Thoughts on Joe Paterno

I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia in the 70's and 80's in a football loving family. My mother went to Penn State and it was easy to find Penn State games on television. I loved seeing the Nittany Lions beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl for their first national championship. My high school teammates tried to imitate Shane Conlan and D.J. Dozier style of play. I watched the 1994 team will the Rose Bowl but not get their far share of the national championship. I went to a Division 2 university, but I counted myself as a Penn State fan.

For years I pointed to Joe Paterno and Penn State as a program that did it the right way. He took academics seriously, you did not hear of the NCAA buzzing around the program, and you did not hear of boosters having too much influence. You did not hear about the same problems other programs had with arrests.

Doing it the right way Joe Paterno became the moral center of the university. He was the one thing everyone knew about the university. He raised over $13 million to build a library. It was easy to call him a saint. I bought into the image of Joe Paterno as a moral man. He was one of my idols. I thought he won the right to be the head coach as long as he wanted, no matter how many games he won.

When I heard the Joe Paterno did not contact the police when he found out about Jerry Sandusky it angered me to no end. Joe Paterno was supposed to be the guy who understood the right way to do things. He was the guy who understood how to operate the right way.

I guess I was buying into the hype. I was listening to what people in the media said. I am saddened and depressed by the events of the last week. It makes it harder how Joe Paterno and the University has handled the crisis. Joe Paterno has not shown that he knows what the right thing to do in this situation is. It hurts because of the value I placed in Joe Paterno.

There are no more heroes left, just men.


Popular Posts