Penn State, Paterno lowest moment in collegiate sports?

Paterno's fall from grace could serve as lesson

Bernie Smilovitz
Bernie Smilovitz (WDIV)

Finally Penn State put an end to the madness by firing Joe Paterno last night.

But does the madness really end or is it just beginning? The students that rioted on Wednesday night on campus have no idea what this story is about. This has nothing to do with the end of a coaching legend's career.

It has more to do with people's ability to look the other way when called upon to act. You don't have to single out Joe Paterno. There are plenty that saw nothing and did nothing and allowed a sexual predator to roam freely.

But isn't that what happens far too often in our society today? I know people who love to say "no good deed goes unpunished". Really!?! That's where we are as a community? The cry for help was ignored. There was no good deed in this situation but now there will be punishment.

And what about the kids? Their lives have been shattered by this monster. The secrets that they kept to themselves for so many years. The terror they felt when he was in their presence. And to think that somehow, Joe Paterno made that possible... is nearly unthinkable. But its true.

Also don't forget the kids on the Penn State football team. They are 8-1 this season but who cares when confronted with this tragedy. The players know they were sold a bad bill of goods. The purity of the program has been torn to shreds. Its more of an embarrassment than a source of pride. And many of them must feel like fools. After all they trusted and believed in Joe Pa.

Hopefully this can serve as a lesson on several fronts. First and foremost sexual child abuse must be confronted and stopped, no matter who's involved. And if it means damaging the reputation of a university or an individual, so be it.

And also remember: Nothing is as good as it seems. If looks too good, then it is too good.

Tiger Woods made a dramatic fall from grace. The perfect pristine life that's a facade. We thought that fall was the worst we'd seen in sports. Then along comes Joe Paterno.

How sad ...

And we all shudder to think: What's next?


About the Author:

Bernie brings sports to Metro Detroit. You can catch him on Local 4 News weekdays at 5, 6 and 11 p.m.