Paterno Covered Up Molestation, So Some Say Eddie Robinson Should Get His Record Back
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, KultureKritic.com
An attorney in Louisiana is pushing to reinstate legendary coach Eddie Robinson to the top of the all-time wins list after it was revealed that Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was part of a long-term cover-up of child molestation taking place at the university over a number of years. The Jerry Sandusky scandal has rocked the Penn State community and severely tarnished the legacy of Joe Paterno on the school’s campus and across the nation.
Robinson coached at Grambling for 57 years, making himself the winningest coach in college football history. This record was broken by Joe Paterno, just barely. An attorney is asking that the NCAA infractions committee step in and vacate some of Paterno’s wins, since he should not have been the head coach during the time that he was engaged in the alleged cover-up.
Paterno has exactly 409 wins, and Robinson has 408. Paterno broke Robinson’s record just two weeks before the Sandusky scandal broke. Attorney Pamela Breedlove has filed a request that Robinson’s record be reinstated. The request was approved by Mayor Edward Jones, according to the Shreveport Times in Louisiana.
Breedlove says that she is not concerned with how many victories are vacated, but she probably feels that just two would be enough. The letter was sent to the NCAA on three pages explaining why the city feels the way that it does on the issue.
”We just believe that you would want to associate the record with someone who had the character of coach (Eddie) Robinson,” Breedlove said. ”Especially now that we’ve come to realize how bad things really were (at Penn State).”
NCAA spokesman Amy Kudwa Dunham says that the letter is in her possession, but that the matter has not been placed before the infractions committee as of yet. The president of Grambling has been relatively mum on the issue, but we can guess what he’s probably thinking.
”Grambling State University is a proud institutional member of the city of Grambling, Louisiana and a proud member of the NCAA,” Grambling President Frank G. Pogue said in a non-committal statement. ”We are as passionate about Coach Eddie legacy as anyone. This is an NCAA matter.”
Robinson died in 2007 as one of the greatest coaches in the history of college sports. He was less-celebrated than he should have been, largely because only white men got jobs at major universities. Today, some of that has changed, as the best black athletes pass up HBCUs for predominantly white institutions with multi-million dollar budgets. It’s easy to argue that the exploitation today is just as bad as the exclusion from yesterday.
I have no idea what inspired Attorney Breedlove to make this request, but I have three words for her: I-Love-It. It’s difficult to argue that if anyone had known about the abuses being committed by Jerry Sandusky, that Paterno would have had his job. Once he was found to have been part of the scandal, he was forced to resign. This says, quite clearly, that Paterno should not have been coaching at Penn State for the last several years of his career.
When NCAA athletes have been found to have accepted illegal benefits or engaged in “unethical” activity during their time on the field, the NCAA has no problem stepping in and forcing the players and their schools to vacate victories that were the result of ill-gotten gains. What makes this case different is that the same penalties that we readily place on young black kids would be placed on an old, legendary white guy. The NCAA stepping up and replacing Joe Paterno with Eddie Robinson at the top of the wins list would take nothing less than a complete act of God. The fact is that the NCAA is known for exploiting black people, not rewarding them.
I don’t expect that this attorney is going to have her request granted. But when measuring up against pre-existing standards, it’s an absolute no-brainer. What Paterno did by looking the other way while dozens of young boys were being molesting is nothing less than pure evil, and it’s a reminder to all of us to speak up when children are being harmed, even when there is money at stake. Penn State should be absolutely ashamed.
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