Joe Paterno’s New Legacy
success with honor
So goes the mantra that is preached to students and faculty at Penn State University. Unfortunately, page after page of damning detail are confirming the worst accusations made against Joe Paterno in his role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Just a few years ago Joe Paterno’s legacy was set in stone — figuratively and litterally in the form of a library in his name and statue. If he was alive today he’d likely be in cuffs. That’s exactly what he deserved.
In January 2011 Paterno testified in front of a grand jury.
Paterno said McQueary told him that:
[Sandusky] was fondling, whatever you might call it – I’m not sure what the term would be – a young boy.
He was also asked if he knew of any incidents involving Sandusky that had occured prior:
I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no, I do not know of it.
But, Paterno did know. He knew all the way back in 1998, according to emails obtained by the Freeh Group.
When McQueary showed up at Paterno’s door on a Saturday morning less than two years later and described seeing Sandusky in the showers with a boy just like 1998, Paterno did absolutely nothing to stop it.
He nonchalantly passed the word along to Curley, the athletic director and even played an active role in stopping the school from contacting child protective services.
Curley emailed on Feb. 27 that, “after giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday” they should instead just talk to Sandusky. Everyone went along with it, Spanier stated via email, “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road. The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”
The “great leaders” of Penn State and the venerated Joe Pa discarded child victims like trash to protect Sandusky, the school and their own legacies.
At the very best, Paterno went along with the decision. At worst, he drove them.
There’s no denying Joe Paterno’s role as a positive force in many lives as gifted coach, philanthropist and motivator. Unfortunately, the wrong cannot be reconciled with the good.
Joe Paterno will forever be known as the man that harbored and protected a malicious child rapist. He will be known as a scumbag, a coward and as a man that cared more about protecting himself than he did about protecting helpless children.
The scandal certainly brings to question the value placed on college sports and the coaches who deliver wins to their alumni.
It’s important to reiterate that Paterno wasn’t alone in his actions, but he’s the man who was given the greatest praise, the highest honors. He was praised so highly as to be hailed as the grandfather of American sports. Unfortunately, he failed as a human, he failed to show empathy, he failed to do what was right, he was a dishonorable man.
Tear down the statue, rename the library and remember the man for his true legacy.