Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno was fired tonight by the university’s board of trustees. It is unfortunate that such an honored man would have his long career end this way. From what I know, it is probably justified. But we never heard Joe’s version of what he knew back in 2002. I believe the school wanted to avoid watching the coach try to explain himself to the media while he’s still active with the football team. My advice for Coach Paterno is to sequester himself, hire a lawyer and a public relations firm, then give interviews to members of the media.
The grand jury report is very disturbing. A graduate assistant testified that he saw former assistant-coach Jerry Sandusky performing anal sex on a 10 year-old boy. The morning after the alleged abuse, the assistant reported it to Paterno by phone. In a meeting the next day, Coach Paterno told Athletic Director Tim Curley that the assistant described to him an incident of a sexual nature. That was the end of Paterno’s involvement in the incident.
Sandusky was long gone from the coaching staff at the time of this alleged incident. He still maintained access to Penn State facilities as a professor emeritus. Whether Coach Paterno continued to interact with Mr. Sandusky is unknown.
The university has been aware of the grand jury investigation since March. I don’t think the school prepared itself for the consequences of what might happen. Because of this, I believe the board of trustees acted in haste. This should lead to the eventual replacement of the current board.