As might have already heard, a huge scandal broke out this week in Penn State University after football coach Joe Paterno, was fired for not going to the police when he was told by a graduate student that he saw his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a young boy in 2002. The university’s president Graham Spanier was also fired, but this or the fact the about 8 young kids were allegedly abused does not seem to upset people as much as the fact that the football coach was fired, which really upsets me. I am not a fan of football, I had never heard of Joe Paterno before this week and I had no idea Penn State had such an important legacy, but regardless of your interest in college football, it still does not make sense to me how people can overlook the real issue for a sport.
A lot of the news coverage seems to focus on Joe Paterno. Even before really reading the articles about the issue, I thought he was the sex offender because he was the one I heard people talking about and the one I saw on the news. When I realized that he wasn’t, I thought his firing was too harsh. It wasn’t until bout the fourth or fifth article I read on the issue that I found any information regarding the accusations against Sandusky. I was even starting to wonder if he was even being prosecuted at all. He was just mentioned in passing or revered for his contributions to Penn State football.
I’m not saying there should be a witch hunt against him, Paterno or anyone else. I know that he is still innocent until proven guilty. If he is guilty, I hope the law takes care of that and that he pays his price, and he will have to live with what he did and his reputation for the rest of his life. But his actions against those boys are still the main issue, that’s what people should be scandalized about. It shocks me, and even makes me think a lot about people’s values, when college football is more important than social issues. I know that football is a big deal for a lot of people, but really?
Oh and about Paterno’s firing? Yeah I agree with it. Even though he seems to have made a lot of contributions, the university has to protect itself and make a statement for future instances that this will not be tolerated, no matter who you are or how important you are. It just sets a precedent for the future and hopefully anyone else who witnesses an act like this will learn from this and report it to the authorities. This must have been a very difficult decision for the Board of Trustees. It has brought a lot of anger and controversy, even causing a riot by students on Wednesday, but I think it was the right thing to do and in the end it says a lot about the values of Penn State. So in a way I guess all this coverage and debate about his dismissal may be good in the long run.
By Maria Sanfeliu