Joe Paterno Fired by Penn State After 46 Years

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired by the college's Board of Trustees Wednesday over a sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant coach. Thousands of students reacted violently, rampaging through downtown State College. President Graham Spanier was also removed as the university tries to stanch the bleeding over allegations that former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused eight boys over 15 years.

Paterno is said to have been close to tears when he met with his team yesterday. Looking at Paterno's mythic legacy, and equally mythic fall, is Jonathan Mahler, contributing writer for The New York Times. Russell Frank, journalism professor at Penn State and StateCollege.com columnist, could hear the students rioting in the streets from his home.

Guests:

Russell Frank and Jonathan Mahler

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [20]

Kelli from Oklahoma

I find it appalling and hypocritical of people who are opposing Jo Pas removal. Those same people would be just as outraged and demanding his removal had one of their loved ones been a victim of this. Jo Pa had an opportunity to be more than a sports her but a child's hero. It's time we send a message that we value integrity more than sports. We must no longer support the Michael Vicks, the Tiger Woods, nor the Jo Paternos of the world!

Nov. 10 2011 11:31 AM
TheOtherSide from Coral Gables, FL

How would you like to be falsely accused of pediphilia, your name all over the papers, your kids looking at you strangely and everyone wondering until the day you die if you really are a pedophile? Will you go to the police first if someone tells you that your dad molested someone? Will you call the authorities immediately if a co-worker accuses your best friend of an unspeakable act against a minor?

Of course, the children should be protected always, there is no excuse for not doing that, but the media has the bad habit of publishing the accusation in the first page and the exoneration in the classifieds. The result is that if the accused is really innocent, then their lives are usually destroyed, by the time the entire thing is clarified, the accused has lost his job, his family and practically has to go into the witness protection program to rebuild their lives, if they ever can (I respectfully disagree, there are some accusations that you cannot recover from, even if you are innocent).

My point is not whether the children should be protected, but that there has to be a way to do so quickly and firmly without ruining the lives of innocent people who may be falsely accused.

By the way, just in case there is any doubt in your mind, I firmly believe that pedophilia is second only to mass genocide in the scale of horrible crimes. Pedophiles and people abusing children in any way deserve a fate worse than rotting in hell.

Nov. 10 2011 10:51 AM
anna22 from new york

"then do you protect the children even ....?"
You PROTECT the CHILDREN" always, moron.
A raped child is a raped child. An accused can be unaccused.

Nov. 10 2011 10:33 AM
TheOtherSide from Coral Gables, FL

If all you have is what a graduate assistant tells you about a colleague you have known forever, wouldn't you worry about the damage that could be done to that person's reputation, career and life if the accusation was false? If you know for a fact, like the graduate assistant who saw the act, then definitely there is no excuse for not reporting and following up on it, but if you are not sure, then do you protect the children even with the risk of the horrible consequences of falsely accusing someone of such a horrible crime?

Nov. 10 2011 10:22 AM
anna22 from new york

"It's a huge tragedy that Joe Pa got scapegoated"
How dare you? Why don't you check the meaning of the word "tragedy?"

Nov. 10 2011 10:11 AM
Anonymous from The South

I just wanted to say that I know from personal experience how it feels to be a victim of abuse while those around you know the abuser but do nothing to end it. I think we should all think about how many lives could have been devastated by the years of silence by this man. I hope that weighs on his conscience, because I think it is unforgivable what he (didn't) do.

Nov. 10 2011 10:06 AM
anna22 from new york

"It's a huge tragedy that Joe Pa got scapegoated. "
Excuse me? Children were raped, but poor Joe Pa ... is a scapegoat? How low can humans go?

Nov. 10 2011 10:06 AM
Peter from NYC

Joe didn't follow through and played company man, respecting the chain of command. He was morally obliged to do more once recognizing that the chain of command failed. Joe Pa didn't take advantage of his moral high ground, his 'juice.' Based on these he could have brought the whole thing to a halt. Was he so humble as to crumble? He is learning the hard way, but it does not compare to the pain inflicted on those poor boys.

Nov. 10 2011 10:02 AM

It's a huge tragedy that Joe Pa got scapegoated. He didn't do a crime. He didn't cover up a crime. He alerted the authority that he was responsible to do. Tim Curley dropped the ball.

