I originally wrote this on January 22, 2012. I took what at the time was an unpopular stance against Joe Paterno and other Penn State staffers and I was attacked for it. That day I lost over 300 readers. I was called names and I was told to "stick to what I know - babies and kitchens." I didn't care. I knew that someone had to say it and I wasn't afraid.
Yesterday the the former head of the FBI, Louis Freeh, released his findings in the Sandusky case and they've said that without a doubt Joe Paterno and other officials at Penn State knew what was going on and they helped cover it up. Those men were monsters. They might not have touched the kids with their own hands, but what they did was almost worse. They turned their backs and ignored them. I hope they all rot in prison.
Today was a quiet Sunday afternoon and I opened up my Facebook and noticed a trend of "RIP Joe Paterno" on a number of my friends' walls.
Of course I knew he'd died. I don't live under a rock. Every news outlet was reporting about his death.
And of course, I felt bad for his family that they'd lost him.
I don't follow sports, so I don't know anything about his legacy as the most winningest coach or what have you and I never went to Penn State.
I have read the glowing accounts of what a great coach he was and what a terrific ambassador he was for Penn State. He was obviously a revered man who was well loved by his family and perfect strangers.
He came to my attention during the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. All I know is that Paterno didn't go to the police when he should have and to me that outweighs all of his good deeds.
As a mother, nothing infuriates me more than to know that innocent children who needed protection at their most vulnerable time did not get it from a man they looked up to and admired. I don't just blame Joe Paterno. I blame the Penn State officials. I blame Mike McQueary. I blame anyone who puts profit over the welfare of the children they are entrusted with.
As far as I'm concerned he's not a hero in my book. So I wrote a simple sentence on the Facebook page for this blog: "Am I the only person who doesn't care Joe Paterno died? My FB is blowing up with RIPs."
Who knew what a simple sentence could do to people? Within an hour I had 256 comments about what I'd said. Some were as simple as: I agree to people hoping he's burning in hell to others calling for my throat to be punched for uttering the words "I don't care."
I obviously touched a nerve on this one. Who knew? Here's the thing. He was old. I'm sorry if he suffered. I don't doubt he's missed by his family. However, I do think he made a terrible error in judgment when he didn't report the abuse to the police. I don't know why he didn't report it. I really don't care what his excuses were. He simply should have.
I don't wish ill of the dead, I'm just putting myself in the shoes of the parents of the children who were violated. I am speaking out for them, because if I were one of them I would hope someone else would speak out for me.
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