Joe Paterno Fired

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Joe Paterno Fired

Did they do the right thing to fire him or should they have let him finish out the season and retire gracefully?

Violence erupted on the campus of Penn State Wednesday night after the school's board of trustees ousted its legendary football coach and university president in the wake of a widening child sex abuse scandal.

Riot police were deployed in State College, Pa., late Wednesday as thousands of Penn State supporters vented their anger at the firing of head football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier over the school's handling of child sex abuse allegations against a former coaching assistant.

At around 12:20 a.m. local time Thursday, the university issued an official police dispersal order through Facebook, warning students to vacate downtown State College immediately. It came after several violent scenes in which protesters flipped over a media van and destroyed other property.

About 2,000 people gathered at Old Main and moved to an area called Beaver Canyon, a street ringed by student apartments that were used in past riots to pelt police, Fox affiliate WTXF-TV reported.

The disorder escalated after the school's board of trustees held an emergency meeting Wednesday night and later announced that they had dismissed Paterno, the longest-tenured coach in major-college football, and Graham Spanier, the school's president for the past 16 years.

Both were ousted by a board of trustees fed up with the damage being done to the university's reputation by a child sex-abuse scandal involving Paterno's one-time heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky.

Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period through a charity he founded for at-risk youth.

Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, vice president for finance and business, have also been charged with perjury in connection with their testimony before a grand jury considering the evidence against Sandusky. They failed to notify authorities about the abuse, prosecutors said. Curley and Schultz have maintained their innocence.

While several arrests were made in State College Wednesday night, the disorder was controlled amid a strong presence from state police.

Hundreds of students gathered at the HUB-Robeson Center, the student union, to watch the board of trustees' news conference on a big screen. When the announcement came that Paterno would not coach again at Penn State, students gasped and hushed. Women began to weep.

John Surma, the board's vice president, said he called Paterno at home Wednesday to deliver the news. He said the board's vote was unanimous.

About two hours after the firing, Paterno came out of his house to greet about 200 students who had gathered there, WTXF-TV reported.

"Pray for the [sexual abuse] victims," he told the crowd. "We love you."

He also issued a statement, obtained by Fox News, saying that he was disappointed with the board's decision but would have to accept it.

"A tragedy occurred, and we all have to have patience to let the legal process proceed," his statement said. "I appreciate the outpouring of support but want to emphasize that everyone should remain calm, and please respect the university, its property and all that we value."

Paterno added, "I have been incredibly blessed to spend my entire career working with people I love. I am grateful beyond words to all of the coaches, players and staff who have been a part of this program. And to all of our fans and supporters, my family and I will be forever in your debt."

Earlier Wednesday, Paterno had announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

He had planned to coach Saturday against Nebraska in what is the team's final home game of the season. Just before 4:00 p.m. local time, he left his home to attend football practice.

"At this moment, the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status," he said. "They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can."

Paterno, 84, major-college football's all-time wins leader, had come under criticism for how he responded to learning of an alleged incident involving Sandusky and a child in 2002.

Sandusky, a Penn State coach from 1969 to 1999, has been charged with 21 felony counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a decade and a half. Sandusky has maintained that he is innocent of the charges.

Upon hearing of the incident from a witness, later identified as Mike McQueary, who is now the team's wide-receivers coach, Paterno reported it to athletic director Tim Curley but not to police, according to state prosecutors.

Although Paterno has not been charged in the case, Pennsylvania state police commissioner Frank Noonan suggested there was a "moral responsibility" to contact police about potential sexual abuse involving children.

Assistant coach Tom Bradley will take over from Paterno in an interim capacity, while the school's executive vice president and provost Rodney A. Erickson will replace Spanier as president.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/10/penn-state-students-flood-streets-after-firing-paterno/#ixzz1dJeMj06Y

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They did the right thing.

I'm very sad about the whole thing and I wish it didn't have to end this way for him. There were so many people involved who could have done the right thing, but as a head coach i think its somewhat expected that a lot of this will come down on you in the end. He made bad decisions back then, I'm sure now he regrets them.

But this is one of those times that you need to send a clear message. If you can't do the right thing because its right.....do it because it will ruin you in the end, as this cannot be tolerated.

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The thing is, whoever is investigating this issue (lawyers, police, etc) has taken statements and has stated that Joe Paterno is not being investigated, based on the testimony of all involved. They are, however, investigating a number of other people, including Sandusky and the people mentioned in the article. If the state offices have essentially "cleared" Paterno, why is he the school's scapegoat?

