Historically, Penn State's greatest strengths have been drinking, chanting, being super into football, and general belligerence. So when news broke that legendary football coach Joe Paterno was being fired by the board of trustees (some stupid president, too) over the school's child-sex-abuse scandal, PSU combined all three of their noted strengths in a massive riot on Beaver Canyon.

Around 2,000 students took to the streets on Wednesday night, chanting, "We want Joe!" and "Fuck the trustees!" JoePa cutouts, fireworks, and megaphones surfaced before long. Then, to quote the ever-sage Will Smith, shit got real. A photojournalist was struck in the head with a "thrown object." Some students scaled lightposts, others overturned a freaking news van, to wild cheers. Everyone was having such a great time, but of course the lame cops arrived to totally harsh everyone's buzz.

Police said earlier today that they were still gathering information on arrests, but we do know this: students definitely got maced last night.

Really, it's hard to feel sorry for them. Paterno may be an icon, but he also effectively allowed an alleged sex offender to prey on boys for years. Don't say his phone call to the athletics director was enough. It wasn't, and we all know it. Firing him was the only sensible thing for the college to do. So protesting that move only proves that a good portion of the PSU student body is more concerned with football than reporting a rampant molester and that is, well, insane.

Oh, and another heinous development in this increasingly heinous story? Rumors of a large vigil for Jerry Sandusky's reported victims appear to have been nothing more than rumors. You stay classy, Penn State.

Commentarium (50 Comments)

Nov 10 11 - 1:07pm
acapo

I'm guessing if these students would have showered with Jerry Sandusky when they were in the 5th grade they would have a completely different perspective.

Nov 10 11 - 1:09pm
fishstix

Rucking Fetards!

Nov 10 11 - 1:18pm
Pervect

Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing.

Let's hope a little jail time and some expulsions help get priorities back in order.

Nov 10 11 - 1:40pm
Damn it

Hopefully this will fall under the NCAA's interpretation of rules violations and they will banish the football program. It's been done to other programs for lesser violations. It's time to show schools like Penn State that the athletic programs shouldn't be the main focus of an educational institution; the money be damned. This situation was enabled in the name of protecting the team.

Nov 10 11 - 3:33pm
history

Hear, hear!

Nov 10 11 - 1:59pm
well

nothing like a bunch of people jumping to conclusions...it's doubtful what Sandusky did was covered up to protect the 'team'. since he hadn't been employed there as a coach for several years before the incident. maybe to protect the school. i think a lot of the anger re: Paterno's firing is that it's seen as a rush to judgement before all the facts are known. plus a lot of people see it as a power play by trustees who have been trying to get rid of him for years merely because of his age and despite the fact that he continues to do a great job. the head of the board was seen to be humiliated when he tried to get rid of Paterno back in '04 and failed...time for a little revenge Surma?
Paterno has done a lot for that school over the years above and beyond anything that happened on the field including giving millions of his own money to the school. he has insisted over the years that his players be students first and his teams have had the among the highest if not the highest graduation rates of any school. so don't lump him in with football factory schools with recruiting and cheating scandals..that crap never went down at PSU.
did he fuck up...yeah, for sure. does he deserve this...not until all the facts are known he doesn't. maybe then...but this is a lame action by spiteful men.
as to the rioting. Paterno would be the first to condemn them. and in fact he asked last night for calm and that the students respect the decision and the school.

Nov 10 11 - 3:29pm
cfg

Joe Paterno and anyone who supports him should be glad that he was only fired (with severance, might I add). Did you actually read the DA's report? Also, last time I checked, being fired doesn't require "all the facts" to be known. The board of trustees was horrified by Joe's actions, and that's all that matters. The fact that 2,000 students aren't is deeply disturbing.

Nov 10 11 - 5:31pm
pissedoffcommie

Could you link to the DA's report?

Nov 11 11 - 1:10am
Saywhat?

Forgot to link to the university police dept. Here it is: http://www.police.psu.edu/default.shtml

Nov 11 11 - 8:19pm
Publius

@Saywhat - Outstanding update. I grew up in State College where Paterno was known as a standup guy who - at the time, at least - had the highest graduation rate in Division 1 football. On several occasions, he went out of his way to support Scout meetings. He would tell us to study hard and play football when we were done. His philantropy is huge.

