Joe Paterno’s immediate firing was a sad, difficult decision on the part of Penn State’s board of trustees. And it was also the right decision. Children were horribly abused, and those with the power and moral authority to stop it sat on their hands.
We do not know all of the facts yet, but we do know some things. Paterno took an oath and told a grand jury that he heard an eyewitness report in 2002 that Sandusky was “fondling or doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy.” Those are the words from Paterno’s own testimony. Paterno reported this to his “supervisor” the athletic director, and the AD did not contact the police. Upon his AD’s failure to contact the police, Paterno did nothing. This is indefensible.
The trustees did the right thing not allowing Paterno to stand on the sidelines for even one more game. Weighed in the balance of what happened to these children, it is a light punishment for a grave sin of omission.