Penn State Scandal and Joe Paterno: Success with Dishonor

Mike MuellerContributor IINovember 11, 2011

Joe Paterno's legendary career comes to an end under a black cloud of controversy
Joe Paterno's legendary career comes to an end under a black cloud of controversyRob Carr/Getty Images

The Penn State scandal is truly sickening.

This goes beyond football folks, and we need to remember that.

In just one week, the reputation of one of the finest academic/athletic institutions in the country has come crumbling down by a horrific alleged sex-abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and the apparent cover-up by the school's administrators, including coaching legend Joe Paterno.

The more information that comes forward in this case, the uglier it is going to get for Penn State. This is a story that has lots of legs, tons of questions and few answers at this point.

Joe Paterno has built his career and the Penn State football program on the motto, "Success with Honor." There is no honor in what has allegedly happened at the school's facilities and under his watch.

Make no mistake about it, Paterno needed to be fired, along with school president Graham Spanier and the resignation of athletic director Tim Curley. A true housecleaning is in order as Penn State begins to cleanse itself from the hallows of a hellish situation.

There is no "honor" in what happened to the increasing number of young male victims that were allegedly sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky.

There is no "honor" in what assistant coach Mike McQueary told the grand jury he witnessed back in 2002 between Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy.

There is no "honor" in Joe Paterno not doing more than just reporting the issue to Curley.

There is no "honor" in not contacting the police.

There is no "honor" in not trying to reach out to that victim and doing more to protect him.

There is no "honor" in allowing Sandusky to ever step foot on campus again.

There is no "honor" as crowds rioted and flipped over a news van over the firing of Joe Paterno.

There is simply no honor left in Happy Valley.

No one man or football program is bigger than our moral integrity and obligation to stop any injustice against our children.

From what we know up to this point, Paterno did the very minimum in this alleged sex-abuse scandal, along with countless other administrators throughout the Penn State program.

The minimum is just not enough.

Paterno's career has come to an abrupt end. His legacy will forever be capped off with a black cloud of controversy. Paterno gave a majority of his life to the betterment of the football program and university.

He should be remembered for his longevity, his two national championships, the thousands of young men that he molded into men and his philanthropy. Paterno should also be remembered for his lack of judgment that possibly helped foster an environment that threatened the safety of children.

This is not the time to celebrate football or grieve the loss of a coaching legend. This is a time to put things in perspective and to reach out to the victims that have struggled with the long-term effects of this horrific crime for almost 10 years.

Time heals all wounds, but the alleged Sandusky victims are forced to live with what happened for the rest of their lives.

Now, Joe Paterno, Curley, Spanier and McQueary must also do the same—long after those fall Saturdays of college football are behind them.