An Open Letter to Penn State Students:
Young men and women:
Please go back to your dorms. Study hard. Have a beer if you’re of legal age. Play words with friends on your iPhones. Do anything other than what you are doing, which is rallying in support of Joe Paterno outside his home. You may think he has earned it, but he doesn’t deserve it. You don’t want pictures of you on ESPN.com cheering him when the full light of day is shone upon the horrific life of Jerry Sandusky and the moral bankruptcy that Coach Paterno and the University demonstrated. And you can be sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If he had resigned on Monday, too ashamed to coach anymore given the disgusting reality of the crimes that have been committed under his watch and with the knowledge that he did what he was supposed to do but not what he should have done, then you could go and say goodbye. Instead he is putting his team through scrutiny, manipulating your blind emotional attachment to him, and trying to maintain a dignity and a presence that he doesn’t realize is gone.
We are... Penn State. He should never be allowed to cheer those words in public again, let alone have you roar your approval. His trusted assistant and friend, his employee for over thirty years and a constant fixture on the Penn State campus until LAST WEEK, arguably the most famous defensive coordinator in the history of college football, has brought shame on the University. Not only did Coach Sandusky commit these heinous atrocities, but he used the fame and respect he gained from his position at the University to recruit his victims, and committed crimes on the University campus. In the football facilities! Don’t kid yourself, Joe Paterno knew what was going on. He probably didn’t know the full extent of it, nor does he bear any true legal responsibility, but he knows, deep down at night when the demons come, that he knew Jerry Sandusky was a monster and that he did nothing to stop him.
So please, kids. He doesn’t deserve your support, or your youthful enthusiasm, or your unbridled loyalty. Instead, you deserve for him to step down, so you can go to Beaver Stadium and cheer for your football team without shame.