Paterno family responds to PSU trustees

Earlier today, I wrote about a new statement from the Penn State board trustees explaining — again — why they fired coach Joe Paterno on Nov. 9. I questioned why such a statement was necessary. Apparently, Paterno's family feels the same way.

The Paterno family issued its own statement this afternoon in response to the trustees. Here it is in its entirety:

"The Paterno family is surprised and saddened that the Board of Trustees believes it is necessary and appropriate to explain — for the fourth or fifth time — why they fired Joe Paterno so suddenly and unjustifiably on Nov. 9, 2011.

"The latest statement is yet another attempt by the Board to deflect criticism of their leadership by trying to focus the blame on Joe Paterno. This is not fair to Joe's legacy; it is not consistent with the facts; and it does not serve the best interests of the university. The board's latest statement reaffirms that they did not conduct a thorough investigation of their own and engaged in a rush to judgment.

"At various times, university officials have said that they fired Joe Paterno. At other times they have said they didn't fire him. They have simultaneously accused him of moral and leadership failures, and praised him for the high standards he set for the university.

"The tough questions that have yet to be addressed relate not to Joe Paterno, but to the board. Two months ago, as Joe Paterno was dying, the board conducted a series of media interviews condemning him for 'moral' failures. Now they are trying a different tack and accusing him of 'leadership' failures. The question we would ask is simply this, when will the board step up and acknowledge that the ultimate responsibility for this crisis is theirs? Everyone who cares about Penn State is longing for strong, courageous, honest leadership. Today's statement is anything but that."

This remains a highly-charged debate, with some people feeling that Paterno didn't deserve the treatment he received and others believing that the trustees had little choice but to dismiss him at the time (I fall into the latter camp, by the way). Regardless, it serves very little purpose to extend this controversy with public statements that don't contain any new information. I'm betting most Penn State supporters would simply like to move forward.