The Joe Paterno Story

In Chapter 5 of the book, the story of Joe Paterno and the Penn State football program is discussed. It is a very interesting chapter because it talks about if Joe Paterno is a villain and what he should have done.

The one sentence that stuck out for me was a post from a student about JoePa saying “How can you victimize Joe Patenro?”. “I and thousands of people wouldn’t be here right now. If not for Paterno.”

When reading this, it is almost sickening thinking about how the community backed up JoePa so much. The man saw a crime happening at his University and had the opportunity to be one of the biggest hero’s by stopping Sandusky’s madness, but instead decided to throw it under the rug and not go to proper authorities.

The comment from before that says that people wouldn’t be at Penn State because of JoePa, while if he did the right thing back in 99′, a dozen or kids or so would probably not have been victimized either. If the argument here is that JoePa wanted to continue to keep the Penn State community safe and didn’t want to ruin his reputation of the school, all he needed to do was contact real authorities at the beginning and they could have arrested Sandusky. The fact that he let it drag out for over 10 years is terrible and just made his reputation even worse. The fact that anyone can defend JoePa purely on the fact that he is a good football coach is dumb.

If this happened to anybody else besides one of the best football coaches to ever live, that person would be absolutely crucified for not making the right choice and would be in a lot of trouble. As an outsider it is very easy to criticize JoePa for not doing what he did but at the same time it was probably a tough thing for him to do as he was very confused about the situation. Either way, he made the wrong choice and it is too bad that one of the best football coaches will now be remembered for what he didn’t do off the field, instead of what he actually accomplished on it.

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4 Responses to The Joe Paterno Story

  1. devongribble says:

    I couldn’t agree anymore with this. It is a shame that people can defend a person who turned a blind eye to children being abused. While he was not involved in these actions he was more than aware of what was going on, which makes him no worse than Sandusky. I can understand that Paterno accomplished many great things for the Penn State football program and people are grateful for everything that he did, but allowing for Sandusky to get away with these actions should outweigh on-field success by a landslide.

  2. ra10kw says:

    Compelling argument… being a bystander in situations like Paterno’s should indeed result in defamation, regardless of his value to Penn State. I agree that redemption in a case where young athletes are tormented and abused is totally out of the question. But while Penn State has a blemish on their permanent record, they still persevere within the American college community, something that perhaps should not be jeopardized for the actions (or rather, as you pointed out, non-actions) of JoePa.

  3. steveun says:

    Still to this day I find the entire Sandusky case disturbing. I also can’t believe that such a well respected and reputable coach such as Joe Paterno, was able to look the other way when he knew that something terrible was happening to those kids. Paterno will still go down as one of the best football coaches in the NCAA history and rightfully so, but With that being said, it’s certainly not his success that he will be remembered for.

    Paterno’s career will forever be tarnished due to his inability to report Sandusky for his despicable acts. Penn State recently settled with the victims who came out to report the abuse they endured from Sandusky years ago. The money wont fix the emotional issues these victims will have to deal with, but at least they were able to get some closure.

  4. pa10dd says:

    I’ve said this all along, Sports may be a passion and will be the center of our careers for the rest of our lives, but in the end it’s just a game. Some things transcend all and this is one of those things. It should be an instinct deep inside of you regardless of where you were born or how you were raised, the abuse of a child should be a universally disturbing thing and since there is absolutely no way Joe Paterno could have been unaware of the situation, it means he chose to ignore that instinct (assuming he wasn’t as sick as Sandusky) simply because he wanted to protect his football team. That is what makes this so sickening, that adult role models were capable of prioritizing a sport that involves throwing and running with an oddly shaped leather ball seems just so small and pointless in comparison.

    The only positive now is that Penn State can move on, hopefully officials have taken the proper steps to ensure that football or any sport ever takes priority over the health and welfare of a child.

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