Also, I think it's appalling that they did it by phone. A man who has worked with the school for 40+ (or is it 60?) years and has given his time and money and heart to the school deserves more than a phone call. My husband went to Penn State and has talked for years about how Paterno had high expectations for his football players. They were expected to keep good grades and, if they got into trouble, they were made to sit on the sidelines for multiple games. He's an honorable man who may or may not have had a lapse in judgment.

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"b525" wrote:

The thing is, whoever is investigating this issue (lawyers, police, etc) has taken statements and has stated that Joe Paterno is not being investigated, based on the testimony of all involved. They are, however, investigating a number of other people, including Sandusky and the people mentioned in the article. If the state offices have essentially "cleared" Paterno, why is he the school's scapegoat?

Because he could have gone to the police with the information he had and he did not.

To me this isn't nec. about if he is guilty of something criminal....but an issue of doing the right thing in a serious matter, and being in a position to either contributing to a cover-up, or doing what one can to properly investigate the gravest of crimes.

Also, I think it's appalling that they did it by phone. A man who has worked with the school for 40+ (or is it 60?) years and has given his time and money and heart to the school deserves more than a phone call. My husband went to Penn State and has talked for years about how Paterno had high expectations for his football players. They were expected to keep good grades and, if they got into trouble, they were made to sit on the sidelines for multiple games. He's an honorable man who may or may not have had a lapse in judgment.

He absolutely had a lapse in judgement! How can you even say he 'may not' have? I don't think there is any question about his character as a coach and a person over all. Just that his most definite lapse in judgement was a very costly one, which is unfortunate for him.

I think it would be appropriate to do some more house cleaning in their system after all of this is said and done. But if Paterno knows it was wrong enough that he needs to retire....he should know its wrong enough that he needs to go now, not at the end of the season.

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I think they absolutely did the right thing. How could they let him coach a GAME with people sitting on the sidelines cheering for him knowing that he allowed children to be raped when he could have stopped it. What I think is sad is that these students are rioting in support of him. How could you support someone after what he did (or didn't do).

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I say he may not have because there is some question of what he knew in the story, that the person who told him about the problem wasn't clear or that the wording he used was weird or something. That's why I say "may or may not have." If the grand jury was questioning that, then it's reasonable for me to question it, as well, based on the information that we have been given.

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"b525" wrote:

I say he may not have because there is some question of what he knew in the story, that the person who told him about the problem wasn't clear or that the wording he used was weird or something. That's why I say "may or may not have." If the grand jury was questioning that, then it's reasonable for me to question it, as well, based on the information that we have been given.

Well wouldn't you use weird wording too under the situation if you were afraid of the potential outfall?

I think this is a whole lot of excuse making, to make it sound like no one had the responsibility to do something about it. Do you honestly believe that he did not have an understanding of what was going on? weird wording or not? He knew enough to report it to *someone*...he just didn't report it to law enforcement.

And like i said....his firing to me isn't about any criminal or law breaking issue on his behalf...but about integrity and sending a message about what the institution should and should not tolerate.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I think they absolutely did the right thing. How could they let him coach a GAME with people sitting on the sidelines cheering for him knowing that he allowed children to be raped when he could have stopped it. What I think is sad is that these students are rioting in support of him. How could you support someone after what he did (or didn't do).

But, he did try to do something to stop it. If I went to my principal and told her I thought a student was being abused and she talked to me about it, wrote down what I knew and said she'd follow through with it, I would expect that she would follow through with it. Similarly, Paterno went to the athletic director (who presumably was in charge of Sandusky) and Gary Schultze (who is in finance/business, but is also in charge of campus police). If they said they'd taken care of it, what is he supposed to do? Did he know it was an ongoing situation? As far as we know, he was told once about it and immediately reported it.

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"b525" wrote:

But, he did try to do something to stop it. If I went to my principal and told her I thought a student was being abused and she talked to me about it, wrote down what I knew and said she'd follow through with it, I would expect that she would follow through with it. Similarly, Paterno went to the athletic director (who presumably was in charge of Sandusky) and Gary Schultze (who is in finance/business, but is also in charge of campus police). If they said they'd taken care of it, what is he supposed to do? Did he know it was an ongoing situation? As far as we know, he was told once about it and immediately reported it.

So if someone came to you and told you they personally witnessed a 10 year old boy being raped, you would feel like you had done your duty if you reported it to your superiors even if nothing happened? This happened in 2002!

