Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joe Paterno, fired

It was a very crazy week here in Happy Valley. Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for sexually assaulting minors and the investigation report on him done by the grand jury was released to the public. From there things went quickly downhill within the University.

My feelings on all the developments and the situation are all over the place. It's all I've been reading, hearing, talking about, and photographing for the last week and I still feel I don't have nearly enough information to be able to formulate any kind of opinion. I do know is that I worked a lot, and our nice quiet town, has not been nice and quiet.

Things really started to get out of hand on Tuesday, when I was called in to work on my day off to go over to Joe Paterno's house were students were gathering to show their support. As I pulled up the road was closed and I could hear chanting as I ran down the hill to his house. He had pulled into a mob of students and was trying to walk to his garage. He smiled as he fought the crowd, smiled for a few pictures, and thanked everyone for their support.

Once he was in the house he and Sue came over to the front window and as he opened the window students rushed towards the house.

He thanked the crowd again and reminded everyone to keep the victims in their prayers.

"Beat Nebraska!" He proclaimed with a fist.

After a while of chants and cheers Joe walked out of the house to again talk to everyone, he didn't even have his shoes on.

Wednesday I was back to Joe's house to join the group of about 100 other media members wait for him to leave for practice. Early Wednesday morning Joe announced that he would retire at the end of the season.

Joe watched as the team started to come out for practice, and gave a few pointers to the kicker.

As the night unfolds, the board of trustees holds a press conference that was packed with media outlets from across the country. When Surma announced Spanier was fired, the room stayed quiet, then with the announcement of Joe Paterno being fired the entire room gasped and started yelling questions.

After the press conference students took the streets in town, and Joe and Sue emotionally came out of their houes in their pajamas to talk to the media. I was sent back to work to edit and help prepare the next days paper so missed out on the craziness. Then it set in as I was driving home from work during the early morning hours, I photographed Joe Paterno's last practice as football coach.

Thursday governor Corbett arrived to meet with the trustees and also answered questions.

So much in three short days, and so much more to come.

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