Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Joe Pa

There is a time for all things and everything has its time!
by Charlie Leck

[13 July 2012] I felt strongly, when I wrote this blog last November, that I was correct; that Joe Paterno could not have known about the crimes of Jerry Sandusky and then kept quiet about them. It appears that I was very incorrect. The Freeh, Sporkin and Sullivan Report makes it quite clear that Joe Paterno knew more than any of us believed he did; that he should have acted promptly and efficiently to condemn Sandusky and report him to the proper authorities. Instead it appears that Paterno tried to wish the problem away and had not the heart or guts to deal with it. It hurts to admit this about a guy I so deeply admired (as the terribly incorrect blog below asserts). I can not say it any more clearly that this: I was deeply wrong and incorrect and the history of the Joe Paterno reign at Penn State University will sadly need to be adjusted.

No draft this morning! I'm writing directly into my blog apparatus. I want the blog to be real and represent my feelings as truly as it possibly can, with no rewriting or restructuring or rethinking what comes right off the top of my head.

If you don't know about Joe Pa, the coach of the Pennsylvania State University collegiate football team for the last one-thousand years, then you may as well not read any further. He's more formally known as Joe Paterno.

Mr. Paterno is an institution within an institution. Say Penn State to a hundred people -- that and nothing more -- and 99 of them will answer: Joe Paterno (or Joe Pa). He has been the face of that university for the last 45 years and he's been on the coaching staff for a total of 61 years. He'll turn 85 years old on December 21. He's brought in tens of millions of dollars to the University and much of it has been used to fund activities outside of the Athletic Department. The main library at Penn State is named after him because he and his wife gave the start-up funds to build it. He's already been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was the first coach in major college football to reach 400 victories. He's had five undefeated seasons. His teams have won 24 post season bowl games. He has won in all of the most famous bowl games at least once -- the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. 37 times his teams have appeared in bowl games. In 2010, the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia announced that it would annually present the Joseph V. Paterno Award to the college football coach who has made a positive impact on his university, his players and his community. Paterno has turned down several offers to coach professional football teams because he loves the college game and the college atmosphere.

More importantly, Paterno insisted that his football program would not, in anyway, diminish the academic reputation of the university. He has consistently had the highest graduation rates of his football players among all major college programs.

Joe Paterno may as well have been the head-man at Penn State for the last 30 years because he is the most important figure down there in Happy Valley. What Joe Pa wanted, Joe Pa pretty much got. A few years ago the President of the University sent a clear signal to Mr. Paterno that he might want to start thinking about retirement. Joe Pa sent a clear signal back that he wasn't ready to start thinking about it. That was the end of it.

One has always figured that Joe Pa would name the time that he would end his career at Penn State or he would die on the job. At any rate, Joe Pa would exclusively call the shots.

That glory and power has all come to an abrupt and sad end and Joe Pa is probably confused as hell about it. He may be gone as the Penn State coach and be relieved of all connections to the University as early as today and certainly within the next several weeks.

It appears he didn't take actions required by law to report an incident or incidents of child sexual abuse that he had been informed had taken place in his football team's lockerroom showers. A former assistant coach, had retained keys to the place, and often took young boys there to show them where their heroes showered, and then molested them there. Joe Pa clearly knew about one occasion. It had been reported to him in no uncertain terms by one of his employees who had witnessed it.

Perhaps Joe Pa chose not to believe the report or couldn't believe it or wouldn't believe it of his former associate and assistant.

It appears a number of people knew! They chose to look the other way. Their inaction allowed such molestation to continue.

The details coming out of Happy Valley are saddening and sickening. I am sick to death and sad as hell.

Mr. Paterno is a good and decent man -- ten times better and ten times more decent than most men. He just chose to believe in a friend when he shouldn't have. He wanted to be positive rather than negative. Yet, it was the wrong thing to do at that terribly wrong time; and one of the most glorious careers in all of sports will be brought down in a way that rivals the most cataclysmic of Greek tragedies and it makes me weep.

The End!
Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it, send me an email if you’d like.

No comments:

Post a Comment