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"b525" wrote:

But, he did try to do something to stop it. If I went to my principal and told her I thought a student was being abused and she talked to me about it, wrote down what I knew and said she'd follow through with it, I would expect that she would follow through with it. Similarly, Paterno went to the athletic director (who presumably was in charge of Sandusky) and Gary Schultze (who is in finance/business, but is also in charge of campus police). If they said they'd taken care of it, what is he supposed to do? Did he know it was an ongoing situation? As far as we know, he was told once about it and immediately reported it.

I could not disagree with you more. If I knew that there was an eyewitness to the rape/sodomy (or even weird touching! or nakedness!) with a 10 year old and my colleague, I would NOT accept "Oh, I passed my buck, weird that he is still working here with me every day, and working with his YOUNG BOYS ORGANIZATION, but oh well, guess someone handled that little mess".

I'm a penn state fan. I shook Joe's hand at the Orange Bowl 7 or so years ago. Been a fan for life. Love and revere JoePa. This was wrong. And I can say this ~

I would MUCH rather apologize for rushing to an incorrect judgement than I would apologize for turning a blind eye to the rape of 17 (with more to come I would bet) boys. If Joe is cleared in full and new information comes to light, the board will apologize. He will be reinstated and vindicated. His legend or legacy will reflect that he was unfairly fired, and then reinstated. It will up his legend. Until then, this is a clear case of damage control, which I support in an incident as hideous as this. Heads are, and should be rolling.

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They absolutely did the right thing. Hands down. No question. This situation sickens me-- so do the students who are protesting Joe's firing. Sick.

If I reported abuse of a child to a superior and I didn't see that person in handcuffs-- you better believe I'd be screaming and calling the police myself. How could you possibly sleep at night? Knowing that that sick bastard was still around young people and free to do as he wanted? It is disgusting.

The AD and the coach almost convict themselves when they say things like "we told him he couldn't be around young people anymore"-- WTH? So not acceptable on any level.

I hold the grad assistant, the coach, the AD, the Joe personally responsible. There is no excuse for not shouting from the rooftops that a young boy was raped in a locker room and that the man who did it is on the sidelines. Sick.

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"boilermaker" wrote:

They absolutely did the right thing. Hands down. No question. This situation sickens me-- so do the students who are protesting Joe's firing. Sick.

If I reported abuse of a child to a superior and I didn't see that person in handcuffs-- you better believe I'd be screaming and calling the police myself. How could you possibly sleep at night? Knowing that that sick bastard was still around young people and free to do as he wanted? It is disgusting.

The AD and the coach almost convict themselves when they say things like "we told him he couldn't be around young people anymore"-- WTH? So not acceptable on any level.

I hold the grad assistant, the coach, the AD, the Joe personally responsible. There is no excuse for not shouting from the rooftops that a young boy was raped in a locker room and that the man who did it is on the sidelines. Sick.

Exactly. Especially the bolded. I find the grad assistant to be especially disturbing. I am not sure how you witness the sodomy of a child without intervening in that moment, let alone just letting it drop after supposedly reporting it to administration. You are a witness to a crime. It's your legal responsibility to be the voice for that child. I absolutely think that everyone who witnessed or had knowledge of these ongoing crimes are culpable as accessories. Aside from losing jobs, there should be legal prosecution as well (especially of direct witnesses).

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"Khaki" wrote:

Aside from losing jobs, there should be legal prosecution as well (especially of direct witnesses).

I totally agree.

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For me, it comes down to this: If the prosecuting attorneys have determined that Paterno does not need to be charged with something, after all sorts of testimony from all sorts of people, maybe there's more to the story that we don't know.

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Do we yet know if the DA had access to the eye witness accounts or was he only dealing with secondhand information after the fact? If an eye witness to sodomy of a child came forward there should have been a huge investigation at the very least. Since that didn't happen, yes, I think it is reasonable to question the whole situation. I do not think DA's are somehow above making a mistake or being unduly influenced to not prosecute. Especially given the fact that the DA in question disappeared off the face of the earth. There is much to this story we don't know, but that doesn't mean we can't be appalled by what we are learning. At the very least children were harmed. That enough is reason to delve further.

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"b525" wrote:

For me, it comes down to this: If the prosecuting attorneys have determined that Paterno does not need to be charged with something, after all sorts of testimony from all sorts of people, maybe there's more to the story that we don't know.

I guess i don't understand why it relies so much on what happens legally.

