I should tell you at the outset that I'm not a Penn State alum or a fan. I'm a Rutgers alum and fan, and Penn State is a rival we don't like very much.
Having said that, the firing of Joe Paterno, "our" JoePa, is very sad. He has insisted on integrity, the necessity of good grades first and athletics second, and that the members of his football team be good citizens. Obviously one of his assistant coaches of previous years was the antithesis of the values JoePa represents.
When Paterno was told of the sexual misconduct of his assistant coach with a 10 year old boy in a locker room shower, he immediately did what he was supposed to do - reported it to his boss, the athletic director. In retrospect, however, he should have followed up and when he discovered his boss wasn't doing anything about it, he should have reported it to the police. That he didn't follow up is a tragic lapse of his usual good sense and personal ethics.
I think the fact that the Board of Trustees fired him in a kneejerk reaction to the media frenzy that hit Penn State yesterday is wrong. Paterno had already stated he would retire at the end of the season, but they refused to let him retire with dignity, and that ignores all the money, media attention, and students that Coach and Mrs. Paterno have brought to the university, not to mention all the money they have given the university. Next thing you know, they'll be taking his name off the university library!
At 84, after an association with Penn State that began in 1946, Paterno was understandably tearful when he told his team he was no longer in charge. On Sat. they play Nebraska. Will the team go out determined to win for Joe, or will they be so saddened and unable to concentrate that they will lose badly? I hope it's the former.