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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For the first time in 46 years, the Penn State Nittany Lions took to the football field without Joe Paterno leading the way. There are many mixed emotions from PSU students and alumni who are trying to deal with the troubling news that has tainted the legendary football program.

Every Saturday, Penn State alumni and fans gather at Break Time to watch their beloved Nittany Lions on the gridiron, but this week was different. In the wake of shocking allegations and the firing of Head Coach Joe Paterno, their joy and excitement were replaced with sadness and confusion.

“I hope we win, but that’s secondary to the bigger issue of a major university, somewhere along the line, blew it and didn’t act responsibly,” Penn State alumni Howard Grotsky said.

Grotsky earned a psychology degree from Penn State and graduated in 1969. He was a sophomore when Joe Paterno took over as head coach. Grotsky said although he never had the pleasure of meeting JoePa, the head coach still inspired him to be a great student and an upstanding member of society.

“We’re not perfect. Penn State isn’t perfect. Joe Paterno isn’t perfect,” Grotsky said. “They screwed up. There were mistakes made, but it’s still a great institution. I think Paterno is still a great human being. I think he’s done a lot of good for a lot of people. It doesn’t take away from what he has done.”

While Grotsky agrees Paterno could have and should have done more to stop the alleged sexual assault, he believes the board was premature in firing Paterno. He was shocked when he first heard allegations about former coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy on campus but says he was more shocked when he found out that so many knew but did not do much to stop it.

“It’s sad. It’s very sad,” Grotsky said. “I hope it does enlighten everyone, university or not university-connected, that child sexual abuse and child abuse is something that we as a society should not tolerate. It’s wrong. It’s always wrong.”

Grotsky said he’s proud of the 10,000 students who attended the candlelight vigil in honor of the victims Friday night on Penn State’s campus. He said that spirit of compassion and unity is what Penn State is all about.

Comment on this Story

  • 911

    Paterno has won 409 games. He has helped usher thousands of young men into adulthood. But if Paterno’s inaction allowed a monster to continue preying on children, those victories don’t mean a thing.

  • Guest 328

    It took so long for these victims to come forward, but at last, they will have stopped this sick man from harming more children.
    Locally, R.C. Soles “boys” have been crying out for help for years. Will they ever get justice? And how high up does this cover-up go? Looks like even the prison system bows to Soles’ request to move Allen Strickland closer to home. I hope they all end up in prison!

  • Loriaga

    How his son got to take the field Saturday absurd and disrespectful! Shame on Penn State!!!

  • Guest123456789

    If by “great human being” you mean he’s a disgrace: You’re right. This “screw up” isn’t a blown coverage call, people. This is going to get much uglier. I mean, I can’t stand Penn State football and their fans. Premature?? They simply just aren’t getting it. I find the sound of Penn State fans cheering…creeeepy! Remember the scene in Forrest Gump when Jenny is throwing rocks at her old house. Remember what happens next?

    Reap the whirlwind, Penn State.

  • Guest2020

    Mr. Grotsky said, “child sexual abuse and child abuse is something that we as a society should not tolerate. It’s wrong. It’s always wrong.” If that is the case then why does he believe that “the board was premature in firing Paterno”? As a mental health professional, Mr. Grotsky should know that a victim of child molestation should receive professional help as soon as possible to try to minimize the psychological damage. By Paterno doing nothing, this incident remained unreported therefore the child did not receive help when it would have done the most good. The adults that knew about this failed that little boy and all of Sandusky’s victims that came after. How many lives would be different had these adults stepped up to the plate and done what was right for that little boy?

  • Gramps1935

    I agree with Mr Grotsky. Joe Paterno is a “great human being”. All we’re focusing on is one mistake, and not the many great things he has done. He’s like the Catholic Bishops. He is able to brush aside child-rape, as long as he can keep his image alive. What I find amazing, is how he can continue to preach to people, and never even consider helping out this child, for over 9 years.

    But don’t worry, ole Joe has his bases covered. He went and hired one of the best lawyers money can buy. He’s all about Joe Paterno. It always has been.

  • PublicAvenger

    As long as we have people standing up for coaches, administrators, bishops, and CEO’s, who lie and coverup childrapers, we will continue to have this horrible problem.

  • Robert Green

    Benedict Arnold = Treason
    Bernie Madoff = Ponzi scheme,greedy scoundrel
    Obama = socialist
    Joe Paterno = narcissist
    Penn State = safe haven for pedophiles

    Through Joe Paterno’s clout, he assumed this scandal would not come to light before his passing.The football program had more value than the lives of these children.He did not pursue the matter.The Second Mile foundation should have been an alarming signal to those that knew Sandusky had major problems. The school had to put a new face on the entire administration and coaches because of the severity and depth of the allegations.The house cleaning will continue, as will the humiliation of their fans.I am sure there is more information that we are not privy to.Football should be a very low priority for Penn State into the foreseeable future.


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