If Paterno did something wrong, he'll be called to account. I will be very surprised if Paterno acted improperly.

Nov 10 11 - 2:47pm
Billy Bob

We often judge the actions taken by an individual a decade ago by the standards of today. This is this case in this drama at Penn State. The grad assistant who claims to have witnessed the alleged molestation was in a very dicey predicament. His ability to keep or get another coaching job was being predicated by his relationship with the coaching staff at PSU and in particular Joe Paterno. What if he'd come forward to make the allegation of improper sexual relations only to have the matter been proven false? Then he'd taken the fall for making a false accusation. Not a good thing to have on your resume'. We are all told to report it to a supervisor when we observe wrong behavior at the workplace. Both the grad assistant and JoePa did just that. For the sake of the universities board of directors I hope they have information to back up this decision to fire Paterno that they're not disclosing at this time. If not they will look like the fools in this case.

Nov 10 11 - 9:59pm
@ Billy Bob

Great point, except what they had evidence of wasn't wrong behavior at the workplace, it was an indication of child abuse. Obviously I don't know for sure, but one of the people involved had to have been a mandated reporter and required by law to inform the police if they even had a suspicion that a single child was in danger. For me, the biggest problem here is that nobody who was aware of this thought they should inform the police anyways.

Nov 11 11 - 11:52am
also@BillyBob

"We often judge the actions taken by an individual a decade ago by the standards of today," is the same pernicious line used by the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church (literally- like word for word). It's like a Jedi mind trick. It seems like an argument, but it makes no sense at all. Think about it -- are there really evolving standards of decency regarding child rape? Did we think it was pretty much o.k. ten or twenty years ago (or further back)?
And as to the grad assistant, he is a craven jackass (unless, as you seem to imply, there remains the possibility that what he witnessed was a highly sophisticated hologram).
Oh, but I forget. The important thing here is Team!! Go Team. Bring back that trophy, or rings or whatever.

Nov 10 11 - 4:04pm
ggg

What did Paterno do ? Someone give me the nutshell story. He's been there for decades....

Nov 10 11 - 4:08pm
profrobert

All the relevant facts are known: The child molestation was reported to Paterno. He passed it up the chain. He knew nothing happened. He did not call the cops. He was not some grad assistant worried about his career, he was the most powerful person at Penn State. Some mistakes are so bad that you have to be fired, regardless of all your other contributions, and I agree that Paterno made enoromous contributions to the school and to his players' lives. The measure of his worth as a person is not the worst thing he's ever done, and I think he will be remembered overall for the many, many good things he did. But there needed to be consequences from this failure, and firing him was appropriate.

Nov 10 11 - 5:04pm
Johnny Utah

"The child molestation was reported to Paterno."

I'm not sure this constutes a known relevant fact. As I understand it, he testified to the grand jury that he knew Sandusky and a young boy were in the shower and that there was "horseplay."

Now we can easily reach the conclusion that you've reached, and I'm not going to argue with anyone who has reached that conclusion, but it's not necessarily a "known fact" that child molestation was reported to the man. Something was, that is clear, and I think firing him was not only a good choice but in fact the only choice. But we're practically indicting him as an accessory after the fact.

Nov 11 11 - 9:55am
Johnny Utah

Iwant to retract that based on new info I've read about what exactly was reported to Paternoster. Now I don't know what to believe, but this new info is far more damning of him than what I had previously read.

Nov 11 11 - 11:41am
profrobert

Cool. It's possible we just read different reports at different times.

Nov 11 11 - 1:49pm
Saywhat?

@JohnnyUtah - I've seen that report too, that McQueary was specific in his report to Paterno. That doesn't change the fact that Paterno set McQueary up with a meeting with school administration officials, one of whom was a police official who did not conduct a thorough investigation that is required as a part of their jobs.

Paterno cannot control what Mcqueary told the school officials, because, as the grand jury report states, he was not present at that meeting.

