A Good Man Passes Away

Joe Paterno passed away after a short battle with cancer.  His final battle was an exemption from a larger one looming over his role in the public scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky.  Jerry Sandusky has been tried in the court of public opinion while he awaits trial on charges handed down by a grand jury.  When the story broke it triggered an emotional firestorm that scorched everything in its path-school administrators, athletic personnel, family members and even the reluctant alleged victims who have come forward with their allegations.

Guilt By Association

Joe Paterno, the legendary football coach of Penn State, was drawn into the vortex of this storm like a tin roof in a tornado.  His association with Mr. Sandusky, his knowledge of at least one incident of sexual misconduct, and his failure to “do more” are all factors in this fluid story.  By his own admission his sorrow over the events that are alleged was one of his greatest disappointments.  For the record, when he learned of an incident from a coach on his staff he told his superiors believing they would do right by investigating the allegation and taking proper action.

The shock of the allegations brought all associated with Penn State as well as the rest of the nation to a lingering frenzy.  Many angry over the allegations have taken a scorched earth stance by condemning everyone remotely close to what happened.  Not even  Joe Paterno is exempt.  The Penn State University Board fired him despite his stellar reputation, his support for the University, his documented integrity, and the love he knew from players, coaches and fans.  He was given no reason, no hearing and no time to understand the Board’s actions.  As events continue to unfold, it seems that the Board saw the chance to remove Coach Paterno without cause and the Sandusky allegations gave them the perfect opportunity.  In fact it seems now that the unanimous vote was an effective quick strike.  Paterno eagerly promised to have his public say but he became ill and died without that opportunity.

Opinions and Truth

Will he receive a pardon for having done too little to late?  He did nothing illegal.  He informed his superiors.  He awaited the results.  What he got was fired and hung in the court of public opinion.  In the end Coach Paterno’s life and legacy may be marred by the events surrounding his final days on earth.  What he should have done remains is cause for speculation and what he did is insufficient for his critics.  Will he ultimately be pardoned?  It is doubtful that those who quickly condemned him will find a way out of their opinions.  People who carry stones in their pockets are always ready to move on to their next opportunity.

No there will be no pardon or apology to Paterno.  His death makes that irrelevant.  Sorry Joe.  You deserved better but don’t worry the truth has a way of coming to light.  When it does I hope is shines on your legacy and blinds those who have judged you in self-righteous haste.