Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

By now, most everyone has heard that the legendary college football coach, Joe Paterno has been fired from Penn State.  The reason for Paterno’s firing is his involvement (or lack thereof) in a child molestation case involving one of Paterno’s coaches.  Jerry Sandusky, one of Paterno’s assistant coaches is  now facing 40 charges in a child sex abuse scandal that allegedly spanned a period of 15 years.  The problem for Paterno is that he allegedly knew of at least one case, but didn’t report what he knew to the proper authorities.  Grant it, Paterno allegedly reported this crime to Penn State’s Athletic Director, but when he saw the “AD” did not take any action, Paterno did not go to the police.

In short, Paterno was fired for not telling what he knew.

I’ve always been a fan of Jo Paterno.  A fellow teammate of mine from my high school basketball team played under Paterno when they won the National Championship.  So I take no delight in his career ending in such a fashion.  However, this whole affair has set me to thinking.  Paterno is in trouble today because he failed to tell what he knew.  In light of that, I couldn’t help but raise this question:

How many Christians will someday be in trouble because they too, failed to tell others what they knew?  As a child of God, I possess news that is so powerful, that to withhold it is criminal!  All I know is that someday when I stand before God, I don’t want to hear him say, “Why didn’t you tell what you knew?”

You Never Mentioned Him To Me
by James Rowe
When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may (will) be,
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
You never mentioned Him to me.


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Comments 10

  • Great and powerful thoughts, brother! I often think about what God told Ezekiel, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 3:18). “Knowing” is a huge responsibility.

  • This is the best, most truthful and powerful commentary I have read on a truly horrific story. Most everything I’ve read has been grandstanding and holier than thou commentary, but this turns the focus back where it needs to be, personal responsibility. Those who did wrong or did wrong by doing nothing should and will suffer the consequences, but as we prepare to cast our stones we would be wise to consider your words of loving rebuke.

  • Very good Steve! Great point!

  • Great thoughts Steve.

  • Good afternoon, Steve,

    I believe that there are two facts which need to be considered in this situation:
    1. Coach Paterno reported what he had been told to his superiors. They did address the situation and talked to the grad assistant who evidently saw what happened.
    2. The Attorney General and the police evidently do not believe that Coach Paterno failed to do what he was suppose to do.


    Bill Williams

    P.S. I personally believe that Coach Paterno is being made a scapegoat for the failings of others far more than his own.

  • Bill, thanks for your comments, but I ask you to take note that no less than three times did I use the word “allegedly” in this article. Whether Paterno’s actions fall within the realm of what is deemed “legal,” there is no moral justification to fail to take further action when innocent children are being violated. Even Paterno, himself agreed with that conclusion.

  • Yes indeed Steve. It brings to light as to, “We all must be about our Fathers business” and take heed to the warnings God has given us. It only takes one sin to keep us from inheriting Eternal Life. We may lose a lot of our friends and make some enemies, but I would rather it be that way than to lose my Eternal Soul in hell.

  • oh but it is so…
    While the DA might feel that JoPa fulfilled his legal obligations to report, and while he may technically not be responsible for the inactions of his superiors, a man in his position bears much more responsibility than that.
    While not scripture, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. This was his organization, his watch, his assistant and his issue to ferret out. To sit on the sidelines without being 100% absolutely sure that the allegations were a lie, is the height of misplaced allegiances and priorities.
    The responders to this post are very correct in their “righteous indignation” about the lapses of personal responsibility on the part of Penn State.
    However, YOU are even more correct when you point out our own permissiveness of evil. Each and every day, a young child is beaten, molested and left for eternal death and many of us sit idly by content with our ham handed and half hearted attempts to warn and protect.
    I actually heard a sports talk guy comment that JoPa was busy running the team and could not be bothered. That statement made me so angry I could not think straight for awhile. Then a still small voice whispered, “so Phil, what are you too busy to do?”

  • Nice piece.
    A sin of omission is still a sin…

  • Wow this is a great way of looking at it thanks for the wise words

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