Legendary Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was done as soon as allegations of a child sexual molestation scandal at the school hit the mainstream newswires.
Whether he retired on his own or was forced to do so by the powers that be wouldn’t matter. Whether it happened this week or in a month was equally inconsequential.
What does matter is that, yet again, a college football icon chose his football team over common decency.
On Wednesday, Paterno released a statement in which he expressed his sorrow about everything that has transpired, and his intention to retire from his post as head coach of the Penn State football program at the end of this season.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
"I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
"My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this university."
This statement, much like Paterno’s eventual retirement is all largely symbolic at this point. The damage has been done, and the parties hurt by this horrendous scandal can never be adequately restituted for the emotional and physical damage that they have had to endure.
Over the last few days we’ve covered this story extensively here on Opposing Views, but we’ve done it from slightly different angles. We’ve focused on how this latest incident just speaks to the continuously eroding sense of decency in the sport, and what it means big picture.
We’ve also pointed out that Penn State has essentially been using Paterno as a bulletproof vest for the school’s egregious behavior when news of the molestation scandal came to light.
Check out video of Paterno’s emotional words on this whole mess below.