PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Troubling Signs and Troubling Times: It’s Hard to Defend Joe Paterno

Any time something storied, something legendary, something steeped in deep tradition falls, the people that make up the foundation of that group look for a rallying point, someone to stand behind, stand around, and direct all the negative feelings they are experiencing into a positive blast of energy. They look for a rallying cry that, regardless of the situation, the minions will support the person in power ’til the very end.

The Penn State student body seems to have chosen Joe Paterno as their  rallying point, and that’s a sad, sad thing.

Maybe it’s not fair to single out Paterno the way he has been across the national stage, since it was the actions of Jerry Sandusky who have caused this scandal, right?

Sure, if that’s the way you want to look at it. But the issues at hand, ultimately caused by Sandusky’s actions, are tied to the very core of this great university, and there is no bigger face of Penn State University than Joe Paterno. His inaction, along with inaction from multiple employees and people associated with the school, is partially why this situation has taken on the immense scope that it has nearly nine years later than it should have.

To support Paterno now is to support not righting a wrong. To support him now is to support someone who built a great program, yet acted small when a heinous act may have been committed in the very building that is symbolic of the program he helped build.

To support him now is to support someone who said repeatedly that he would leave the program when he became a distraction, and yet, at a time where distractions have reached an all-time high, has refused to step down or resign his position, remaining as quiet as he did in March of 2002, again passing the buck– this time to his son Scott– when faced with the ability and opportunity to speak out.

It’s important to note that Paterno did what was required of him legally, which is great. Our country was built on the values of a strong legal system, and the Pennsylvania district attorney’s office has declared that Paterno did what he was obligated to do legally. If you haven’t found reason enough yet to find Paterno at least somewhat culpable from a moral standpoint, consider his only public statement on the matter, which appears to greatly conflict with his grand jury testimony concerning Victim 2. To support Paterno now is to support someone who doesn’t seem sure himself as to which direction he wants to go, what exactly he wants to stand behind, or how he wants to convey it. It is the apex of confusion, the highlight of his otherwise silent presence, and depending which way Paterno decides to let the chips fall, a potential damning blemish on an otherwise proud record.

Moral obligations are a tough element to define. They go back to values, rest on culture, and are largely dependent upon personal preference and beliefs. However, regardless of this, how one can stand behind and support someone who blatantly failed at so many moral passings is troubling at best, and nearing outrageous at worst.

There have been plenty of times in Joe Paterno’s life when carrying him off the field, cheering him to victory, and rallying around his spirited cries of victory were not just merited, but respectable.

But there comes a time in every man’s life when the cheers must cease, the leadership must diminish, and the followers must revolt. That time has come for Joe Paterno.

About the Author

Greg Pickel

Content Contributor for all things Penn State and member of the Pennsylvania Sports Network.

Comments

More by Greg

Julie Del Giorno Hired to Oversee NCAA Compliance at Penn State

Penn State hired Julie Del Giorno Thursday to fill the newly created athletic integrity officer position, but it’s not the first time the longtime education veteran has dealt with the NCAA.

State College Ranked Third Best College Town

Penn State Releases Statement on Freeh Report

Athletics

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions won’t play a single home match in September, electing to test themselves against teams like Stanford and Oregon early in the season.

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Evaluating Tony Carr’s Performance At The 2018 NBA Draft Combine

Penn State Hockey Commit Evan Bell Wins Clark Cup With USHL’s Fargo Force

Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

Student Life

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Road And Utility Work Impacting Penn State This Summer

Where Do Penn Staters Move After Graduation?

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Predicting Penn State’s 2018 Kickoff Times

As the Nittany Lions have ascended back into college football’s elite, they’ve taken the field at night more often in the past few years and avoided the dreaded early kickoff.

We Are Royalty: Meghan Markle Is A Penn State Fan

Penn State fans are everywhere, even in the British royal family.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Esports Wins Tespa Collegiate Hearthstone Championship

With two Penn State Esport teams in the top eight, the odds of winning the National Championship were ever in our favor.

Send this to a friend