Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Patern...

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sideline during warmups prior to the 2006 Homecoming game versus the University of Illinois on Friday, October 20, 2006. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are some indications that a Joe Paterno Foundation will be established in the foreseeable future.  That part seems to be fact.  However, it’s fiction to believe that the Joe Paterno Foundation for Sexually Abused Children will be established.  I believe it should be.  A Joe Paterno Foundation for Sexually Abused Children would allow Joe Paterno to do what he claims he should have done; he should have done more to help the kids that were abused by Jerry Sandusky.  Plus, it would help alumni like I contribute to help overcome this terrible injustice to victims of child sexual abuse.

Here are some more notable comments to set the backdrop for my argument:

  • Tom Corbett, Governor of Pennsylvania, Joe should have done moreWatch this video if you have a few minutes to spare.  Otherwise, just keep reading!

  • Southwest Florida Alums Concede Joe Paterno should have done more! I believe this article describes the feelings of most Penn State Alumni.
  • John Thompson, Former Georgetown Basketball Coach and Current Sports Commentator, claims Joe Paterno was a good man! This is a good read!  Notice that Coach Thompson really doesn’t draw any conclusions.  That just means he’s still weighing the facts!

 

I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for quite some time.  I’m a former US Air Force Intelligence Officer with a Masters Degree in International Relations.  And, that doesn’t really mean a thing; except that I have a lot of formal education.  I’ve had a lot of smart college professors and I’ve been led by a lot of very bright and very senior Air Force Officers.  I’ve always been at the top of “flagpole” so to speak.  I consider myself privileged for my past associations with these professionals.

However, and this is a huge HOWEVER… I’ve never had more respect for any individual than I do for John Thompson.  His words are simple. His thoughts are honest.  He will not jump to hasty conclusions. He is the very definition of a wise man. Be it sports, politics or world events, he just asks the perfect question if he doesn’t fully understand the issue and he delivers a response that simply waters your eyes.  His views are not biased by race or politics. John Thompson is the real thing!

Here are just a few words from that Washington Post article by the “Coach:” “So when you’ve got a good man who’s done a hell of a lot of good, and he does something that he maybe would be sorry about, I can’t begin to define him as being a bad person, because he made a mistake or he misjudged what he should have done. Just as I won’t say that the bad person is good because he does a good thing.

Joe Paterno himself admitted he should have done more!  I believe he was truly sorry for what he did not do.  I believe he meant that he should have followed up on the Sandusky case.  He should have run rough shod over the case.  He could have devoted more time to ensure justice was served and Sandusky was banned from the Penn State Campus.  In retrospect, he could have done more.

But, that’s water under the bridge.  We need to find solutions to the present and future that allow Joe to continue his legacy and do the right thing! …In other words, to allow him to do more even in his absence. If you recall those days subsequent to Joe Paterno’s firing, then you remember that Joe wanted to speak.  He wanted to tell his story.  Yet, he didn’t.  Why not?  A man as powerful, as a lot believe,  should have been able to freely tell his story.  So, what stopped him?  Did he simply change his mind?  Personally, I find this a little hard to swallow.  His bosses demanded he not speak!  Joe Paterno was an employee. He followed their instruction.

I have some suggestions.  There is one major problem that needs to be resolved here, whether or not it was Paterno’s fault.  This article is not about assigning fault; it’s about finding solutions. There needs to be a solution suitable to the victims of these crimes.  So, here’s my initial thought.  Why not establish a foundation for sexually abused children in Joe Paterno’s name?  This allows Joe to do more; just as he wished!

So, I did a little research.  I wanted to find out if the Paterno family already had a foundation. Were they already considering this? In May this year, the Paterno family announced their intention to create the Joe Paterno Foundation.  According to Paterno’s daughter, Diana Paterno Giegerich, the family will release more details in the coming weeks and months. “The next step for our family is the establishment of the Paterno Foundation,” Paterno Giegerich said. “The foundation will continue our parent’s mission, summarized best in Dad’s simple philosophy: Make an impact.  The benefit of this foundation is intended to support the Special Olympics, a very worthy cause.

Here is my take on this, and there is no way I intend to offend the Paterno family.  They are suffering in a way that no family should suffer.  And, they have identified an extremely worthy candidate to support.  But, if Joe wanted to “make an impact” and if Joe truly felt “he should have done more” in the Sandusky case, why not establish the Joe Paterno Foundation for Sexually Abused Children?

While I cannot adequately predict the results of this Foundation for Sexually Abused Children, I can forecast what this would mean to a Penn State alumni like myself:

  1.  We could preserve the positive legacy of Joe Paterno and his statue.  All we need is a plaque at the foot of the statue saying something like this: “I should have done more… Please help me and support the Joe Paterno Foundation for Sexually Abused Children.”  I believe that statue could be proudly placed anywhere on campus.
  2. As an alumnus, I would be most inclined to give generously to this cause.  I have lots of ways to contribute to the Special Olympics, but I don’t know the first thing about who to contribute to support sexually abused children (more to come in a follow-up article).
  3. As an alumnus, I receive my annual request for a contribution to Penn State.  Most of the time, I simply renew my membership.  I have a family to support with kids in college.  Penn State is a State supported college and makes a ton of money through the football program.  However, if I have a specific cause to contribute to that helps renew the reputation of this great institution… count me in!

And, this leads to a further recommendation!  Penn State needs to be involved.  Let’s get the number crunchers together and figure out what percentage of revenue generated from football gets donated to the Joe Paterno Foundation for Sexually Abused Children.  The entire institution bears responsibility.  Make a commitment; for example, 20 percent of football revenue for 5-years.  Let’s get ahead of NCAA rulings and sanctions.  And, doesn’t the Big Ten have a financial interest in this mess? Let’s get this foundation established, funded and promoted!  We all should have done more!  Let’s do it, do it right and do it quickly!

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