If there is a hell, I hope Joe Paterno is burning. Or maybe getting raped by a guy five times older than he is and 10 times as strong. Poetic justice baby.
I can’t blame Paterno for what Jerry Sandusky did. In Paterno’s defense, Sandusky fooled everyone except his victims for a while. Sandusky was one of the “Thousand Points Of Light” under the first President Bush. I want to believe that Paterno found Sandusky’s “behavior, (I use that word because I can’t think of one more degenerate, decadent, low, mean, rotten, unhealthy, and/or wicked) to be abhorrent and despicable, against all norms of what any decent human being would find beyond the pale, beyond all acceptable beliefs.
I can blame Paterno for not doing a damn thing about it, except to try to cover his own ass.
In my career, I’ve been around people with immense power and literally (which is a word I rarely use) world-wide clout in their respective fields. Paterno had that type of sway in Happy Valley, most of Pennsylvania and in large portions of the rest of the universe, college football or otherwise. What powerful people are always most afraid of is… losing what they have.
Paterno had what he had at Penn St. for 46 years.
Whether it was good timing, blind luck, or long and thorough and forward-thinking work (the last one is the one I believe to be true), Paterno endured. The endurance became legend.
The legend became something that no one in Happy Valley could fuck with.
I have to wonder if Penn St. had been more successful in football in the years when Sandusky’s “transgressions” (is “multiple and repeated rape” a more accurate phrase here?) first appeared on Paterno’s radar, would JoePa have been more willing to take the hit? Could he have told potential recruits “So what? We were 11-1 and won our bowl game. So we had to fire the Defensive Coordinator because he was a pervert? Who cares? It’s all good!” The fact was, his teams had been down for a while. He didn’t want to make the situation worse.
Neither, apparently, did the President of the University, or the Athletic Director, or the guy who oversaw the Penn St. police Department.
At least Paterno had the decency to die before he could see the ruins of Sandusky’s “harvest” (another terribly misused word).
Whether or not the NCAA steps in and delivers the death penalty (and if it doesn’t in this case, why does the rule even exist? SMU paid players. USF had a basketball player involved in a rape case and self-imposed. Penn St. should do the same if the NCAA doesn’t.) the civil suits that are certain to commence as soon as the lawyers can get their suits pressed, are going to cripple Penn St.
Right now, why in the world would any high-school graduate, much less viable scholarship-grade athlete, choose the Nittany Lions for their collegiate experience?
Tear down the statue. Rename the library. Get Oliver Stone to make the movie. Burn in hell.