I’m a diehard football fan. When my team wins, I act like a lunatic, which seems only appropriate. However, as a sports fan, I understand that there are times when such lunacy is unwarranted. The Penn State fans’ response to the firing of Coach Joe Paterno and staff is one of these incredibly inappropriate instances.
When I heard that Joe Paterno was fired for ignoring the molesting of minors, I was outraged– for the VICTIMS. That Jerry Sandusky allegedly molested kids while fellow coaches turned the blind eye is horrifying. The only acceptable response to such a discovery is regret and sorrow over the pain of the victims.
Focusing primarily on football, JoePa is a legend. Paterno brought in a record winning number of 400 wins during his 50 years as the Penn State Head Coach. He also coached five undefeated teams that all won major bowl games, gaining him a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame. Because of these stats, many Penn State students found it necessary to ignore these charges, and continue supporting their beloved head coach.
Days after news of the firing, Penn State students swarmed the streets of Pennsylvania, protesting the dismissal of the team’s revered coach. Failing to express disgust over the coaches’ acts, they angrily protested the firing of the man who won their team multiple championships.
The mob held signs stating “We <3 JoePa” and screamed chants such as “May no Act of ours bring shame.” The angry mob successfully overturned two media trucks while attempting to banish any media coverage. Protesting over multiple days, the 2,000 or so students continued to flaunt their ignorance.
These acts do not make them seem loyal, but rather immature and unintelligent. By failing to empathize with the young boys victimized by Sandusky, they displayed blatant insensitivity. While the extent of Paterno’s knowledge is still in question, there is no doubt that he and other coaches’ knew of the allegations against Sandusky. Because of this, the release of the majority of the coaching staff was the only respectable choice.
Pride in one’s team is very important, and I understand that. But there is a point where dedication should cease and make way for empathy and regret.