Joe Paterno passed away yesterday, January 22nd, 2012, at the age of 85. Paterno was the head coach of Penn State University for 46 years. He has over 400 wins as a coach, two National Championships, 24 bowl victories, and took over a Penn State team that had little to no notoriety. He took a team that was not even on the map in college football and made into an elite program. While I am not a Penn State fan, I hold a great deal of admiration for Coach Paterno for what he did on the field. However, his coaching dominance of college football is being overshadowed.
Jerry Sandusky, who is a life long friend of Paterno of fifty years, and former defensive coordinator for Penn State, is currently facing charges of sexual molestation of a child on the premises of Penn State. This was reported by Mike McQuery who at the time was a member of the Penn State football staff. McQuery reported the incident to Coach Paterno, who then passed on the information to his superiors. Sandusky was eventually arrested, and charged with multiple counts. The President, and Athletic director of Penn State were also charged with concealing a crime. Paterno was not charged with anything illegal, just bad judgement.
We will never know what Paterno was thinking at the time he was made aware of the Sandusky incident. At the time he was 75 years old, and claims that he really didn't know what to do, and that he was never in that sort of situation before. Does that really seem THAT unreasonable? Here is a grandfather, who admittedly all he knows is football, put in a situation where one of his close personal friends is being accused of such a heinous crime. The fact that Paterno did report the allegations to his superiors, and also fully cooperated with authorities during their investigation. We should have no reason to put any blame on Paterno. Jerry Sandusky is the alledged perpetrator, not Paterno. Was Paterno guilty of bad judgement? Maybe, but should we tarnish a legacy that he has worked his entire life for?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion on what they feel, or think about Joe Paterno. Whatever their opinion is, is their constitutional right, and I am not taking that away from anybody. However, keep this in mind, a man has died, a family is grieving over a loved ones death. No matter what circumstances have come out involving Sandusky, Joe Paterno deserves better. I do not condone any actions that Sandusky is accused of. Yes, Paterno could have done more, but the fact that he did report the allegations, should account for something. So please, let this family grieve over his death. If you have a negative opinion about Joe Paterno, keep it to yourself. Losing a husband, a father, and a grandfather is hard enough without hearing horrible things about him. Despite what occured at Penn State. Joe Paterno will in my mind remain one of College Footballs greatest coaches of all time, and something that Jerry Sandusky is accused of should not tarnish that reputation.