Posts tagged “Joe Paterno

Death, Joe Paterno and Cocktail Weiners

The cocktail wieners started smoking when I heard Paterno died. Apparently I was using too much heat or not enough sauce or wasn’t really stirring them. I dunno. The point being that I didn’t even bother to glance up from “ma cookin” when I heard he had passed. Paterno was dead and dead people don’t care about burnt cocktail wieners.

That Sunday I drank and watched football. I cursed several times for not betting on the Giants, I ate wieners and pizza, and I thought how ugly I’d look sporting Ed Reed’s man-face hairs. I cheered, I yelled, I indulged. But in the midst of it all, a tweet brought me out of my football cloud. It was only a simple peck, but it still rattled my mood and left me creeping into the thorny patch of my mind where Penn State had stained itself.

The Paterno hashtag was already rumbling at a torrent pace when I started sifting through it. It seemed like guilt and raw-emotions were piling onto the closure side of the scale, while others still fumed and radiated bile and puss. Surprisingly though, it was a one-sided battle. People still loved Joe. It seemed that decades of football and inspiration were outweighing disgrace and dismissal. I didn’t need to add to the rushing waters, but I did. I couldn’t help it. I needed to say something.

I thought it’d be simple to quickly blurt out my distaste, that I could return to my bbq sauce, processed meat and television. But it wasn’t. My thoughts quickly tangled and I couldn’t fully grasp how I felt about his death. Did I mourn for his for his legacy? No. Did I sympathize for his family over their loss? Yes. Was I still appalled about the whole mess? Yes. Didn’t I feel bad that Joe wasn’t able to truly tell his side of the story? Yes.

It was confusing. Sandusky is the real villain, but how much did the emperor really know about the kingdom he built?

I was momentarily too wrapped up in the empathy I had for his family to really see the situation for what it was. But then I snapped out of it.

I realized that Joe had spent decades trying to affect young peoples’ lives, but that he failed to act for the kids that needed him most.

Penn State had caught Sandusky in a sexually explicit act with a minor, and Joe Paterno did nothing. It was his show, his house, his program, and he chose to ignore it for a game. Or he at least let others push him into ignoring it.

The simple truth was that children were being hurt. It didn’t matter what Joe had built, he brought it all down when he turned his back to that.

And so I tweeted: Joe Paterno was and will always be a piece of shit. It didn’t add anything to the discussion, but it was enough for me to put the matter to rest and get back to my cocktail weiners.


Paterno Ousted

Paterno is the winningest coach in college football history.

Joe Paterno’s 46-year tenure as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions ended unceremoniously with his firing Wednesday night.

School President Graham Spanier was also terminated in the wake of the scandalous sex-abuse allegations against longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky, defensive coordinator under coach Paterno, has been charged with molesting eight boys over a 15-year period.

Although Sandusky maintains his innocence, the shocking nature of the scandal has rocked the university and has been a firestorm for the media.

Paterno, who had planned to coach in the upcoming game on Saturday, had announced earlier that he would be retiring at the end of the season. Outraged media pundits, alumni, former players, and parents quickly denounced that decision, and Paterno was quickly made to hasten his departure by the university.

According to, the university’s board vice chair John Surma informed Paterno and Spanier in a phone call.

“The Penn State board of trustees tonight decided it is in the best interest of the university to have a change in leadership to deal with the difficult issues that we are facing,” said Surma.

“The past several days have been absolutely terrible for the entire Penn State community. But the outrage we feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological suffering that allegedly took place.”

The reports from the grand jury findings that ignited this scandal are as graphic as they are disturbing.

In team sports where players from different backgrounds come together under the strict tutelage and guidance of coaches, the thought that one of those mentors could abuse his responsibilities so flagrantly and repeatedly is horrific. It’s disgusting that an individual could be so selfish in his desires.

What’s worse, is the indications that leadership from the university, including Paterno, knew about these crimes and chose to do nothing.

Paterno, who has the most wins in NCAA football history, has an equally impressive record of having 87% of his players graduate. He’s served the university and students for decades, but the former coach didn’t act when he most needed to. And because of his actions and other officials at Penn State, more children were able to be harmed.

This is a terrible story. Sports are supposed to be a release for fans and a safe heaven for athletes. If the allegations are true then Jerry Sandusky is nothing more than a monster, and deserves to spend the rest of his life in cell.

This is an utter failure by Penn State,  and a tragedy for everyone involved.

Michael Claire