Dear Editor:

Maybe it is too soon for this…or maybe it is too late! As the Penn State community mourns the loss of Joe Paterno and holds high the signs of their support I keep hearing words like 'Idol' and 'Hero' thrown around, and I cringe. Joe Paterno is not a hero.

Joe Paterno had great ideals and morals as a long time coach and mentor of college-aged young men, yes. Joe Paterno ran a tight clean ship when it came to the players throughout his program, yes. Joe Paterno handed out suspensions, pulled scholarships and even expelled student-athletes who did not follow the rules throughout his tenure in order to teach lessons in life, yes. But, in the end, Joe Paterno was nothing more than a hypocrite.

Yes, nobody in the media has what it takes to step forward and possibly risk career suicide by pointing out the simple facts of what Joe Paterno left us with before his passing, but I just did. Feeling differently only exemplifies the cowardice portrayed by Coach Paterno to the same degree.

Joe had the chance to be a hero and save the countless lives that have been destroyed by the actions of a disgusting predator but he chose not to. That's right, he CHOSE NOT TO. Instead of wearing Superman's cape he pulled a blue and white blanket over his head…as many of his supporters are still doing.

Many will argue that the cover up of this monstrosity went well above Joe Paterno, and they are right, it goes straight to the governor and perhaps beyond. (I don't intend on getting into this state's politics or the hapless people who have been elected to lead us…though by the amount of people who feel Coach Paterno did no wrong it isn't surprising to see how these invalids get elected.)

This argument only opens the door to allow one to see how errant Coach Paterno was in his judgment to not put a stop to his colleague. Perhaps feeling the heat from above and possibly threats from school officials Coach Paterno lived with himself day after day knowing he could single-handedly stop this predator rather than taking the action to do so.

Funny though, when the news got out suddenly Coach Paterno wanted to be heard, he wanted to tell his side of the story. He went to the trouble of scheduling a press conference from his home in an attempt to defend himself…an act that he very well could have done more than a decade ago to defend the lives of countless minors. Instead we are left with Joe Paterno wanting his side of the story heard…well after the story has been written.

The heroes I know usually save the day while the story is being written or told. Daniel got out of the lion's den, David slew the stone that brought down Goliath, JoePa waited for a 10 year old to step up to the plate…his worst play call ever.

Do you still support him? Do you still think he was a hero? How would your son feel about him if he had been sexually violated by Jerry Sandusky after 1998? How would your brother feel about him if he were sexually violated by Jerry Sandusky after 1998? Moreover, how would you feel about him if you knew your son or brother was sexually violated by Jerry Sandusky after 1998? Would you sit back and hope it goes away? Joe did, so if you answered yes then please continue to support him. Wear your shirts, adorn your vehicles and homes with his support signs and publicly defend him, please do, because it helps me differentiate you from the people I would want in my foxhole with me.

Would a bank president of 50 years get the public's support if he knew one of his tellers was molesting young boys? Would a contractor of 50 years get the public's support if he knew one of his roofers was molesting young boys? Would a principle of 50 years get the public's support if he knew one of his teachers was molesting young boys? I don't think so…apparently this type of support is only given to athletic coaches….oh, yes, and Priests, I almost forgot.

I hope this scandal does not put an end to the wonderful education Penn State has provided infinite students throughout the years and I hope it does not put a damper on the many student-athletes who wear the colors of the blue and white, for it is certainly not their fault. They are the ones who need our support at this time along with the families of every victim of sexual abuse across this country and beyond.

The ones who can overcome will be the heroes in this whole debacle…unfortunately they already built a statue of the coward.

Steve Schickram

steveschick13@gmail.com