Blogosphere unrelenting on Penn State, Paterno
Joe Paterno, who had coached at Penn State for 45 years, is not facing charges in the case.
November 10th, 2011
03:26 PM ET

Blogosphere unrelenting on Penn State, Paterno

The Internet and much of the nation Thursday was abuzz with talk of Penn State and the ouster of its legendary coach, Joe Paterno.

As fans, observers and pundits come to terms with the child sex abuse allegations in Happy Valley and Paterno's unceremonious firing, the head scratching has begun.

Interim coach takes helm at Penn State with 'mixed emotions'

Social-networking sites and Internet forums were full of musings about Penn State, the coach, his legacy and the allegations, while TV's talking heads and radio piled on about the scandal. Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football, has faced withering criticism over his response to the child rape charges against ex-assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

NPR's Michel Martin questioned a society that has stood idly by one time too many.

"Can I just tell you? It's easy to sit here and condemn these people, rage against them. And I will confess I've spent more than a few minutes composing in my head the insults I'd like to deliver to them all. If you've ever been victimized, is there anything worse than knowing that someone knew, that someone could have helped you, and didn't?" she asked.

One day after Penn State students took to the streets, many of them are grappling with the loss of the only thing in their lives they've come to regard as constant: "Joe Pa" barking on the sidelines amid a cadre of hulking Nittany Lions players.

State College, site of the Penn State University campus, was trending on the popular microblogging site Twitter. And users were scolding the school for what it purportedly did or did not do. “From day 1 it's hard to argue that Paterno WASN'T a key part of the cover up," tweeted @NFLGoodWitch.

Even celebrities were not above the fray.

Actor Ashton Kutcher apologized for a tweet he sent out Wednesday in support of Paterno, saying he didn't have the "full story." "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste," he said in a post that has since been deleted.

Late Wednesday, Paterno - appearing stunned but still dignified - addressed the crowd. “Right now, I’m not the football coach. And I’ve got to get used to that. After 61 years, I’ve got to get used to it,” he said, speaking outside his house. “Let me think it through.”

Commentators did as well. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd spoke of a “personal foul” committed by those in power at Penn State in the wake of the allegations.

“Like the Roman Catholic Church, Penn State is an arrogant institution hiding behind its mystique,” she wrote. “The Paterno cult of personality tried to strike back. Students protested, clinging to the mythical hero they did not want unmasked.”

My Take: Paterno's unfulfilled ethical obligations

Paterno reported the allegations to his boss. Pennsylvania's attorney general has said it appeared Paterno had met his obligations under state law, but critics have said the coach should have reported the suspected abuse to police.

But many felt that taking shots at the longtime Penn State coach was obscuring the real issue.

Award–winning columnist Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press openly pleaded that the accused should remain the focus of the scandal.

“Sandusky is the story. Sandusky - and the victims. Many of them are young men now. They face a lifetime of nightmares and issues with intimacy and trust. Ask any expert. The damager may have gone away. The damage never does," Albom wrote.

"We should not lose sight of this in the rush to crush the biggest name in the paragraph,” he said.

Sports scribe Jeff Pearlman, author of books on controversial sports figures Barry Bonds and Walter Payton, said Paterno should shoulder the blame, plain and simple.

“If we are going to blame a president for a poor economy and a CEO for mediocre profits and a camp counselor for a bad summer, how do we not blame a head football coach - especially a head football coach with this much power and sway - for what goes on with the people he hired?”

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Poynter Review project blog chastised the sports network for not recognizing the enormity of the allegations against the Penn State program.

“With the biggest staff of sports journalists in the world, ESPN should have been leading the charge to ask tough questions and shed light on this scandal," the blog said. "The tone of the early ESPN coverage was spotty - sometimes getting it right, but more often seeming inappropriate. It wasn't until mid-afternoon Tuesday that ESPN finally seemed consistently to ask the right questions and find the appropriate moral outrage. That's 72 hours after the story first broke.”

In a front-page editorial, the Penn State student newspaper captured the angst of a conflicted student body.

"This was not the way the most legendary coach in college sports was supposed to go. Wednesday night was an embarrassment for Penn State," The Daily Collegian said.

Even Happy Valley’s institutions felt they too needed to apologize, or perhaps rebrand themselves after so much association and influence with the man who has embodied the place.

On Happyvalley.com, a post titled “Unhappy Valley,” perhaps said it best: “Like many alumni and fans we feel angry at the current administration and confused about how to express this anger amidst the love we still feel for our school and our team. We are sad, we are embarrassed, we are furious. And yet, we are, still and always, Penn State.”

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Filed under: College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. raven

    So all the (ahem )information you relay here is all your own huh ? All the statistics and research you post here are studies YOU, YOURSELF did huh ? You stand on the shoulders of giants and claim THEIR hard work and by- God research as your own. You glean lil bits of info from articles others have written and post YOUR opinion, just like the rest of us. Youre no better than what you say you despise. And I used to think you were nice.

    November 11, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. THIRSTING FOR THE WORD

    I think he is saying READING IS FUNDAMENTAL

    November 11, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    Hi jazzzz, reading really IS fundamental. That wasnt my point though. My point was that we ALL gather pieces of information from different sources and we take what interests us, file it away and use it to form our opinions. But to philosophies those bits of information and use them as ammo as if they were our own ideas while criticising others for the same thing is a bit hypocritical.

    November 11, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    ms, he takes information, even false information, and twists it into his own twisted ideology. You know that. Remember that pron blog? He took YOUR information and transferred it to ME. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am still continually amazed at his audacity to take a snippet of information and turn it into a full-blown erroneous diagnosis. I question everything he says now; not his "information" that he posts ad nauseum, but all of his personal experiences. It's as if he has taken all the sins of his mother and pasted them onto any female who doesn't swallow his "teachings". He apparently doesn't like women to have an independent thought, as evidenced by his rants on the 60's; he has transferred his mother's behavior onto us. In his mind, there are monsters around every corner; but what he hasn't realized yet is the monster lives inside him. They're one in the same.

    Glad to see that he and jazz are back together; he gets too focused on us when he isn't.

    November 11, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jessica Cohen

    My thoughts as a proud Penn State alumni: http://www.foundthemarbles.com/2011/11/still-bleeding-blue-and-white/

    November 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D. Dawson

    My Hero............victam 1

    November 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wendy5

    joey boy is going to get sick and die soon; he wont be able to handle this; stress will get him soon ; bunch of disgusting jocks lmao i hate football and the rest of the sports always new there was a reason why; anyone that has a degree from this pit may as well throw it away it is offically worthless they will have to close this place no one will apply no one is interested in a pedephille degree; hahahahahahaha i have to laugh at all the snooty people that come from this school big jocks yea well now we know what you creeps have been doing; your as bad as the priests hahahahahahahahahaha; its just to funny; are they having thankgiving in penn state next week what are they having stuffed penis

    November 18, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
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