Award-winning author John Feinstein made his regular appearance on “The Mike Wise Show with Holden Kushner” Wednesday, and the topic was the sad situation at Penn State and the announcement of head football coach Joe Paterno retiring at season’s end. Feinstein believes Paterno had his priorities wrong when former graduate assistant and current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary came forward with what he has seen in 2002.
“(Joe Paterno) forgot what his obligation was. His obligation was to those kids. It wasn’t will this hurt recruiting, will this affect the program? Once Mike McQueary walked into his house and told him what he’d seen, regardless of the details, ‘Coach, I saw coach (Jerry) Sandusky in the shower with a 10-year old boy’ that’s all you need, ball game over right there. Once he heard those words, his obligation to the football program should have stopped.”
Feinstein did make sure to note how highly he regarded Joe Paterno before this incident came to light, but despite his accomplishments on and off the field, Feinstein is torn with how the Joe Paterno era should end.
“There is part of me that says, what he accomplished in the last forty years should allow him to at least coach these last four games or five games and go out for their bowl game. There’s another part of me that says he still hasn’t answered for what he did or what he didn’t do, and he shouldn’t be on that field on Saturday, because the focus on Saturday will be Joe Paterno.”
The Penn State and Jerry Sandusky story has dominated the sports media landscape over the past few days, and Feinstein feels that because Joe Paterno is attached to the situation, this will be a historic sports tragedy.
“If this was just some college coach, then of course it’s a story and a tragedy, but what I think we are going to find out eventually is that this is going to be a seminal moment in sports history because it is Joe Paterno.” Feinstein continued, “When they write the biography of Joe Paterno, this has to be in the first sentence. It has to be, ‘Joe Paterno, all-time winningest coach, crafted a brilliant career, a 46-year career, that was ended in a horrific fashion because of this incident.’ That’s the first sentence.”
Feinstein on Paterno’s legacy:
Listen to the full interview: