Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three P's: PSU, Paterno, and the Press

The media storm about the scandal surrounding Penn State, it's football program, and head coach Joe Paterno has raged all week.  In brief, an assistant coach was a serial sexual abuser of children and was caught raping a 10 year old boy in the shower.  That was years ago.  The incident was reported and Paterno and the college administration covered it up.  Last night the Penn State Board of Trustees fired Paterno.

It was so clearly the right thing to do it is hard to fathom any other outcome. Yet many people predicted Paterno would hang on.  Especially when he announced yesterday afternoon he would retire after this season.  This is the free press in a democracy doing it's job.

A college in small town is an insular community.  Any such community will inevitably have a culture to protect it's own beyond the norm.  Maybe the Board of Trustees would have done this without the on going media storm. Maybe not.  The media made the decision all but inevitable. Everyone knows what happened.  Everyone knew those complicit were still employed by the PSU.  The university had to protect itself and start to make amends for what happened.  That couldn't happen with the conspirators still employed.

UPDATE:  I agree with John Cole that this is just the beginning. More bodies and more firings are coming down the pipeline.



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