Joe Paterno's Shame

Joe Paterno (Getty Images)

Eugene Robinson, in his Washington Post column, writes a scathing rebuke of Joe Paterno, the once-revered Penn State coach, for failing to protect children from a sexual predator all for the sake of winning.

Outside the Penn State football stadium stands a statue of legendary coach Joe Paterno, his arm raised in victory. Right next to it, university officials should erect another figure in bronze: a young boy crying out in anguish and being coldly ignored.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees commissioned former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate how child molester Jerry Sandusky — for years one of Paterno’s most trusted and loyal assistants — could have committed his awful crimes under the noses of university officials. The answer is simple and shocking: Those officials simply looked the other way.

"The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims," the report states. "Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University … failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade."

Those four powerful officials include Paterno, who died earlier this year of lung cancer. Almost literally a sainted figure in the world of big-time, big-money college sports, Paterno became aware of seriously inappropriate behavior by Sandusky with young boys at least 14 years ago, according to Freeh’s report. Paterno’s inaction was shameful.


Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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