So, it’s official… at least as far as Joe Pa is concerned. He’s retiring at the end of the season. I gotta feeling that’s not gonna fly though. He’ll resign or be fired before the season is over. Hopefully, before the week is over. Here’s his official statement.
“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
“That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
“My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university.”
‘This is a tragedy.’ Understatement of the year. Joe Paterno is not a victim here, people. He is the opposite. He had a moral obligation to do more and he didn’t. Instead, he enabled. Now, he’s paying the price for it. Whatever “price” he’s paying, to his legacy, pales in comparison to that of the young men and families that have had their lives devastated by Sandusky’s actions and Paterno’s inaction. Devastated.
That said, I feel bad for Joe Pa. The reason I feel bad for him is because I believe he’s a good person. A good person that made a set of very, very horrible decisions. Good people make bad decisions, we all do. His was tragic. His was failing to take the information given to him and act appropriately. These decisions will affect his legacy… in fact, they will define his legacy. When he says that he’s praying for ‘the children and their families’… I believe that he means it. God can heal hearts, but He can’t change the past. You want to finish this season with ‘dignity and determination‘? Resign. Do it now, JoePa. Stop this nonsense. You’ve proven that your judgment and decision making have been compromised. You’ve proven that you still just don’t get it. So much so… that you may not have to resign or retire… because this line: “At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status,” might get you fired.
Legacies may be defined by an entire body of work, but you, Joe Paterno, will be remembered by your last act. Time to make things right, Joe. As right as they can be at this point. Resign from coaching and devote the rest of your life to making this right. Seek out the families, beg for their forgiveness. Start a foundation. Raise money for awareness. It’s time to separate yourself from the school you devoted your life to and let them move on.
This may sound a bit cheesy, but let this be a lesson to all of us… when you’re in a position to right a wrong… do it, it’s our obligation.