Penn State Had to Get Rid of Joe Paterno
In a scathing reprimand of Joe Paterno, ESPN columnist Jemele Hill applauds the decision by Penn State's trustees to fire him. He didn't deserve to leave on his own terms after his "implausible inaction against a former assistant," she writes.
... Coaches are supposed to be leaders and role models. Now that we have an understanding of Paterno's failure, how could anyone possibly be comfortable for another minute with his position of influence on a team of young men.
By dismissing Paterno on their own terms, Penn State officials had the courage to deal with an uncomfortable reality in big-time college sports. The NCAA, universities and colleges have created a system that allows coaches to become bigger than the institutions they are supposed to be serving. Because of the escalating salaries earned by college coaches and the pressing funding needs these schools have, the irresponsible actions of coaches not only are often tolerated and overlooked -- remember Ohio State president Gordon Gee joking that he hoped Jim Tressel wouldn't fire him when the school announced a two-game suspension for Tressel? -- but the university officials nominally in charge far too often choose to render themselves powerless.
Penn State stopped Paterno from coaching again. It sent a message that a powerful coach doesn't get the final authority.
Read Jemele Hill's entire column at ESPN.