Nov. 10 2011 10:00 AM
anna22 from new york

"What is most disturbing to me is that these students clearly have no concept of personal responsibility"
Nonsense. They have no sense of compassion, no sense of justice, no sense of ethical behavior and no civilized response.
They also have absolutely wrong system of values in general (there is probably some duplication in my comment, but I don't care).
My alma mater (I had "stepmothers" later) and first place of employment (one of the oldest universities in the world) had some physical education program and all students were required to do something physically for two years - not very competitively. I didn't know any athletes and I know for sure nobody was admitted to the university because of his physical prowess. Such concept just didn't exist.
Americans descended into madness here like in a number of other areas. Shut this nonsense down.

Nov. 10 2011 09:56 AM

One of your guests said that "Joe Paterno did what he was required to do legally, although not morally..." Anyone working with minors -- and the majority of college students are minors -- is required by law to report suspected abuse to authorities. In this case the abuse was not only suspected -- Paterno was informed that rape of a child was witnessed in the shower! He was therefore legally required to report this abuse to authorities, and he did not. For anyone to put football before the safety of children is appalling and pathetic. What were these protesters thinking?! It doesn't matter who it was, but what if it was one of their family members?!

Nov. 10 2011 09:52 AM
anna22 from new york

Wow, I agree with commenters.
The response of students is truly incomprehensible. Now, how to you raise people this way? Yes, this society is sick.

Nov. 10 2011 09:44 AM
John W Pierron

I think it's a sick society that protects pedophiles so that the society can have a good football program. There is nothing so innocent and vulnerable than a child.

Nov. 10 2011 09:34 AM
Charles miller from Brooklyn

Paterno was the coach. win with honor. How could e have spent a minute on the same campus with this creep. He coached with him for ten more years. Coach.

Nov. 10 2011 09:33 AM
Laurie from Boston, MA

Wow. I had an edited conversation ("men harming children") with my kids about this (ages 12 and 9). What's wrong with our culture when we don't feel morally obligated to protect the weakest members of our society? I should feel bad for grown men demonstrating cowardice? Anyone in on this deserves to be tackled by the front line.

Nov. 10 2011 09:29 AM
Lou Viola from NYC

I'm curious as to what other issues, political or social, have motivated Penn State students to take to the streets in protest, other than protecting false gods who commit and cover up child rape.

Nov. 10 2011 09:20 AM
Bruce Wells from Washington, PA

I heard our governor's comment from yesterday concerning this incident. His statement goes something like this. "I've been frustrated by this investigation for over 2 years now". As state Attorney General, did Mr. Corbett ignore making this public because it would interfere with his run for governor one year ago? Could also make him complicit? Just curious.

Nov. 10 2011 08:45 AM
Christopher Anderson from NYC

A few facts to keep in mind:

1. 1 in 6 men in America are the victims of unwanted sexual contact before the age of 16. Over 20 million men in this country were the victims of molestation.

2. Statistics show that survivors of sexual abuse almost NEVER go on to perpetrate against others. To say otherwise is flat out wrong and only serves to ostracize and shame victims into silence instead of allowing them to come forward and ask for help.

3. The majority of molesters are known to their victims. Many perpetrators purposely seek out children who, for any number of reasons, are vulnerable and "groom" them.

4. Sexual abuse is not about sex. It is about power. This is not a "sex scandal". These children were raped. To call this is a sex scandal is to do a gross injustice to the victims.

5. Lastly, and most importantly, to anyone who was a victim: You are not alone. You are not to blame for what happened to you. And it is possible to heal.

Chris Anderson
Vice President of the Board of Directors
MaleSurvivor
www.malesurvivor.org

Nov. 10 2011 08:29 AM
Beth Ann from Detroit

What is most disturbing to me is that these students clearly have no concept of personal responsibility. They find nothing wrong in Paterno's conduct and chillingly find violence to be an appropriate response.

Nov. 10 2011 08:27 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Maybe we should fire the crossing guard at the gym, after all, he or she didn't go in and investigate the showers to make sure abuse wasn't going on. Everyone blamed except the criminal.

Nov. 10 2011 08:10 AM

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