Judging Joe Pa

Legendary coach was much more than the scandal at the end of his career

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Even a colossal, mammoth, thundering, monster-truck-sized mistake is just that – a mistake. And mistakes can and should be forgiven.

Moreover, it’s not mere spectators that forgiveness is asked of.

In the case of Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach who even kicked himself for not doing more to report and prevent alleged child molestations under his nose, it’s no longer up to us to judge him. Never was, really.

And, as stunning as his failure to take the allegations more seriously was, the man was so much more than that. No one, particularly an 85-year-old who was revered and beloved, should be defined solely by his mistakes, however consequential.

“His lasting memory should dig deeper than our last memory of his career,” is how Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux put it Monday.

Paterno coached there for 62 seasons, 46 as head coach, Michaux noted – and set an academic standard that became what is now a quaint model for student-athletes.

“He lived his life more admirably than most,” Michaux wrote.

Yes, he let down the alleged victims of the apparently predatory assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, in ways he probably never would’ve forgiven himself – had he not succumbed this past weekend, only months after his retirement, to complications from lung cancer and, most likely, deep sorrow. But heaven knows how many young lives he forged and fortified over all those years.

And only heaven can judge him.

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Stop The Censorship
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Stop The Censorship 01/23/12 - 11:13 pm
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Okay people here's the deal
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Okay people here's the deal on this Joe Paterno thing:

To me accusing someone of rape, child rape, or murder is a BIG DEAL okay? It's not something to take lightly. These are heinous crimes and in todays media based fear driven environment just merely being accused of one is enough to ruin a person whether or not they are found innocent later on. So if someone came up to me and said "I think I saw something bad...then again I'm not so sure it might've been nothing " it probably wouldn't be enough for me to accuse someone of something. I would try to ask for more details...I would try to find someone who might be able to verify the story....ask people who know the person if they've ever seen him/her do anything wrong. I would be VERY apprehensive making an accusation against someone when the witness to the alleged incident wasn't even sure if they saw anything wrong themselves. It's easy to say in hindsight what you would've done if it does eventually come out that a crime did take place. And it's easy to say that because NOW we KNOW it truly happened and therefore you are basing your opinion of what someone should've done based on knowing evidence, that, when they were presented with the accusation DID NOT exist yet/was unknown.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/24/12 - 03:07 am
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Sounds about right to me. He

Sounds about right to me. He was pretty old when faced with the crisis that would have shaken Penn St. to it's foundation and didn't react as he should have. Sandusky was removed as the "coach in waiting" after the reports so that tells me they all knew something was wrong with him.

blues550
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blues550 01/24/12 - 06:11 am
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Excuse me. The loveable old
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Excuse me. The loveable old guy enabled a pedophile that through 2011 still managed to have access to victims not to mention being right there on campus. Great men do not enable child molesters.

All of these events did not happen in the times before the crimes of Sandusky and his ilk were made aware to the public. The Boy Scouts had already gone through nationaly publiized scandals and had developed outstanding youth protection programs. So had countless other organizations.

Then there's this little thing called a cover-up. Penn State did this as well. Poorly.

Paterno is by no means the only person at wrong here but with his lofty title and legend comes big time rersponsibility.

Paterno fumbled.

belle
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belle 01/24/12 - 08:35 am
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Judge him? How about we
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Judge him? How about we learn from him. Or from his mistakes to be exact. I think it is simple for anyone with children to decide how to handle a situation like this...ask yourself "if my child were the victim in this incidence, how would I want it handled?".

fd1962
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fd1962 01/24/12 - 11:55 am
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'The Onion' said it best:
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'The Onion' said it best: "Paterno dies in hospital Friday night. Doctors involved vow to report it to their superiors tomorrow, or, maybe in a day or so."

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 01/24/12 - 07:03 pm
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lots of unpublished comments.
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lots of unpublished comments. think they have a different pov from aces's?

Skeet099
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Skeet099 01/24/12 - 08:52 pm
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Here we go again. Anyone who

Here we go again. Anyone who would write an article or letter trying to excuse Paterno's lack of morality or conscience should be ashamed. I wonder how many parents of the abused children or the abused children themselves have thought, "Hey, his lack of action was OK. He's a great football coach. He's done so much for the school. He's such a great man. I can understand why he put the well being of the football program before the well being of children." I get the feeling anyone excusing this guy's lack of action(cover up) hasn't taken the time to imagine how they would feel had that been their child. Here's some food for thought. Prisons are full of the worst society has to offer. Prisons house the people that are unfit for society. Prisons house the lowest of the low. Yet in prison, amongst the lowest of the low, they despise child molesters. The lowest of the low consider child molesters scum and feel that they should be dealt with harshly. If people in prison don't tolerate abusing children, what does that say about your beloved coach? It tells me that a thief, drug dealer, murderer etc... would've have handled the situation better than this guy did.

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