Despite child sex abuse scandal Penn State honors Joe Paterno

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In the nature of taking a couple steps forward and a million steps back, Penn State University chose to honor former head football coach Joe Paterno (1966-2012), in the midst of attempting to recover from Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse scandal on the 50th anniversary of Paterno’s first game as coach. On Sept. 17th during a home game against Temple University, Penn State moved forward in honoring deceased Paterno’s 46 seasons with the Nittany Lions despite being fired in 2011 for his involvement in a child sex abuse scandal centered around his assistant coach, Sandusky.

Sandusky, who is now serving a 30 to 60 year sentence, was convicted of 52 counts of sexual abuse on campus to young boys from 1994 to 2009. He would use the award winning organization he created and ran with Paterno to provide care for foster care children, The Second Mile, to scope out his next victims. The boys were between the ages of eight and 12 years old. Paterno, who died in Jan. of 2012, allegedly knew about the abuse as early as 1976, and is proven to know since the 1990’s, took part in keeping Sandusky’s actions in the dark.

Despite the negative response that was heard about Penn State’s choice to honor Paterno, they did so anyway.

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“I think a lot of people who come from Penn State families are proud of Joe Paterno and the Paterno family is very dear to many of them— but I know many people are upset about Joe Paterno’s role in the Sandusky scandal,” 2016 Penn State graduate, Amanda Simon said. “I myself am part of the group who thinks this [honoring Paterno] was an unwise decision. There are many who think he deserves some kind of recognition, especially after he passed away, but I think it would’ve been much wiser, to just let it be.”

Paterno’s family claims that the media aimed to shame Paterno and jumped on the story in hopes to tarnish his name. “He was an icon at Penn State,” 1988 Penn State graduate, Cheri Wagner said. “The sanctions against him and the University were above and beyond anything that should have been done. I am embarrassed by Jerry Sandusky, although I feel his actions are all on him. I am asked about it because I am an alum, but it gives me the opportunity to talk about the Joe Paterno we all loved, and the positive influence he had on students and players alike.”

Allegedly, a man that came forth as a victim of Sandusky’s back in 1976 claimed under sworn opposition that he approached Paterno about the abuse and was rebuffed by him. The same victim claimed he was even paid a settlement by Penn State.

As of today, Penn State representatives do not respond when asked about the honoring of Paterno and refer back to their initial press release back in 2011 when speaking about the scandal.

“As an alum, I believe that the great majority know all the good Joe did for the university in general and the sports programs specifically, and that he should be honored for his many contributions.” Wagner said.

Despite the negative response that was heard about Penn State’s choice to honor Paterno, they did so anyway.

“Half of the people think that it was tragic but some innocent people got mixed up in it and it wasn’t their fault, and some people are still  enraged about it and are trying to fight the spread of sports culture around campus,” Amanda Simon said, “the whole time I’m sitting here asking how could an institution put such an emphasis on sports culture that something like this could happen in the first place?”