It’s hard to turn on the news lately without seeing the scandal that rocked Penn State University in the last couple of weeks.
Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been accused of sexually assaulting several children on the Penn State campus. Acts that were witnessed by assistant coach Mike McQueary and then reported to head football coach Joe Paterno.
Ultimately, while the coaches fed the information to the powers that be at Penn State, no one actually contacted the police about the matter at the time. Sandusky eventually retired, although he kept an office at Penn State for several years.
Due to the firestorm of controversy surrounding the situation, longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired last week after more than sixty years with the university. His firing seemed justified by most in the public eye after he didn’t contact authorities when first hearing about Sandusky’s alleged transgressions.
For better or worse, the Penn State faithful, however, have had a different outpouring for their beloved coach, most outraged that he was let go so unceremoniously after so many years at the school.
While he didn’t play football at the university, former NCAA wrestling champion and current UFC light heavyweight Phil Davis knew coach Paterno during his time at Penn State. Davis actually used to deliver produce to the coach’s house during the year when he was working, and said that both Paterno and his wife were extremely nice people.
That said, Davis, like so many, felt horrible for the children that were victims in this whole situation, but he does wish things had gone differently for the legendary coach from Penn State.
“At the end of the day it’s just sad for the children involved and I hate to see Joe Pa (Joe Paterno) removed because of this, he’s had such a long career and to have someone like him, ultimately, I suspect he’s going to be remembered for the way he left, under these circumstances and that’s really not fair,” Davis told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
Davis looks at the situation through the eyes of an athlete that’s competed at a major university, and in this case the actual university where all of this happened. While he doesn’t excuse in any way, shape or form what happened to the children involved, Davis is sympathetic to the dilemma that faced Paterno when the whole situation arose.
“I think he did what he could,” Davis said about Paterno. “In jobs, we have protocol, and I think he followed protocol. Whether he agreed with decisions that were made, especially in a university job, you really don’t have control over what goes on.
“If you’re in a law enforcement position and your superior says let so and so go, you’ve got to follow your protocol. You can’t just go ‘this is the law and I want to play this the way I want to play it.'”
Davis was a member of the Penn State wrestling team and a four-time All-American at the university, but even though it wasn’t the same program, he did know some of the key figures involved with the scandal currently going on at his alma mater.
Ultimately, Davis is sad that he doesn’t believe justice has actually been done yet, and a great coach’s legacy will forever be tarnished.
“I feel sorry because justice was not done. Was it at the hands of Joe Paterno? No. Some of the other parties involved, I know them, and they’ve always been good to me, and it’s a shame that they were involved in whatever their involvement was. I feel bad for that situation, but whatever happens kind of happens,” Davis said.
“I would hate for Joe Paterno to be remembered in such a bad way.”
Justice is still in the process of being doled out, however. Jerry Sandusky, the coach in question, is currently under indictment for 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys. Sandusky is currently free on $100,000 bail pending trial.