The legendary, famous – or depending who you talk to, “infamous” – Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died over the weekend at age 85 from complications from lung cancer.
This is sad for a variety of reasons.
First, his death comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal that drug Paterno’s previous good name through the mud, and deservedly so. He failed to follow up on allegations of sex abuse on a minor (a little boy) committed by his former lieutenant Jerry Sandusky. Either Paterno should have fired Sandusky or reported him to law enforcement HIMSELF, not just sending it up the chain of command (who later sat on the allegations and did nothing). After all, he’s Joe Freaking Paterno – he ran Penn State, not the athletic director nor the president.
Second, that scandal has tarnished what should have been a memorable legacy. Before the scandal, Paterno was known for what was right about college football. He never had the NCAA snoop around his program. He ran a clean, tight ship that had most of his players graduate.
Paterno really cared about academics. He donated money he earned from advertisements and bonuses to various departments on campus, notably the campus library that bears his name.
So of all of the good Paterno has done for Penn State and college football in general, it’s a shame that this sex abuse scandal ruined his good name. It should serve as another reason why Sandusky should be thrown UNDER the jail.