his superiors at the university when he learned of the 2002 allegation against Sandusky. But they suggested he might well have failed a moral test for what to do when confronted with such a disturbing allegation involving a child not even in his teens. No one at the university alerted the police or pursued the matter to determine the well-being of the child involved. The identity of that child remains unknown, according to the Attorney General.

Two people close to Penn State’s board of trustees have told the Times that the board has started discussing how best to remove Paterno from his decades-long position as the face of Penn State football. The full report is here.

If the rumors are true and Paterno is indeed on the way out. it’s worth taking a moment to speculate on his legacy. Here was a man who preached duty and leadership, and lived a version of that for 40 years. But at a time when that duty and leadership could have really mattered — in real life, not just on a football field — Paterno didn’t live up to his great ideals. Do you think he realizes that yet?


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