The city of Grambling, Louisiana is petitioning the NCAA to remove victories from the all-time wins record of former embattled Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno. They are hoping that since the news broke of Paterno’s knowledge and possible cover up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State, that the NCAA will take away enough wins from the coaching record of Paterno, therefore returning the all-time wins record to former Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson.
Unfortunately for them, this is never going to happen.
And although I am in no way supporting or empathizing with what Paterno did, as it was definitively wrong not to do everything possible to report Sandusky’s crimes, he should not have any wins vacated because of his mistakes away from the football field.
Paterno’s image is forever tainted. Beyond tainted even. Shattered, perhaps, and deservedly so. What he did was wrong. Period. While I may have defended him at first when the initial news broke of the allegations, I find it impossible to defend him after all of the reports have been released.
Again, what he did was beyond reprehensible. He should never be forgiven for that, and Penn State has already began the healing process by removing many artifacts and memories of Paterno around campus.
But we are talking about different things here.
Again, not defending Paterno as a person, as I clearly feel he and everyone else with knowledge of what Sandusky did should pay for their mistakes, but that had nothing to do with football.
The sins of those at Penn State were far beyond football. They were not about recruiting violations. They were not about improper benefits. They were not about point shaving. They all took place off of the football field and did not involve any of the players who helped Paterno reach those record number of wins. The players should not be penalized for the mistakes of the coaches and administrators who had nothing to do with what happened on the field during games.
Now, reportedly, Grambling State has nothing to do with this petition, and had no prior knowledge that the people of the city of Grambling were doing this. This was the works of a woman who asked that the record of 409 wins by Paterno be vacated, so that Robinson’s 408 wins would still be the all-time NCAA record. She said that way, a great man would hold the record.
And she may have a point. But she will not win.
As we continue to find out throughout this entire scandal, cover up and end results, there are no winners.
Only people who failed to do the right thing.