Joe Paterknew

Five years after Jerry Sandusky was indicted on child molestation charges and four years after Joe Paterno’s death, a court opinion states that Paterno knew about Sandusky’s activities as early as 1976. Naturally, die hard Penn State fans are looking for ways to dismiss it.

To be fair, if forum comments are any guide, some ‘Joe Pa’ fans are seeing the light. ┬áBut for the most part the excuses remain the same: Paterno reported it to superiors and shouldn’t be expected to do more; and this is just a money grab by victims. The first one is ridiculous on its face–this isn’t about somebody illegally parking in a handicapped zone, this is about child abuse–and the second one is a dumb, reflexive argument.

Some Internet Geniuses are saying that the victim just wanted money. As pathetic as this line of thinking was five years ago, it still was logically possible. But this new revelation has appeared in a world where Sandusky has been tried and convicted. We know for a fact that he molested children. Claiming that the victim was just out for the money means that you have to believe a convicted child molestor only sexually assaulted children during the past 20 years.


On a certain level, I can sympathize with Penn State fans. It’s not easy to accept that somebody who you’ve invested a lot of moral authority in participated in covering for a child molestor. I can only hope that a) I’m never faced with the same dilemma, and b) If I am, my personal ethics would be my guide and I wouldn’t come up with vapid arguments to cocoon my fanhood in.

Joe Paterknew for 40 years.