Joe Paterno, and the moral vs. the legal

The Daily Beast publishes a compelling personal case that Joe Paterno should incur legal ramifications for his involvement with the child abuse scandal recently in the news (“Joe Paterno Should Rot In Jail”).

Final two paragraphs:

I am amazed and sickened, but not surprised, at the support for Paterno. People seem to care more about the fact that he coached a team for X years and scored Y number of wins. Who cares if a few boys had their lives ruined because he didn’t have enough character to say “Jerry, sit down. I heard you had some type of sexual encounter with a child in our showers. The police are on their way, and I will testify about what I have been told. I hope you rot in prison.”

That is what he should have done. Instead, he “met his legal obligation” and kept winning football games. Because isn’t that what’s important?

I haven’t been following this carefully, but I’m under the impression that the Paterno camp is arguing that he met his “legal obligation” in reporting the behavior to his superior. The author here is suggesting that he’s still a disgusting creep for not having done more (I agree) and that he should therefore be punished legally (I disagree).

I am not saying I don’t agree that the scenario described in the penultimate paragraph isn’t preferable. I am saying that if you are asking for legal ramifications, there should have been a breach in the *law*.


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