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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Coach Joe Paterno not to blame for Sandusky

    Joe Paterno was done in by the one thing he lived by: loyalty. The late Paterno, ex-college football coach of Penn State, has shouldered much of the blame for not reporting Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse crimes.

    Paterno and Sandusky were friends and colleagues for decades. They shared a mutual trust that can only be present in longtime friendships. Dan Wetzel, a sports columnist for Yahoo.com, described Paterno as a person who only cared about those who were already cared for and a man who looked away when trouble struck. “He turned his back on the very kids that were desperate for the kind of hero that Joe Paterno’s former legacy claimed he was all about,” Wetzel said.

    With the exposure of the recent Freeh report, people are putting even more blame on Paterno for not doing his part to turn in the vicious criminal.

    But how much is really his fault?

    What Wetzel fails to understand is that other people knew the facts. Paterno had informed the now ex-president of Penn State Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley. Also, senior vice president Gary Schultz, who was overseeing the campus police at the time, did nothing after gaining knowledge of what happened.

    Paterno was also blamed for not taking action when Sandusky was initially accused in 1998, but it was the campus police who hastily dropped the case.

    By entrusting the issue to the school’s authority, wasn’t Paterno following necessary protocol?

    From 1969­ to 1999, Paterno and Sandusky were on the same team. They were together for the entire football preseason and regular season for 30 years. Paterno had assurance and reliance in Sandusky, he thought that his friend truly was helping those less fortunate and teaching them about the game that he held so dear to him.

    Could Paterno have done more to ensure that a deleterious rapist wasn’t doing harm to the children of the Second Mile? Yes. Should most of the blame be put on his shoulders? Absolutely not.
    Paterno took the steps to inform the school leaders. He had asked Sandusky about the allegations and received answers he believed to be true.

    It is perfectly reasonable to put some blame on the legendary coach, but it makes no sense to attack him personally and tarnish his reputation as the best college football coach in history.

    For a man that gave so much to the school and the community, the pieces don’t add up. How could a man who cared for his players and the well-being of everybody surrounding the school be so callous when it came to those young boys? He wasn’t. He trusted Sandusky, and when you trust somebody, sometimes you don’t want to see the shadow lurking behind them.

    —Robert Alcaraz is the visuals editor. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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