Paterno shouldn’t be remembered for scandal


College football lost one of its best in Joe Paterno on Sunday.

A statue of Joe Paterno outside of the Penn State's football field should remind people how dedicated he was to the university. Photo by: seng1011 / Flickr

The famed Penn State coach died just 65 days after being diagnosed with lung cancer and about three months after coaching his beloved Nittany Lions for the final time. He will forever be remembered as Penn State’s Joe Pa, a loyal leader and friendly face to his players and the student body. Unfortunately, some people outside of Penn State may only remember Paterno for the scandal involving his former replacement, Jerry Sandusky.

Critics from everywhere surfaced when Paterno was sadly forced to leave Penn State, slinging mud at the man headlines are calling “a flawed hero.” Yes, he made some questionable mistakes by not whistle blowing on his assistant coach. However, how are we to know how much Paterno actually knew about Sandusky’s inexcusable action? And from my understanding, Sandusky’s wrong doings were reported all the way to the top, which in turn did nothing.

It is former Penn State president Graham Spanier and former athletics director Tim Curley who should be remembered as the behind-the-scenes transgressors of the Sandusky scandal. Alas, Paterno’s name will be forever linked — closer than any of his colleagues — to Sandusky’s sins. It caused him a great deal of stress in his final months and the heartache from the entire affair more or less killed the poor man.

There’s no question Paterno bled Penn State blue and white. I just wish he could have done it for a little longer and without any shame. He was punished for his unethical behavior while he was still on this earth and really never received the chance to set the record straight. And I believe, it breaks the hearts of football fans everywhere that he never will. Too many times have I witnessed the heros of sports either have their names tarnished or do it themselves, but the ones who have earned true respect like Joe Paterno, always seem to get the worst of it. I think it’s because when we as outsiders finally see them as human, we jump at the chance to show them in a negative light.

Paterno shouldn’t be remembered like that. He did too many good things in his life. So please, remember Joe Pa for the halftime speeches, the championships or even his thick glasses and raspy voice. That’s what we as fans owe him for what he gave to us during his 46 years at the helm of Penn State.


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