Obviously, Paterno could no longer coach, but if he was to be fired, it should have been at the end of the internal investigation Penn State is conducting, and not as a result of public opinion. Especially since he is not being charged in a court of law.

Nov 11 11 - 8:22pm
Publius

I agree with Saywhat. Profrobert is incorrect that "he knew nothing happened." As someone with training in the law, profrobert should know that it would be inappropriate for the investigators to provide details back to Paterno, since he possibly be called to corroborate direct witnesses. It's rarely a good idea to jump to conclusions.

Nov 12 11 - 11:31am
profrobert

He knew the police had not been contacted because he knew that the police did not contact him. He obviously did not follow up with the assistant or the administration to ask if the police had been contacted, unless you're assuming the administration lied to him. If that's the assumption, then why didn't he say, "X told me he had called the cops, so I felt I had done what I needed to do." He knew that even though Sandusky had been banned from campus, he was still showing up years later to run his youth program. Part of the training in the law is to learn to look at the surrounding facts to draw conclusions as to a person's knowledge. If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's going to be a duck. Paterno quacked and walked away from this horror.

Nov 10 11 - 5:05pm
cs

I live in the Philly area and am friends with many Penn State alums, and I can assure you that most of them are more concerned about the consequences to the football program than the abuse itself. The hold Paterno has on the minds of these people (some out of school for years) is immense.

Nov 11 11 - 8:23pm
Publius

Hmm. I follow several PSU football blogs. I have yet to see anyone express more concern about the football program vs the victims. Have you asked them or are you just assuming?

Nov 10 11 - 5:23pm
Piggy

This looks like a modern day Lord of the Flies

Nov 10 11 - 6:31pm
SB

Goes to show where the mentality to allow the child abuse to go on without reporting it comes from: The whole of Penn State. Does any of the student have ANY idea how bad they are being viewed for defending the football program over allegations of child abuse? For shame!

BTW I have a feeling a lot of college athletic programs would have responded the same way, by protecting their bacon.

Nov 10 11 - 6:39pm
Joe

Penn State is a cult and those kids are assholes.

Nov 10 11 - 8:00pm
Huh?

Amazing that these students rioted over their (demi-god) football coach, but not about the fact that the leadership of their university appears to have engineered a massive coverup. Actually, it's not amazing it's pathetic. Our future leaders in a nutshell.

Nov 11 11 - 12:27am
Fishtix

Pope Paterno and the church of sport.

Nov 11 11 - 8:16am
hm

blaming football is ridiculous. you can find examples of exactly this kind of cover-up in every field of human endeavour from the arts to the military, from politics to academia. and probably pretty much any other sport you can think of...except maybe curling...this says more about human nature than about football. to think otherwise is to either display a prejudice against 'big' football or to have a rather limited view.

Nov 11 11 - 1:38pm
local

Why are you saying that the candlelight vigil is a rumor? I am positive that these students WILL accomplish it. Also, this game tomorrow was supposed to be a "Whiteout." Due to what has happened, it will be a "Blueout" since blue is the color of child abuse prevention. You attack when it is warranted, however, please give students credit where credit is due. Thank you

Nov 12 11 - 12:48am
penn stater

Thank YOU!

Nov 12 11 - 2:05pm
Derp

It is a rumor.

Nov 12 11 - 12:47am
penn stater

As a State College resident, I will tell you that you shouldn't believe everything you see on Twitter. I sure hope no one considers this website to be responsible journalism.

Nov 12 11 - 1:13am
penn stater

Oh, here's your proof that the vigil was NOT a hoax. Way to practice responsible journalism! YOU stay classy!

http://live.psu.edu/story/56337

Nov 12 11 - 2:17pm
James PSU

YES - the vigil DID happen. And more events are happening today, and people are gathering together to do POSITIVE things to raise money and awareness for child sexual abuse. So GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT before you go mouthing off with your vitriolic "reporting."

Nov 12 11 - 4:25pm
Local

Exactly!

Nov 20 11 - 6:52pm
Will

It's wondeurfl to have you on our side, haha!

Nov 21 11 - 2:09pm
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Nov 24 11 - 1:45pm
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