The Harrisburg Patriot-News published an extraordinary front page today:
The entire front page is an editorial. It stands up for the thousands of Penn State alumni and supporters who live in Central Pennsylvania. It stands up for the rule of law. And it stands up for children who are the victims of sexual crimes.
To the editorial board of the Patriot-News, bravo.
The most famous coach in college football history must be held to a higher standard.
A man who has spoken with such affection for 46 years about “his kids” failed real kids when they needed him most.
It might always be honor with an asterisk, admiration with a shake of the head. Joe will have to live with that.
The Patriot-News wasn’t alone. The newspapers of Central Pennsylvania stepped up today. They put their communities, and their responsibilities to them, first. They collectively mounted the kind of pressure necessary to oust an iconic figure who long ago aged past his ability to control his organization, his staff, and his team.
The York Daily Record reminds us all that whenever anyone even suspects that a child is being abused, “…the first call, the most important call, must be to the authorities.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer wants Paterno to step down at the end of this season, too, saying his “oft-discussed retirement would be timelier than ever – even though leaving amid this scandal will provide a sad coda to an otherwise stellar career for the man who, until now, served as the reassuring public face of Penn State.”
The Williamsport Sun-Gazette underscores that no one did the right thing: “It’s clear no one at the university acted aggressively enough as they were being informed of these allegations. There was one call to be made when they were informed. Immediately. To state police.”
The Scranton Times-Tribune echoed the point that “Penn State’s obligation hardly ends with the legal process.”
There are a couple exceptions to this set of newspapers who stepped up and addressed our state’s highest and mightiest public university, though—as of this writing, there’s not a peep about PSU amongst the editorials in the Lancaster or Reading newspapers.
If you so much as suspect that a Pennsylvania child is being abused, call ChildLine at 800-932-0313.
More about Penn State football on LancasterPaBlog.com:
In the Middle of College Football Season, Injustices of the NCAA Revealed