Published November 9, 2011 - 10:45am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
We’ll start off this article with a re-post of a guest post written by another blog and Penn State fan regarding Joe Paterno (read it here):
Bulls**t. I’m not speaking for all PSU fans, but it’s simply ridiculous to think a man that transcends just football is as easily replaceable as you make it sound. This statement — much like the so-called “informed” opinion of other talking heads who haven’t spent a lot of time in State College, Pennsylvania — is gravely absent of Paterno’s off-the-field role at Penn State. Remember, PSU is located in a small, rural community where people know him as a neighbor and a human-being, not just a mutant football machine for ESPN to throw darts at. JoePa has built a huge library, resuscitated failing academic programs (there was a time when he was essentially bankrolling PSU’s Classics department), helped fund an on-campus spiritual center, and continues to actively contribute to various student-run charities such as Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon .The vast majority of Penn State alum (and thus, contributors to the university’s endowment), realize this. Paterno’s salary was around $500,000 in 2007; it’s a little over a million now. For many years in the 70s, 80s, and 90s he was working for much less than average D1 coach. Thus, to simply force out a man who has given so much (beyond football, too) yet asked for so little a la Bobby Bowden, would absolutely disgust — and even alienate — a huge tribe of Penn State’s fan base.
Will Urban Meyer go down as a great coach? Sure. Do I want Penn State football win the Big 10 everywhere and have a chance to compete in the National Championship? Absolutely. Do I think Paterno is a figurehead? Certainly. It’s borderline tragic to see the media throw the man in his grave and close the coffin while he’s still breathing and running out of the gate at Beaver Stadium. Yet last year the Nittany Lions beat LSU in the Capital One Bowl; two years ago we earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. One building season isn’t the end of the world.
One last point: For the last two years the graduation rate of Penn State football players was higher than any other team in the Top 25. Call me a romantic, but PSU fans and alum cherish Paterno for a reason. He’s symbolizes the once-sacred ideals of college athletics; ideals that have been swept aside in lieu of bigger ratings, fatter endorsement deals, and a well-oiled pipeline to the NFL. It’s damn refreshing to have a a D1 program who actually takes the “molder of men”part of his school’s fight song so damn literally. Penn State and Big 10 football in general may never be like SEC football, but, after seeing the PR quagmire down in Auburn this past year, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
That gives you a glimpse of how PSU fans view Joe Pa.
Does the current scandal take away from any of the past achievements? No. But, Joe Pa failed miserably in probably his biggest test ever given to him. That failure had horrific potential consequences for a number of young boys. You can celebrate Joe Pa’s past achievements and hang on to them, but under no circumstances should Joe Pa ever run out onto the field again for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
There are videos going around of PSU students rallying to support Joe Pa. If Joe Pa runs out onto the field on Saturday, it will be a big pep rally to support Joe Pa. Such a crowd reaction would be a mockery to the victims in the situation and should be avoided at all costs by PSU.
Fans of a specific team are terrible sources of objectivity when it comes to anything of their team and that ranges from play calling to covering up child sexual abuse.
Joe Pa achieved much in his decades at Penn State. This current scandal doesn’t change any of that. However, there is no acceptable reaction from PSU other than complete acknowledgment that the University and a number of people involved there utterly failed in this situation – and as a result, PSU needs to clean house including Joe Pa. Now.