"I should have done more."
Those are the words Joe Paterno said regarding the rape of a child by assistant coach Sandusky. Those are the words of a man who absolutely knew what happened; they are the words of a man who admits he didn't do enough.
What bothers me are the people who came out in support of Joe Paterno and said he shouldn't be fired. Even one blogger who said he should have been fired also said that we shouldn't forget all of the good he's done. Why? Why should we care about how well he coached a game? Through inaction, he participated in the cover-up of child rape. This inaction in the face of such a heinous crime speaks of low moral character in general.
The people who have come out in support of Paterno remind me of the people who tried to soften what the Catholic church did in the face of its widespread child rape scandal: "It was only a handful of priests." "The actions a few priests shouldn't condemn the whole Church." Nonsense. Like the Joe Paterno scandal, there were people who were acquainted with and in authority over the child-raping priests, and they actively covered up the horrendous acts. Even the current pope knew about the widespread abuse and didn't do nearly enough to stop it. Like the Catholic Church, the Penn State athletic department institutionalized child rape by failing to do anything to stop it.
The more I read about the Jerry Sandusky case, the more angry I get at people who think Joe Paterno's job shouldn't have been on the line. He had 8 victims over 15 years, according to the indictment. He had a charity that gave him access to young boys constantly. He had an office on campus, and had access to facilities up until very recently. The act of child rape Paterno helped cover up through inaction occurred in 2002. Why did Sandusky still have access to the campus at all?
It's not like rumors of sexual abuse were spread on shaky evidence about Sandusky, either. There was an eyewitness to the 2002 rape. I realize that eyewitnesses aren't the best evidence in a court of law, but it wasn't like forensics had an opportunity to do a rape kit on the boy involved, because the eyewitness, Joe Paterno, and the athletic director Paterno reported the incident to all failed to report the rape to authorities.
I'm outraged to think that anyone would stack 61 years of successful coaching against the cover-up of child rape and think that the coaching outweighs Paterno's inaction. A person who would let something like that go is a person who would let just about anything slide. What else has gone unreported during his 61 year tenure?