The college football world is currently in a state of shock after Penn State’s board of trustees broke the news late Wednesday that Joe Paterno was fired as head coach. Obviously, this is devastating news for just about anyone with some-sort of ties to Penn State–but it’s hard to show sympathy and respect towards a university with the way their students reacted to the news late Wednesday.
By now, just about everyone who is a sports fan in this world saw what happened in the hours following the announcement of Paterno being fired. Thousands of students showed up to protest the board’s decision to part ways with college football’s all-time winningest coach and while everything seemed to be calm at first, things became worse throughout the night.
In fact, it’s safe to say there were numerous lives at stake–especially for the members of the media in attendance covering the event.
Bottles were thrown at police. Windows on cars were being smashed. There was even a group of students that managed to flip over a van owned by one of the media stations covering the incident.
Everybody in this country has the right to freedom of speech–no matter what. However, it would be one thing for these students to go out and support their beloved head coach with simple chants or a few signs to show their support, but to engage in acts of violence like this is nothing but classless and completely unacceptable.
Plus, if these students claim to love Paterno as much as they claim to–did they really think he was going to respect them at all for acting this way over his job?
Instead of participating in idiotic acts such as the ones displayed on Wednesday, how about these students take some time and realize that football is the last thing anyone should be thinking about right now. These students need to put football aside and think about the poor kids and their families whose lives will never be the same because of what happened with Jerry Sandusky and that’s the most important factor from this matter–no matter what.
There’s no question this is a terrible way for a coach like Paterno to see his career come to an end after spending the last 46 seasons as head coach. However, Paterno has proven to be one of the most influential individuals throughout his entire career at Penn State and for a person with the type of power he possesses, there’s no reason why he couldn’t do more when this incident was first brought up back in 2002–and he’s admitted that.
The Penn State family and the rest of the college football world has every reason in the world to be upset with what’s happened over the last few days–but there’s no excuse for the type of riots that were displayed by students late Wednesday night. By participating in these unnecessary acts of violence, these individuals are taking one of the strongest fan bases not just in college football, but sports as well and turning them into one of the most hated.
For those students that took part in Wednesday’s actions after the news of Paterno being fired–show some class next time you decide to make your voice heard and take action in a meaningful way instead of doing something stupid like this. Just about everyone outside of the Happy Valley fan base has struggled to find respect for Penn State over the last couple of days based off what happened and after these classless actions by some of the students on Wednesday–it’s hard to imagine that respect coming anytime soon.
What were these acts of violence supposed to prove–that knocking down a media van would make the board of trustee’s realize they made the wrong decision and offer Paterno his job back?
Maybe these students should enroll in a class next semester that teaches students how to spend their time more wisely instead of wasting it by causing mayhem on campus. Paterno said it best when he addressed hundreds of students outside his house shortly after the news broke–go to sleep or study instead of wasting time by protesting the decision about his firing.