Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Not good enough, Joe

Paterno era must end now, not at the end of the season.

Not good enough, Joe

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has announced that he will retire after the season.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has announced that he will retire after the season. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

So Joe Paterno is going out on his own terms – assuming his terms are as a tone-deaf, misguided enabler of the most abhorrent behavior ever attached to a sports entity of any kind.

The news that Paterno has “decided to retire” at the end of this football season would have been a headline grabber in any of the previous 10 years.  It is an absurd afterthought in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky grand jury report. Retire? At the end of the season?

Fine. Then Penn State University president Graham Spanier should – no, must – suspend Paterno for the remaining games of the 2011 season. Say it’s pending the internal investigation necessitated by the grand jury charges. Say whatever. Just stop Paterno from making another public appearance as head coach of your football team.

Oh, and will he’s at it, Spanier needs to do three more things: suspend assistant coach Mike McQueary for the same reason, decline any bowl invitation that might come Penn State’s way, then finally resign his own office.

More coverage
 
Read Paterno's retirement announcement
Video: Paterno addresses fans outside his home
 
Rich Hofmann: No one made the right call at Penn State
 
Bob Ford: Clock runs down on Paterno

It’s over. Just accept that. It is past time to start scrubbing away this stain before it spreads even a little bit more. Spanier, Paterno, Tim Curley – these men have forfeited the right to be part of the solution. They have violated the trust of the university, its students and alumni, and the taxpayers of the commonewealth who support the entire enterprise.

Paterno’s announcement that he’ll retire is a charade. His contract was set to expire anyway. Was there some chance he was going to get a contract extension? Of course not. It was a given that Paterno was finished when the season ended. That’s not good enough anymore.

Paterno can’t coach Saturday. He can’t coach again. To do so would be to mock the suffering of Sandusky’s alleged victims. That was the effect of the idiotic student rally in Paterno’s support Tuesday night, and it would be even worse if this madness is allowed to continue for another minute, another day, another game.

It’s over, Joe. Not in December, but now.

Phil Sheridan Inquirer Columnist
About this blog
Phil Sheridan has been covering pro and college sports in his hometown since 1985. He has been a columnist at the Inquirer since 2003, after a seven-year run as the paper's Eagles beat writer. Sheridan has covered eight Olympics, numerous Super Bowls and World Series, and has seen Guided By Voices and Wilco too many times to count. He lives, cooks and pursues the ultimate margarita blend in Langhorne. Reach Phil at psheridan@phillynews.com.

Phil Sheridan
Phil Sheridan Inquirer Columnist
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