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How the King Fell: Why Penn State was Forced to End Joe Paterno's Reign

The King of the Beast, as far as college football is concerned was put to rest Wednesday Night.

The leader of Penn State for 46 seasons as head coach and on the staff of the Nittany Lions since 1950, fired.

The man who made Penn State not only the football program but the university what it is, dismissed with a simple phone call.   Not the ending anyone envisioned for Joe Paterno. 

This was no losing season or a lost ability to recruit top players.  This was about losing the ability to make morally sound proper decisions instead of protecting the football jungle he’d created. No one ruled a college campus quite like Joe Pa!  At 84-years-old no one would doubt Paterno was still the most powerful man in State College, Pennsylvania.

But that power stopped the leader of the university from practicing what he preached.  Instead of reporting allegations he learned back in 2002, of his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky having a sexual encounter with a ten-year-old boy in the showers of the Penn State locker room to the police and risk a full blown scandal, he simply told his superiors and forgot about it.  Those superiors, one being former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President Gary Schultz did nothing.  No one went to a higher authority on campus, no one went to the police and the impossible took place. 

More allegations from the now well known grand jury report as Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of sexual child abuse last Saturday.  Several of the allegations reportedly took place after the 2002 incident in the shower and that is where the King of the Lions faltered.

Had the man who coached for almost a half decade without any major NCAA violations and a 90% graduation rate among players simply did the right thing, the tragedy of several of the allegedly abused boys would not have taken place. The coach who preached of honesty, honor and righteousness didn’t follow his own word. 

Among all the good Joe Paterno had done over 61 years in State College he failed miserably on the biggest decision of integrity he ever had to make. He protected a former player, colleague, friend and his football program, while leaving under-privileged and at risk young boys there for the taking of someone he had to know was possibly a predator.  He protected the school, the brand and his name while turning the other way and having an idea one of the greatest evils children can experience was possibly taking place.

For a man that did so much for Penn State, its Board of Trustees did something for Joe Paterno on Wednesday Night. They reminded him of what he supposedly stands for.  The difference between right and wrong and how morality has to be at the foundation of anything built soundly in society. There is simply no way Joe Paterno could have been celebrated on Saturday at Beaver Stadium in his final home game as the Penn State Head Coach, while his lack of courage back in 2002 resulted in a huge part of  the college football cover-up scandal of maybe all-time.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees showed the country the “King of the Jungle” wasn’t fit to be the leader anymore.

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