Wednesday, November 9, 2011
No sympathy for old men
Do not, for one second, feel sorry for Joe Paterno.
Yes, he has had a long and storied coaching career. He has won national championships. He has helmed a powerhouse for decades. He is one of the most successful, decorated, and venerated college football coaches of all time.
None of that means anything anymore. Not after what we've learned.
Football is a game. It means nothing. The abuse of young children is deplorable and heinous. Punishing those responsible, and preventing it from happening again, means everything.
Children were being raped. Paterno knew about it and did nothing to stop it.
Instead, he was a part of the cover-up. Assistant coaches, graduate assistants, Athletic Directors, University Presidents, and yes, the head football coach, all played some role in letting the abuse happen. They all knew what the scandal would do to the program, and that led all of them to do the bare minimum. Saving their skins, but not their souls.
Paterno was part of a larger pyramid of enablers who took the protection of their multi-million dollar footbal program more seriously than protecting innocent kids who were being preyed upon. For years, each man in that program had a chance to step up and do the right thing.
No one did.
Wednesday, Paterno was fired from his position as head football coach. He's had a long career. He has the money. He still has the wins. He'll be fine.
Don't feel sorry for him. Feel sorry for the kids he failed to protect.
They won't ever be fine again.