Joe Paterno:Legacy vs Justice

Justice vs Legacy by Devin Knieriem



It’s everywhere now, and if you have not heard about it then you must be living under a rock. Of course im talking about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University that has sent shockwaves throughout the country.

I am not going to get into the semantics of what happened but what went on in short is a man named Jerry Sandusky, who was a defensive coordinator at Penn State until 1998 is accused of now 40 counts of sexual molestation with now 16 different young boys, some as young as 10 years old. Now as terrible and shocking as these may sound, there are worse things to come.

The actual scandal part involves all of the higher ups at Penn State. Sandusky was an employee at Penn State since 1969 when he was hired as a defensive line coach by Joe Paterno, the legendary head football coach at Penn State, Joe Paterno, who has been a coach at Penn State, first as an assistant then a head coach for 62 years. In 1998 Sandusky got in trouble and was investigated by State College Police for showering with a young boy when he was reported by the boys mother. Sandusky after getting caught said that he will never shower with boys again. A year later after the investigation, which was kept quiet from the general public Sandusky , who was the head coach in waiting for Paterno who was in his 70s was forced into retirement while he was still a revered figure in the school with his football accomplishments.

Even after Sanduskys retirement he was still allowed full access to the campus and the football facilities and in 2002, Mike McQueerey, a grad assistant for the football program observed Sandusky and a young boy in the shower with Sandusky raping the boy. McQueerey told his father who then told Coach Paterno, and that is where the problems started…

Are you curious about what happened after that? Well NOTHING!!! Paterno reported the incident to his athletic director, Tim Curley, who then informed Penn State president Graham Spainer and assistant director of finance Gary Schultz. You know what they all did??? They took Sanduskys locker room keys away and that’s IT!!!! They never called the police, they never had McQueerey questioned, they just swept it under the rug, just like they did in 99 when they made Sandusky retire.

9 years later, after an extensive Grand Jury investigation on Sandusky, they arrest him on 40 counts of sexual assault. They also issue arrest warrants for Curley and Schultz and then the dominos begin to fall. A few days later the Penn State board of trustees, fearing public backlash fire Spanier and Paterno, who had both been at the university for a very long time, Paterno had been there for 62 years.

There was immediate backlash for the firing of Paterno. The students of Penn State rioted in the streets, chanting “JOEPA” which was his affectionate nickname and causing so much chaos that the police had to be called in with pepper spray and riot gear.

You know what I think? Every one of these people deserve to get fired, Paterno included. I love football as much as the next guy and as a college football fan I had a lot of respect to Joe Paterno, the man had 409 wins in his 40+ seasons at Penn State, most all time by a Division one head coach but this thing goes way beyond football. The truth of the matter is that Graham Spainer,Tim Curley and Joe Paterno put the prestige of their football program before the safety of these kids. Paterno put his legacy as a football coach before stopping this inhuman monster known as Jerry Sandusky, and it is sad to see. I love football but its only a sport…as Mark May of ESPN put it “Its Football, its an extracurricular activity” and that’s all it it.

And to the Students and protestors at Penn State, I understand that your angry about Paterno being gone, and I do agree with you that the way they fired him over the phone like that was extremely Impersonal to a man who has done so much for that university, this is way beyond football. Don’t grieve for Paterno, grieve for the young boys that had to suffer through what Sandusky did. Paterno had his time, he made a wrong choice, he chose football over justice, don’t make his mistake.

And for the people that say Penn State shouldn’t play their football game this weekend…don’t even… They have to play this game to prove that football is only a sport…and that Joe Paterno was great but he isn’t a god

Penn State has to clean house now…everyone that was involved in this cover-up needs to be fired. Curley and Schultz need to be fired for not doing what they should of done, McQueerey needs to be fired as he basically did the same thing Paterno did…he reported the incident to his superior and then dropped well as anyone else that was involved in this glaring lack of foresight.

And to all of these guys involved that swept a RAPE under the rug…all of these people that shook Sanduskys hand…no matter how many times you wash it, your hands will never be clean…



If you wanna know more about the Sandusky case then read the Grand Jury Report online but fair warning it will make your stomach turn