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If Joe B. Hall, Denny Crum or Rick Pitino had any role in protecting a child molester, I can’t believe there would be many people in Kentucky willing to stand up and defend them.
Over the past few days, former players, fans and students at Penn. State have come out in support of legendary coach Joe Paterno after he was fired after 48 successful years at the university.
I absolutely believe in the notion of innocent until proven guilty during a criminal investigation. The coach who has been charged in the sexual abuse case has every right to have his day in court before the system and public passes sentence.
But Paterno’s problems don’t stem from a violation of the Pennsylvania criminal code. His inaction is a violation of the code of common decency.
By not pursuing an investigation in to the allegations made against his former assistant, Paterno failed as an employer, a leader, role model and as a human being.
I’m sure when you are one of the most successful coaches in the history of organized sports and in the twilight of your career, there would be a temptation to ignore certain things in hopes of not staining your reputation.
But this is not a case of annoying little issue that would go away if ignored long enough. The issue at hand is probably the single most despicable crime known to humanity - the violation of a child.
I can’t see how anyone would or could protect and defend Paterno’s inaction.
In Kentucky, we have long put our basketball programs on a pedestal. Although sometimes love of the sport may cloud our judgement, Kentuckians will usually still see right from wrong.