Football idol, Joe Paterno, lets his legacy fall

After 409 wins and 45 years, Joe Paterno, head football coach at Penn State, was fired Nov. 9 by the Penn State Board of Trustees for alleged actions in the child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach.

Rumors of negligence to report the crimes are also being levied against Paterno, and in coping with such rumors, Paterno has spent his days holed up in his house near the college. As he well should: Paterno is said to have knowledge of the sexual abuse carried out on a young boy by Jerry Sandusky, and he chose to do nothing about it. He lied to his peers, players, family and friends. Knowing about a crime, and not reporting it, is just as bad as committing the crime itself.

Now instead of continuing to coach the Nittany Lions for years to come, Paterno will be fighting civil lawsuits and other legal attacks. Many Penn State fans still regard Paterno with reverence and adoration even after his actions have cost the wellbeing of many. Fans now put their support behind Jay Paterno, the son of former head coach, who will work the sideline with interim head coach Tom Bradley.

As an apology to the families affected, Penn State announced that it had raised more than $20,000 toward child-abuse prevention at the game against Nebraska on November 12. A small group of alumni who started a web site called ProudtobeaPennStater.com say it has received more than $460,000 in donations for Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) as of Nov 22. Paterno still has made no actions to assist in such causes.

As the accusations fly, revoked privileges follow. One of the most recent retaliations against Paterno is the removal of the annual player award named after the coach by the Maxwell Club. Along with having things taken away from him, should he be thrown in jail? Joe Paterno will be under the microscope for many months to come, but only time will tell what the final outcome will be.

The fans of the Nittany Lions are waiting to see what happens, as are the six members of committee who made the decision to fire Paterno. Jail should be the immediate punishment. If I was the parent of one of the victims, I would want him held highly accountable. Hiding the facts is the same as committing the crime.