I think that one of life’s hardest lessons is realizing that someone is not at all what you believed them to be. All of us create these idealistic images in our heads and our hearts about people without really knowing who they are. I understand now that I’m looking 60 right in the eyes how unrealistic that is because people, no matter who they are, will never, ever live up to that image we have in our heads and our hearts.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where Penn State was the only college football team that was talked about. I was married to a man who couldn’t watch Penn State football games because he was so invested in the outcome – he also called Joe Paterno, “God.” I always teased him about that, still, there was this thing in the back of my mind that thought; “God? Really?” I mean, I loved Penn State Football; I just never jumped on the Joe Paterno train. It was the team I loved to follow and the University, not the man.
Joe Paterno was only human, and as much as his fans made him out to be God-like, the man was of this earth and most certainly not a saint. He allowed the media to perpetuate this image of himself as the tough but loving coach who cared about his team. The Coach who taught his team; “success with honor,” and had no names on the jersey’s because we were all about team – team – team.
It appears now that team really was what mattered most to him – at any cost.
Was he a good man, a good Father, a good Coach? Personally, I don’t know any of these things – I didn’t know him, I wasn’t his child, and I never played football for him.
What I do know is this… There is this great quote by Edmund Burke that goes: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Evil triumphed here, big time, and Joe Paterno did nothing to stop the raping of young boys by his friend. You can decide for yourself how good of a man he was.
For those who say he’s dead, why does this matter, let him rest in peace – I say; how can it not matter? And should he really be resting in peace? Really?
Joe Paterno was arguably the most powerful man on the campus of Penn State University. He had the power to stop his friend, Jerry Sandusky from raping young boys, and he chose to instead protect his reputation and the reputation of Penn State Football. No matter how one tries to reason this out in their mind, it’s just wrong. On every level possible, it’s just wrong.
Joe Paterno is no longer on the top of the all-time win list; he’s now 12th on the list, which is as it should be. For to believe Joe Paterno is a winner, on any level, is just wrong. We need to educate everyone on the matters of child rape, we need to make sure Jerry Sandusky never sees the light of day; and we need to let Penn State move on and see what kind of University they can be without the power and influence of Joe Paterno.
I’m not saying that Joe Paterno is the only one to blame here –Everyone one who was fired deserved to be fired, anyone involved needs to pay the price for the rape of these children. However there is proof that JoePa persuaded the President on the University not to report his friend, Jerry Sandusky to state authorities. Thanks to Joe Paterno’s persuasion, the University simply warned Sandusky not to bring the children on campus. So, to be clear, JoePa knew the children were being raped by his friend, and instead of turning him in, he simply asked him to rape them any place other than the campus of Penn State. Who does that?
As for Joe Paterno’s family… Sadly, like millions of us have had to do – they need to grieve the loss of their loved one, and they need to come to terms with the fact that the man they knew had faults and made grave mistakes that impacted lives beyond what they could ever fathom. Don’t try and change what the truth is – it just is what it is. Find the good, accept the bad, and move on as best you can.
I’ll still be paying extra on my Time Warner Cable account here in San Diego, CA to watch Penn State play every game this season. I love my Blue and White because no matter what…
WE ARE… PENN STATE…