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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 11/10/2011

Readers debate Joe Paterno firing


(Joe Paterno, with his wife, Sue, addressed students gathered at his home after he was fired Wednesday night.AP Photo/ Joe Hermitt)
Our readers have left more than 1,300 comments debating whether or not Penn State’s Board of Trustees was right to fire head coach Joe Paterno.

In the pro-firing camp is commenter Benson, who wrote:

The Board of Trustees did the right thing.
Anyone who heard of the incident had a responsibility to see that it got reported to the police, not just the administration. Since Joe Paterno was Penn State football, neglecting to follow up to ensure that this got reported was incumbent on him as well as his superiors. There is no excuse for dropping the ball on this.

To which commenter TigerMil responded:

Disagree.
How ignorant is it to blame Joe Pa for what an assistant failed to do? McQueary had and failed a LEGAL responsibility to report felony child abuse. Joe Pa had hearsay evidence that felony child abuse had occurred and ethically reported it to the AD who reported it to the college President.
How about canning any remaining staff at the University/campus cop organization that essentially covered up Sandusky’s 1998 violation of two 11-year olds?

Commenter tdstds also supported the Board’s actions, writing:

Paterno had to go. A person cannot be allowed to treat the rape of a child with a bureaucratic indifference.
The student mob complains that he shouldn’t have been fired so soon. But Paterno brought that on himself when he sought to dictate the terms of his departure, unilaterally deciding that he would coach through the end of the season. Not his call. The Trustees had to step in.
The student mob complains that Paterno shouldn’t have been fired by phone. But Paterno stepped on the Trustees’ toes when he unilaterally and publicly sought to dictate the terms of his departure. The Trustees did not owe this narcissist anything beyond a phone call.

While cliffc1 strongly disagreed with Paterno’s firing:

So much for innocent until proven guilty. I would guess that Pen state has passed judgment that guilt by association [is] enough.Why not wipe out the entire football staff who were even around during the incidents? If Penn state is looking for a purge do it right. Not single out one man.
Too bad, Joe has been a highly respected and dedicated man at penn state and the heart of athletics and a sure money maker for the school over the decades.
To just up and fire Joe, with a phone call is really dirty and a real reflection of the gross inrernal problems that that institution has in properly handling anything.
My heart goes out to all those innocent children and their families who were involved. But this is not the correct way to make things right. At least Joe could have allowed his day in court to make his case not trial and guilt by a lynch mob..Boo to those at Penn state who made this callus decision. I believe it to be grossly wrong.

Commenter pontneuf took a long view of the scandal, speculating about where else blame might fall in the coming weeks:

The failures in this tragedy are astounding and numerous.. Most of the discussion in this forum is focused on the Mr. Paterno and his failures. There were so many other failures in this tragedy:
Where were the parents?
Where were The Second Mile people?
Where were the police (remember one of the VPs indicted oversaw the Campus Police)?
Where was the University President?
Where was the Board of Trustees?
Where were you and where was I (watching FBS on Saturdays)?
In the days and weeks ahead we shall no doubt learn more. The individual and collective failures of responsibility were and enormous and go far beyond just Mr. Paterno. We all failed these children.

What’s your reaction to Paterno’s firing? Join the discussion to make your case for or against it.

Related:

Q&A with Tracee Hamilton: The aftermath

Photos: Penn State campus in turmoil

Boswell: A sad conclusion for Paterno

George Will: The irresistible force of college football

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 11/10/2011

 
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