Benefits and Compensation

Paterno Responses Range from ‘Despicable’ to ‘Very Well Written’

There was, however, one resounding commonality. Overwhelmingly, readers showed distain for the manner of Paterno’s termination—over the phone after 61 years of service.

There’s a sampling of the comments below; readers may also want to read the original article or read all the comments in their entirety.

A Sampling of Comments

Your article—and all the articles like it—are despicable … the firing of Joe Paterno was the act of a cowardly, self-serving administration that sought only to cover their own rear ends.

… To make Joe Paterno the scapegoat when the roof publicly fell in on the University is abominable.

Joe Paterno did exactly what he was supposed to do and what he was required to do … what those cowards in the Administration did to him is unforgivable.

I was angry when I saw his memorial and people were celebrating him and his life. If even one little boy was hurt because he failed to act, in my book that erases every good deed and all good intentions. There is no excuse. In my book, I hope he found repentance from his maker, because Lord knows if it was my kid, he wouldn’t have made it the three months he did.


All you need to avoid exempt/nonexempt classification and overtime errors, now in BLR‘s award-winning FLSA Wage & Hour Self-Audit Guide. Plus receive the special report Top 100 FLSA Overtime Q&As for a limited time. Find out more.


It’s certainly worth sharing this perspective with managers, supervisors, and executives–especially in traditionally hierarchical (and dare I say patriarchal?) settings. Loyalty can have real costs.

My feelings are that Mr Paterno did everything by the book ….

It actually appears that Paterno is the only one that DID anything. Joe reported the matter to his immediate superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley, as directed by University policy. Joe also saw to the involvement of Gary Schultz, the University administrator with oversight of the Campus Police (above and beyond University Policy).

It would be good to get your quotes correct before writing up the story. Here is the quote you are referring to:

"This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

In your article you left out a key part of the quote: "With the benefit of hindsight", and you don’t have an ellipsis in your quote to signify you were cutting anything out. The semantics are important here. "I should have done more" is an admission of guilt. "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," is simply expressing, "Now that I can look back and see what was really going on, I wish I had made different decisions."

Joe Paterno‘s job was not to oversee the personal lives of his staff—it was to manage their performance on the job … It did not appear that he overtly tried to shield or protect his employee or obstruct any investigation.

To have taken such drastic action against him such as firing him was extreme and over-reactive.

No matter the relationship, the manner of dismissal was appalling.

Very well written article. … Yes, in my heart I honestly believe Joe didn’t intentionally do anything wrong, but he also didn’t do what was right. His loyal following was owed a higher degree of commitment and he knew that. Highly respected upper management has a responsibility to protect those around them who trust them blindly.

…  Shame on Sandusky and shame on the Trustees. My heart goes out to the victims but the Paterno’s supervisors were at fault not Joe.  Paterno is still honored in the hearts of his many fans and admirers.

I concur with many other main points …. Additionally, I certainly would like to highlight the point on how inappropriately the Board of Regents handled a man who committed his entire working career and life to that same institution.

I would like to hear from the PSU Office of Human Resources regarding the release of Paterno. Who authorized the strategy, the approach, and why a phone call?

He did exactly what he should have done. … The admin wanted JoePa to retire—they used this incident to "retire" him since they had no other legitimate reason to require him to retire. It was so wrong in so many ways.

Thank you for your comment about the firing being done by phone and appearing cowardly … We are supposed to set the professional bar higher. If you have to terminate, at least do it with class and dignity.

No, I believe that Paterno did not deserve a humane treatment despite his stellar accomplishments. He demonstrated a reckless behavior by not protecting his student athletes. As powerful as he was, he would have stopped the abuse, instead of only reporting the incident to his superiors, and allowing it to continue on for years. Penn State had every right to separate their organization as quickly as possible from these monsters.

[Supporters], it would be interesting to see if your perspective would change if your child was abused.

This may not be over, as his survivors might have a case, even implying that [his treatment] contributed to his death.

Under the circumstances, Mr.Paterno should NOT have done more, as he was not qualified to determine the validity of the report, nor its gravity, and to have done so would have been beyond his authority and purview.

You believe this is cut and dry because in retrospect the allegations are most likely true (but due process has not been fulfilled). But assume the opposite. You have an employee, who has an unsubstantiated claim from a 3rd party. He reports the issue to his superior and his superior’s superior. Now, you expect him to also go to the police, outside the chain of command? Wouldn’t that qualify as harassment if the claims turn out to be false?

Since the accused is Jerry Sandusky, the focus of article should be directly around what management’s response was to the allegations and what management and employees should do in such situations to report such acts. The easy and eye-catching headline is to make the nationally known head coach the villain.