In Monday's (July 23, 2012) Pioneer Press newspaper, one of their esteemed sports writers, Tom Powers, opined upon the travesty of the possible sanctions the NCAA was going to put on Penn State for the Sandusky scandal. Like many sports zealots, Powers is still defending Coach Paterno, saying "He paid the ultimate price for his culpability...when they took away his job, they killed him..." No, Tom, cancer killed him. Powers points to the fact that "...he died very quickly..." as proof that whoever "they" are killed him by exiling Paterno "in a state of national disgrace..." Apparently, Mr. Powers has never witnessed an elderly person dying from lung cancer. Unfortunately, I have. My maternal grandfather and my paternal uncle both had lung cancer and both died from it.
In my maternal grandfather's case, his battle lasted a little over a year that started with the doctors almost killing him with one chemo treatment, his subsequent refusal to ever go through another chemo treatment, then his working trimming trees with a raging fever, until finally he was bed-bound and passed away. In the case of my uncle, it was about six weeks from the day he was diagnosed until the day he passed away. He was in his early 70s, a bachelor who lived alone on our family farm and who refused to go to the doctor unless he absolutely had to. So, by the time the cancer was diagnosed, it had invaded pretty much every part of his body, and seemed to only be waiting to be discovered before it took his life. So, it comes as no surprise to me, nor do I blame the authorities who fired Joe Paterno, that he died relatively quickly once he was fired.
The dramatics sports fans give in to when discussing the tragedy of Joe Paterno's "exile" and removal of his statue is completely disrespectful of the little boys, now young men, who suffered horrible abuse under Sandusky's hands. The fact that Paterno and the other Penn State officials knew about Sandusky's addiction to little boys and yet looked the other way in the name of keeping Penn State's reputation untarnished is beyond sickening. It was absolutely wrong. For people in the business of molding and guiding young men - not just football players, but young men, how dare anyone excuse Paterno, et al, for hiding Sandusky's criminal behavior? All for what? The glory of a college football program? Seriously? So their reputations, records and glory, not to mention all the revenue Penn State received for it's program from the NCAA and fans, superseded the lives of little boys. How can anyone think that Paterno is any kind of a hero in any manner or fashion? He put his SPORT over protecting defenseless little boys. That's no hero.
No, a real hero would have stood up, pointed at Sandusky, and kicked his butt to the curb as soon as he heard about the fact that Sandusky was raping little boys in the shower-room. (IN THE SHOWER ROOM. Am I the ONLY person that finds that the height of arrogance???? Not only was this behavior just the height of sick and wrong, but Sandusky feared so little of consequences that he openly molested the boys in the Penn State showers. Hello? Priorities people! Children trump football!) And then, Paterno, had he really been a hero, would have called the authorities and allowed justice to take its course. If Paterno and the other Penn State authorities had done the right thing as soon as possible, Penn State and all its football players and fans would not have been sanctioned yesterday. It would have been a huge scandal to be sure, but how many other college and pro sports programs have been wracked by scandals over the years and come out better for having gone through the experience?
But no, Paterno, et al, did not do the right thing. Instead they ignored the problem, literally closing their ears and eyes to little boys and their cries as a coach raped them in the shower, all because the football program was more important than those boys' lives.
Quit crying about the fact that Paterno's statue no longer stands at the entrance to the Penn State stadium and that his incredible record has been invalidated by the NCAA, because as soon as he decided to not report Sandusky to the authorities, he became 0-1: forever a loser.