As far as I can tell, most media outlets seem to be framing this as “Paterno will be leaving at the end of the year” rather than “Paterno is still coaching the team despite having knowingly allowed a child rapist to remain free.” I don’t understand this.
I, on the other hand, understand it perfectly: Even now, the media are in the tank for JoePa.
Let’s be very clear: Paterno might have done the minimum legally required when he told the athletics director about graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s report of having witnessed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy. But he should have gone to the cops. He should have seen to it that the case was investigated thoroughly — after all, if anyone in Happy Valley could have made that happen, it was Joe Paterno. Instead, he kept quiet and allowed a predator to roam free for years and, it would seem from the grand jury report, prey on other children as well.
Even in extremis, his arrogance and cluelessness are astonishing. Consider his retirement statement, in which, after announcing that he is “devastated” by “developments” in the case, he presumes to tell the Board of Trustees, nominally his bosses, how to do their job:
At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can.
What utter bullshit. This is about protecting his pension and what remains of his reputation, not doing what’s best for Penn State (let alone the victims in the case) or “easy” for the trustees. If he wanted to make this as easy for them as he possibly could, he’d quit right now. As it is, the trustees are meeting
Friday tonight, and their first order of business ought to be firing Paterno and Penn State president Graham Spanier.
And if, as he said in his statement, Paterno wants to spend his retirement “doing everything I can to help this University,” he’ll stay as far away from it as possible.
Paul Campos, one of Lemieux’s blogging mates, adds:
Paterno has known for at least nine years (realistically, at least 13 years, and probably longer) that the PSU administration — which for all practical purposes meant Joe Paterno — was covering up the crimes of a serial child rapist. The only “developments” in this case are that now everybody else knows it as well.
UPDATE (11:01 p.m.): Trustees fired Paterno and Spanier. It’s the least they could have done, and they’ve got a lot more still to do, but at least they didn’t hesitate to do it.