Skip to main content

Death penalty unfair for PSU

Published July 20. 2012 06:04PM

Joe Paterno said, "I should have done more." The statement should have finished with "but I didn't". That is the truth of the matter.

We can argue Joe Paterno's legacy and all that he has done for the University till we're blue in the face. None of what JoePa has done for the University will ever be taken away. His drive for academics, his generosity, his genuine leadership and his stewardship of a football program that has never been scandalous in the ways that other programs have cannot be denied.

Still, people will deny that Joe Paterno made a mistake in such a grave fashion. When the first accusations came out, I never thought Jerry Sandusky was capable of doing what he was convicted of, but he

did. It is a hard pill to swallow, but it has to be done.

I can see how this could have happened.

Someone you know very well and for a long time is accused of something despicable; it will be hard to believe. It is easy to stand by the person until you have proof otherwise. It will even be easier to

dismiss when no charges are filed after a police investigation.

However, three years later it happens again. This time, another person you know well sees the act and describes it. This person also knows the aggressor very well and for a long time. Well that to me is proof enough.

Paterno did report this information to Athletic Director Tim Curley and the University President Graham Spanier. Unfortunatley, this is where the story takes a turn for the worst. According to the Freeh Report Curley and Spanier were willing to report it to authorities. Then two days later Curley states in an email that after talking with "Joe", the decision was to not to report it.

Regardless of reason or motive for not pursuing the case, the simple fact that a sexual act with a young boy allegedly occurred in the football building should have been enough to scream from the rooftops

to call the police. Paterno, who was one of the more powerful men at Penn State University, chose not to.

"I wish I would have done more."

Joe Paterno, the human, made a grave error in judgment and unfortunately for the loyal Penn State followers, it is something that cannot be debated. As much as you would like to raise JoePa up call

him a victim or martyr, his lack of action allowed young boys to be victimized for years to come. They are the only victims in this and to claim otherwise serves only to violate Sandusky's victims all over


It's a harsh truth. It's a sad truth. It's a truth that is far from over for the Penn State community as it lingers in the air and becomes fouler in stench as the football season approaches.

The four men who were trying to protect the integrity of the institution could have lived up to its ideals by reporting it. The 2001 scandal could have been a defining moment for Spanier, Curley, and Paterno. Now it's a defining moment for what is wrong with big-time college athletics.

They could have lived up to the ideals that Penn State stands for if they just would have done more.

There is now the potential for civil unrest over the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium. There is talk of NCAA sanctions where many Americans are calling for the "Death Penalty" starting this


I am afraid that the NCAA is going to slap Penn State hard in the coming weeks. Whatever sanctions are levied, they must serve a purpose.

The "Death Penalty", in my opinion, would be too harsh and far from fair to the groups like the cheerleaders, the PSU Marching Band, pep clubs, etc. and all of the students at the University who had nothing

to do with this. There are new coaches to run the program and new administrators who are going to be watched like hawks by the media and especially Board of Trustees who are going to monitor, if not

micromanage the football program over the next few seasons.

This nor other traditional NCAA sanctions hit the heart of the matter - the victims.

I think the NCAA penalty should be as unique as the circumstances surrounding it. As many have suggested on radio and TV, the penalty should be that the Football program will operate on a non-profit

status for the next three years. Any profits should go into a program to support victims of child abuse.

To take that further, I see it as a great opportunity for Penn State to continue to be a leader and start a foundation that rivals Sandusky's "Second Mile" and make it better. You then tie this foundation to an education program in Psychiatry and Counseling that will forever have energetic, empathetic, sympathetic, and 'eager to help' flow of students who will make sure this will never happen


I do not want the thousands of people who make up the Penn State community to say "I wish I would have done more." In a way this type of punishment is a way of doing more and will enable every Nittany

Lion to proudly stand up and say "We Are Penn State, and We did!"

Classified Ads

Event Calendar


October 2017


Upcoming Events

Twitter Feed


Faith Alive UMC hosts ‘Revival on Purpose!’

40.804927, -75.656958

Faith Alive UMC, 678...

Pumpkin social in Tamaqua

40.7986307, -75.9683447

Zion Lutheran Church...

Feed the People hosts Halloween celebration

40.830215, -75.88356

Feed the People is h...

STEP-Up Tamaqua to meet Monday

40.798347, -75.970851

STEP-Up Tamaqua will...

Reader Photo Galleries