A surreal, out-of-body week just got weirder.
Joe Paterno was fired on Wednesday night, and though that wasn’t necessarily the shock you would have thought, say, last week, the reaction was strong and passionate.
Late last night, TV images showed students gathering in downtown State College, by the thousands. Most in protest. Some just to see what was going on or what might happen.
A TV truck was overturned. It sounds there were a couple of arrests. An ESPN reporter was hit in the leg with a small rock. Film at 10.
Overall, it looked like a peaceful demonstration.
But what does that mean for the men in red this weekend?
Yesterday, my esteemed colleague, Dirk Chatelain, wrote that Saturday’s game shouldn’t be played. His reasoning was more of a moral stand, that there were more important issues to tackle this weekend. I disagreed with that action, but he makes a good point.
But after watching the scene Wednesday night, I wonder if Nebraska officials, coaches, players and fans should be concerned about their safety.
I think that’s a legitimate concern.
While last night was peaceful, the reaction toward Paterno’s exit has just begun. And Paterno might have a news conference on Thursday. Who’s to say what might happen next? Who’s to say if it could escalate again, and possibly into Saturday. The first football game without Paterno would be a logical time for a protest. Perhaps heated.
When you take down an icon, and the school president, in one sitting, that’s a full night. The Penn State campus is going to be unsettled for a while.
Is it a good idea to hold a football game, in a stadium that holds over 100,000?
I’m sure Nebraska officials will be monitoring the situation tomorrow. So will we. Stay tuned.