People get fired from their jobs all the time for things other than legal crimes. Is it because to you....if he is not criminally charged, then he did nothing morally wrong?

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"Khaki" wrote:

Do we yet know if the DA had access to the eye witness accounts or was he only dealing with secondhand information after the fact? If an eye witness to sodomy of a child came forward there should have been a huge investigation at the very least. Since that didn't happen, yes, I think it is reasonable to question the whole situation. I do not think DA's are somehow above making a mistake or being unduly influenced to not prosecute. Especially given the fact that the DA in question disappeared off the face of the earth. There is much to this story we don't know, but that doesn't mean we can't be appalled by what we are learning. At the very least children were harmed. That enough is reason to delve further.

Absolutely. Please don't think I'm negating this awful, horrific thing that happened! I think they *are* delving further, though. That's my point. They're prosecuting other people, but not Joe.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

I guess i don't understand why it relies so much on what happens legally.

People get fired from their jobs all the time for things other than legal crimes. Is it because to you....if he is not criminally charged, then he did nothing morally wrong?

No, just that there might be more to the story. It just seems weird to me that they're prosecuting other people and not him. To me, that means there could be more that we don't know.

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To me, this goes beyond what one is legally required to do. Morally Mr. Paterno had an obligation to these children and these victims to do something. I literally would be printing it in the paper myself if I knew that there was a man who raped a child and was not arrested.

The school should hold him to a higher ethical standard than the minimum that the law requires....

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But even Joe says that in hindsight "he should have done more"-- that alone is reason enough to fire him IMO.

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"b525" wrote:

For me, it comes down to this: If the prosecuting attorneys have determined that Paterno does not need to be charged with something, after all sorts of testimony from all sorts of people, maybe there's more to the story that we don't know.

Something can be morally wrong without being a prosecutable offense. This to me is kind of like the people that walked by after that child was hit on the road in China and did nothing. How could you look the other way when you know that someone raped a child and they are still free and working with children. He also had to have known when this was reported to him in 2002 that there had been previous reports, the campus police even did an investigation in 1998.

http://deadspin.com/5856777/a-guide-to-the-sexual-child-abuse-charges-against-jerry-sandusky-and-to-penn-states-alleged-willful-ignorance

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"boilermaker" wrote:

But even Joe says that in hindsight "he should have done more"-- that alone is reason enough to fire him IMO.

Right....this is it for me....what he has said about it is enough for me to know this is the right thing to do...i don't need some court ruling or law enforcement system sort of telling me whats right or wrong in this situation.

And sure...maybe there are things that we don't know, but i suspect the board knows more than any of us do. I think they were perfectly equipped to make this decision and I really don't doubt its the right one.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

Right....this is it for me....what he has said about it is enough for me to know this is the right thing to do...i don't need some court ruling or law enforcement system sort of telling me whats right or wrong in this situation.

And sure...maybe there are things that we don't know, but i suspect the board knows more than any of us do. I think they were perfectly equipped to make this decision and I really don't doubt its the right one.

Yep.

ETA: I can't read this without crying. http://bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view/20111110where_was_the_fury_over_the_rape_of_a_boy

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"b525" wrote:

Absolutely. Please don't think I'm negating this awful, horrific thing that happened! I think they *are* delving further, though. That's my point. They're prosecuting other people, but not Joe.

I am perfectly fine with him being fired based on the knowledge he had (from comments he made) and him not making sure the situation was legally addressed (and continuing to allow this man to associate with children and the university). As for prosecution, if further investigation finds he was criminally negligent, then by all means, add him to the list of people that should have legal (on top of moral) responsibility for this heinous abuse of children. But I don't think he needs to be prosecuted to have been negligent in the duties/responsibilities of a position as prestigious as his. Aside from the immorality of the non-action, it also tarnished an institution that depends on their reputation for the longevity of their sports program and the enrollment/tuition of future students that may choose other universities without such a scandal in their ongoing and recent history. It's a bad situation all around.

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"b525" wrote:

But, he did try to do something to stop it. If I went to my principal and told her I thought a student was being abused and she talked to me about it, wrote down what I knew and said she'd follow through with it, I would expect that she would follow through with it. Similarly, Paterno went to the athletic director (who presumably was in charge of Sandusky) and Gary Schultze (who is in finance/business, but is also in charge of campus police). If they said they'd taken care of it, what is he supposed to do? Did he know it was an ongoing situation? As far as we know, he was told once about it and immediately reported it.

