You can't imagine how bizarre that headline sounds - to someone who grew up in State College and went to Penn State. They literally call it "Happy Valley" and it's happy (and just
a tad boring) 99.999% of the time. Perhaps they were right to fire Joe Paterno, tragic as that is--certainly they had to if he knew what his graduate assistant coach had witnessed, and did no more than report it to the director of athletics.
Yeah... I'm kinda surprised by the hooplah. I don't follow sports much, and definitely not college sports... But even if this guy was the greatest coach ever, he really needs to be punished pretty severely for allowing such abuses to continue.
Fans can't seem to separate their interest in the game here from their interest in morality. Now... maybe firing is too severe... I'm not actually arguing it is, I would have fired him if he were my underling... but it seems like the outrage here is really misplaced.
It's so hard to know what's really going on, and it would be good to have the students' side of the story. From the facts I can glean he may well have deserved being fired. His apparent unwillingness to deal with sexual abuse issues has tended to bring his employer into disrepute and given it reason to lose confidence in him as an employee. Fine. I'm not against people being fired in those circumstances. The issue isn't whether he has done done something immoral (employers are not all-purpose guardians of their employees' morality). It's a question of whether there were good grounds to terminate his contract of employment.
On the other hand, it seems as if he was fired in a particularly humiliating way. Even someone who has stuffed up badly and deserves to be fired summarily should be given a modicum of natural justice (some chance to put their side of the story first) and to be treated with as much dignity as possible. Perhaps the lack of these things for a beloved figure on campus is what has made people so angry.
But that's just me reading between the lines. It's really quite hard to work out from what's in the media reports. The whole thing is puzzling for an outsider.
I've just read the grand jury report on Sandusky. Good God!!!! If you read the whole thing, you start to see that Paterno and he were part of the same social circle. Paterno had to have seen him constantly hanging around young boys, and he would have been able to connect that with what was reported to him in 2002. So he really must have suspected what was going on, yet did nothing about it.
It certainly sounds as if Paterno deserved to be fired. I don't think I'd have too much compunction defending the university if he brought some kind of case for unlawful discharge, or whatever.
But again, it sounds as if the firing was done in a particularly brutal manner. These sorts of things can cause anger, even where the person (or entity ... in this case the university) is in the right morally and/or legally.
Here's that grand jury indictment--amazing, horrifying stuff.
I never realised how passionate Americans were about college football. These kids have a situation where (a) a great chunk of their university's administration was complicit in enabling an active paedophile among them and (b) a man was fired in debatable circumstances. I hate to impose value judgements n' all but it seems a little odd to react most fiercely to the latter...
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