Dick Vitale of ESPN and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski seem to have a problem doing so. Vitale insinuates only the focus should be on Sandusky and not on Paterno. First off, that is wrong for two obvious reasons. Joe Paterno himself stated that he "should have done more" and it was the untouchable greatness of Penn State football that was created by him. Undoubtedly, Sandusky's involvement in Penn State football gave him more power to commit his horrible crimes.
Here are some of Dick Vitale's tweets from earlier this month:
“You had somebody who’d given six decades of service to the university and done such an incredible job,” Krzyzewski said of Paterno. “Somehow, you have to let – something has to play out and respect the fact that you’ve gone through all these experiences for six decades. And it doesn’t just go out the window, right at the end.”
Dick Vitale and Mike Kryzewski just do not get it. No matter the accomplishments of Paterno, it does just "go out the window" when child abuse is involved. Paterno deserved termination and that should not even be arguable. Apparently, they have been on the ESPN airwaves too long and need to come down to reality.
One of many problems that contributed to this case of child sexual abuse is denial. Paterno never chose to investigate or believe that Sandusky was doing such a thing since he was his former assistant coach and friend. Of my knowing, he never questioned Sandusky, pressed for more information, or asked about Sandusky's immense involvement with children. Paterno passed what information Mike McQueary told him on to his bosses and that was it. Well, that obviously was not enough. Some of these acts happened on Penn State property and someone could have prevented Sandusky's access.
If it was a family member of Vitale or Krzyzewski would going to "his bosses" had been enough for their children or grandchildren?
Would his "incredible job" had mattered if it was their family member?
This goes far beyond a legendary football coaching career and also beyond funding of a library to boost the educational establishment. Because no matter how much a person gives, innocent people had something taken that can not be given back. Am I saying that Joe Paterno should be demonized or the fall guy for these monstrous acts? No. But he is forever linked and rightfully so. It can no longer be acceptable for someone to just pass on or turn a blind eye to alleged child abuse just because they have an allegiance to side with their friend.
I believe that friends and colleagues were in disbelief when they needed to realize the seriousness of the situation which seems to be an ongoing problem in something like child sexual abuse that is too taboo to talk about for some. That is the problem in which Vitale and Krzyzewski are going through. Yes, Paterno did many great things, but his failure to not act enough is tragic. Dick Vitale and Mike Krzyzewski, you are both educated adults that can deal with the fact that he had great accomplishments, but also made a devastating mistake that cannot be forgotten.
Back on January 23, 2012, Dick Vitale wrote on ESPN.com:
"It was so tragic and so sad the way this all ended. It really disturbs me that many people will talk about the Jerry Sandusky situation instead of remembering Paterno's dedication, integrity and loyalty. He even admitted that he probably could have done more in this Sandusky probe. He did everything within the rules, going to the proper authorities when informed of indiscretions."
I am not saying that nothing should be said about the good deeds of Paterno and the above statement was written shortly after Paterno's passing, but as much as it hurts Vitale and others, people will and should talk about the Sandusky situation in relation to Paterno. No good deeds can justify what was taken from the lives of the victims.
According to ChildHelp.org, every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving 6 million children. That is why condemning Paterno's blunder is so important. Sandusky was the monster that committed the horrendous acts, but there also needs to be serious steps taken in prevention. It is far more important to remember the abuse to prevent further from happening than it is to remember a football coaching career as legendary. Joe Paterno was a man not a god and many almost forgot that until this scandal. As much as fans and others love the late Joe Paterno, they can still do so, but they have to remember his mistake. We must remember both, because we have to.
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