Joe Paterno has been fired from Penn State University. In the wake of the sexual abuse scandal involving his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the longest tenured coach in college football's career is now over.
The Penn State board of trustees voted unanimously to remove Paterno as well as PSU president Graham Spanier, from their jobs "effective immediately." Tom Bradley has taken over as interim head coach.
Two weeks ago, this would have been a stunning end to the lion of college football.
But today, it's not surprising.
As the unthinkable details of this scandal emerged over the last week, it became clear that this tragedy was bigger than football. Paterno's dealings with the media this week have verged on callousness. When speaking to students gathered outside his home, he referred to Jerry Sandusky's abused children as "victims or whatever they want to say" in a veiled attempt to call into question their victimhood.
Then, in a statement released on Wednesday, Joe Pa felt the need to spend one paragraph of a five paragraph statement telling the board of trustees that they should not be investigating him, instead of treating this delicate situation with humility and honesty.
And once again, to make matters even worse, Penn State students acted like, for lack of a better word, idiots, by protesting the decision to fire Paterno. There was a total lack of leadership as a legal and moral tragedy took place on Penn State's campus. And the lack of action and negligence is inexcusable. Defending this man and protesting this decision puts a further black mark on this already unprecedented scandal.
The legal ramifications of this story are far from over. There will be lawsuits, there will be more arrests, and there will be more horrible details that emerge.
Paterno, who is the winningest coach in college football history, said he would retire at the end of the season in an effort to ease some of the pressure being put on him. But clearly, his lack of leadership and inability to act on this horrific tragedy, it was clear he wasn't calling the shots anymore. And the Penn State Board of Trustees should be applauded for making the difficult decision they made today.