I'm writing this with apologies to those who come here expecting to read what my mission statement promises: a playful exploration of pop culture. I'd say college football counts as pop culture but my playful is broken so proceed with caution.
Joe Paterno was fired last night. I can't pretend to be upset about that. He made his bed. After the announcement last night, the student body erupted with outrage on his behalf. Reporters from ESPN were pelted with rocks. A local news van was turned over, the windows smashed and the cameraman hit with a rock. If this had gone down ten years ago -- you know, the time when Paterno testified he was told Sandusky was seen doing something of a sexual nature to a 10-year-old in Penn State's locker room showers -- that cameraman would have been one of my oldest friends. He frequently got roughed up covering stuff, like the time members of the KKK pushed him around for being Catholic (he was wearing a crucifix) and that van was the unit he drove.
Some Penn Staters have tried to lay this at the feet of the media. Uh, no. Here's a clue: if you don't want the media to cover your riot then don't riot. If you don't want them discussing your scandal then don't be a party to it in the first place. Social media has blown up about it; Ashton Kutcher is letting his Twitter account be managed by a professional because he made a truly stupid statement without all the facts, a statement that was especially disturbing in light of the fact that he runs a charity that works to stop the sexual trafficking of children.
Paterno was a willful coach. It was his willfulness that made him a great leader and his willfulness that hastened his end. He tried to bow out on his own terms rather than face the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees called his bluff. It was the first correct decision that anyone in a position of authority has made about this situation in close to a decade.