SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOEPA!

by Steve Clem on November 8, 2011

This world needs more heroes.

More living legends.

People who do things the right way, and succeed.

Until this week, Penn State head football coach was one of them.

I’ve had a connection to JoePa since childhood, when my oldest brother went to a Penn State-Iowa game with my parents and middle brother, and started rooting for Penn State by halftime.

Despite the rivalry between PSU and my Hawkeyes once they joined the BigTen, I still always had nothing but respect for JoePa and the way that he did things. The right way. And he succeeded.

JoePa was always about making sure that his student-athletes were taken care of. He always wanted to make sure they were protected from the pressures and demands of the high dollar world of college football.

He oozed integrity both on and off the field.

So it is a very sad thing to watch the demise of this legend, in particular given the fact that it wouldn’t have taken much for him to avoid this horrible mess.

Let’s look at it this way.

Imagine one of my employees walks into my store and finds another one of my employees doing unthinkable acts with a 10-year-old boy.

Now let’s say the employee who witnessed it then came to me to report what they saw.

I could report the event to my boss, and probably cover myself from the legal/liability standpoint.

And if my boss didn’t do anything about it, and the employee remained at my store, I’d again be ok from the legal/liability standpoint.

But I could NOT, in my right mind, stand by and let something like this happened. I’d be reporting it to the police as quickly as possible, and I’d make sure that the employee was never allowed anywhere near my store.

It’s not rocket science.

And the timing of the release of the grand jury investigation could not have been any more suspicious. Just one week after JoePa broke the record for most wins by an NCAA Division IA football coach with his 409th victory, the story breaks.

So JoePa needs to do the right thing. Step down with the dignity you have left. For your program. For the kids on your current team who had nothing to do with this atrocity. For the game of college football.

Because if he digs in his heels and fights this, he’ll do nothing but destroy the last bit of respect he has for doing things the right way 99 percent of the time during his 46 year tenure as head coach.

You had a good run, Joe. Please don’t make it worse. It’s time to ride off into the sunset and enjoy your retirement.

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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