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Penn State Scandal: Support for Paterno or Victims?

Jalesa Hall

Exterior of the University House at Penn State University

It seems like the Penn State Community is torn in a decision on who to support.

The Penn State Scandal has been all over the news in the past couple of days. What started off with an announcement for Joe Paterno to retire due to alleged sexual accusations against his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has escalated to a national outcry.  

Players, coaches and staff are looking for the support of the program from the Penn State Football Letterman’s Club, according to USA Today

Tim Sweeney, President of the football alumni club stated in front of media Thursday afternoon, “No one person is bigger than the program, but the legacy of Paterno is something the former players are willing to stand up for.”

While most of the country has their own opinions about the firing of Paterno and the alleged child sexual abuse, the Obama administration will only comment on in relation to the victims.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said, “The President’s thoughts and prayers, and all of our thoughts and prayers, are with the victims of the abuse and the family members of those victims.”  Carney would not, however, comment on the firing of Paterno and said “We’re not going to get into the decisions made by the university.”

Meanwhile, Penn State Alumni has began raising money for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. In the efforts to bring the focus back on the victims and to help the community, the Alumni has raised over $75,000 so far. This is a drastic contrast from the Penn State students that rioted after the announcement of Paterno’s dismissal, resulting in an over-turned television news van and chaos in the streets. 

With all the news coverage surrounding this situation, it has brought up many conflicted thoughts about who we should be focusing on in the situation. Should we be thinking about the victims, Paterno and his involvement or the Penn State players that might suffer because of the loss of their head coach? Does supporting one side mean that you can’t support the other side? 

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