Forget moral obligations for a minute. If you suspect that a child is being abused, as a teacher you are LEGALLY obligated to call and report it yourself. You don't have to tell your administrator at all. Are you seriously not aware of the process?

As for Ol' Joe....I really don't know enough of the story to make a judgment. I know that my hubby is a huge Penn State fan and he's disgusted and disappointed over the whole thing. I just can't bring myself to read too many details in the case. So sad.

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"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Forget moral obligations for a minute. If you suspect that a child is being abused, as a teacher you are LEGALLY obligated to call and report it yourself. You don't have to tell your administrator at all. Are you seriously not aware of the process?

You're right. I shouldn't have used my own circumstance as an example because that's not how it is expected to be done here. You do, however, have to tell your administrator. Copies of written reports go to the DSS, State's Attorney, and School Principal.

It's neither here nor there in this case, but some states do have a provision for reporting through someone else (say, a guidance counselor). It says to make an oral report or cause an oral report to be made.

ETA: From an AP article on the scandal: "A review by The Associated Press of the abuse-reporting laws of all 50 states showed that Pennsylvania is one of only about a half-dozen states where the protocol for staff members of schools, hospitals and other institutions is to notify the person in charge in the event of suspected child abuse. That superior is then legally obliged to report to the authorities."

I'm not saying it's a good thing or a correct thing, but you're wrong when you say that a teacher is legally obligated in all cases.

ETA again! (for the link) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jQ15tKp3ow5hLmMUXuctwqnUj6_A?docId=e9771af8da914c748ac0646f12245432

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Melis-- that article says it all for me. It is exactly what I can't get my head around and what has kept me up at night since the story broke. It has me questioning humanity in all sorts of terrible ways. ....not good. This coupled w starvation in Africa and Im an insomniac.

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"b525" wrote:

You're right. I shouldn't have used my own circumstance as an example because that's not how it is expected to be done here. You do, however, have to tell your administrator. Copies of written reports go to the DSS, State's Attorney, and School Principal.

It's neither here nor there in this case, but some states do have a provision for reporting through someone else (say, a guidance counselor). It says to make an oral report or cause an oral report to be made.

ETA: From an AP article on the scandal: "A review by The Associated Press of the abuse-reporting laws of all 50 states showed that Pennsylvania is one of only about a half-dozen states where the protocol for staff members of schools, hospitals and other institutions is to notify the person in charge in the event of suspected child abuse. That superior is then legally obliged to report to the authorities."

I'm not saying it's a good thing or a correct thing, but you're wrong when you say that a teacher is legally obligated in all cases.

ETA again! (for the link) http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jQ15tKp3ow5hLmMUXuctwqnUj6_A?docId=e9771af8da914c748ac0646f12245432

Wow....hard to believe that FL actually has superior laws for mandatory reporting. As an educator in FL I am required to report any suspicion of abuse immediately and I'm not required to inform anyone, including my administration, about my call. That just seems common sense not to rely on someone else to make such an important call and relay second hand information.

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The incidents go back as far as 1998, when, according to grand jury reports, Victims 5 and 6 allegedly were taken into the showers of the Penn State football locker room by Sandusky, a year before the defensive coordinator retired from the school. Sandusky became acquainted with the alleged victims through The Second Mile program, a program he founded as a charity that began as a group foster home dedicated to helping troubled boys. The incident with Victim 6 was reported to the police by the mother, and Sandusky admitted to police through an investigation that the incident was wrong, but the investigation yielded no criminal charges.

The 2002 incident also occurred in the Penn State football locker room with Victim 7, but this time McQueary actually saw the incident between Sandusky and the 10-year-old. However, the first thing McQueary does is call his father immediately instead of going to authority figures, such as Paterno, Curley or anyone else on campus. McQueary does call Paterno the next day, and Paterno told Curley the day afterward, but took no further action.

This happened years ago. Paterno knew for years that nothing was done. I could see going to your superior and them sayingt hey will handel it and then leving it at that. But no one would just forget about it. Paterno knew that nothing had been done because Sandusky was still there and years passed.

Get him out and shame on him. He will live iwth this for the rest fo his life as he should.

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I think that if they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that these men knew about the abuse and did absolutely nothing about it then they absolutely should have been fired... they did the right thing.

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They definitely did the right thing. As someone else mentioned, even Paterno himself admitted he "should have done more". I'm just trying to figure out why Big Red is still part of the coaching staff!