Sunday, January 22, 2012
Joe Paterno: Gone to that great bowl game in the sky
It's kind of ridiculous that we live in such an all-or-nothing society, where one mistake suddenly washes away an entire lifetime of service to one's fellow man. At a point in his life where his health was beginning to fade, bones breaking, and enduring the stress of coaching a Big 10 football team when most people are retired, JoePa didn't know how to handle the situation. He thought that the people he had turned the situation over to, those actually legally obligated to do something about it, would take care of it.
He was wrong, and people looking for blood because they can't handle their emotions sought his. The funny part is that he actually did do something about it. He didn't sweep the allegations under the rug. He told his superiors who in turn notified the Penn State police, who then dropped the entire investigation. Jerry Sandusky raped those boys, not Joe Paterno, but this scandal will forever tarnish whatever reputation he had preceding it.
Well, it won't for me. I'm the type of guy who doesn't pretend to know what I'd do in someone else's shoes. Do I believe that a lifetime of good absolves anyone for a moment of sin or weakness? No. But I do understand that all human beings are flawed. I mean hell, Joe Paterno was so concerned with being ethical that he once reported himself to the NCAA for a violation that he committed (he saw a player working out in his free time, which is a no-no due to practice regulations in the NCAA).
So say what you want about him. The man was a much better person than 90% of the population, and he didn't actually do anything wrong. Some people are just angry because he "didn't do enough." It's not like he raped those boys. It's not like he murdered someone. Hell, JoePa didn't even break the law. But I know that doesn't matter to a lot of people who put emotion ahead of rational thought.
Anyway, for those of us who don't act as though we're impeccable saints, raise a glass for a man who truly had a positive impact on society; one of the few men in this world that actually believed in words like "honor." If you'd like to read a much better tribute to him, here's a good link.