Out of the loop for a few days. Battling the winter cold, a winter cold and some very busy news days…
I resisted jumping in on the Joe Paterno feeding frenzy that took place over the past few days. But now, I suppose it’s time.
I have a son who attends Penn State. I proposed marriage to my wife at Penn State. OK, so it was in a bathroom at the Nittany Arms Apartments after a few cocktails but the intentions were still pure. I watch Penn State football. I know kids who play ice hockey for Penn State.
But I must say to begin with that I never got the Joe Paterno thing. To me, I figured he was a good football coach. Heck, no one wins that many games not being good at the job. But c’mon, we’re all ready to run Andy Reid out of town after 13 seasons. And I’m one of the ones looking for change for the Eagles. So how the heck does Paterno coach nearly as long as I have been on the planet?
And that my friends is where the Penn State mystique begins…Paterno is more than just a coach. For whatever reasons the guy got to the top and stayed there. And we know it must have involved more than just winning football games. I will say that he did a lot of super things for the university and its students. He inspired thousands of them to aspire to great heights in their lives. I know this because I have read their stories in our newspaper and in other publications.
There can be no argument that the man did some great things in his life. We all just dream of having the kind of career he had and accomplishing the things he accomplished. His footprint will forever be part of Penn State.
And then, poof. In an instant, one mishandling of an incident, the legacy of Joe Paterno is tarnished. No matter what your opinion is of the entire Sandusky incident, there’s no denying that Paterno’s legacy is now, “Yeh, he was a great football coach and yeh, he did so many great things for Penn State, BUT …” It’s the largest BUT of all time.
Paterno’s side of the story aside from what he put out up until the point when he passed away will never be really known. He kept things close to the vest. Perhaps it was because he was 85 and his generation either didn’t know how or didn’t want to deal with such an awful thing like the sexual abuse of kids.
None of us — unless we’ve been in that position — can ever know what or how Paterno was feeling once he (apparently) learned that his good friend was allegedly sexually abusing young boys. It must have been a horrible thing to find out. It was at that point that his legacy ended…
Here’s what I think: Joe Paterno was a great football coach. He was Penn State. He managed to recruit top athletes and help maintain a program that was second to none. But then he was faced with what was probably the worst possible scenario ever imagined. A good and trusted friend allegedly committed the worst crime of all — the sexual abuse of young boys.
The problem I have is in how far he pushed. If that was me I would not have stopped until I knew someone in charge was doing something. I realize this would have been painful for Joe Paterno but deep down he had to know that doing anything less would get him to where he was in the court of public opinion. That’s what is so troubling.
The bigger question I have now is where does the entire case go from here now that Paterno has passed away? I’m not sure…
— Andy Hachadorian