Friday, February 17, 2012
Athletes tainted by mistakes: Joe Pa
If by some chance you have lived on a country other than earth the last 60 years, then i will share with you what i am eluding to. Joe Paterno is the winningest coach in College football history with over 800 victories. He was a head coach for the last 46 years of those 60 that he coached, surpassing Bear Bryant over 10 years ago. Now enter into the picture Jerry Sandusky. An assistant coach on staff at Penn State for 32 years. During the tenure of Jerry Sandusky's career, he, on multiple occasions, sodomized and violated numerous young children. He even went so far as to "establish" a "charity" to help troubled kids have someone who can "help" them. As it turns out, this was a sham, giving Sandusky yet another sickening avenue to further is twisted fetish of defiling young boys, scarring them for life.
So where does Joe Paterno fit into the picture? Well what had come to light a few months ago was that in fact, the beloved "Joe Pa" had been notified of the incident in which Sandusky was caught in the locker room with one boy. Joe Pa then proceeding to pass the information to the President of the university as soon as he found out in 2002, in which they had a meeting the next day. But that is where the road ended. That is also where the harsh criticism of Paterno began.
I realize that it may come off as i'm am favoring the coach, and cutting him some slack, however that is not the case. As someone who himself has worked and has future aspirations to work with troubled youth as a Juvenile Probation officer, it is safe to say that i have a huge heart and soft spot for children-especially the disadvantaged. With that being said, the media has wrongfully taken Joe Paterno and made him the scapegoat of the entire scandal. Yes, he was the head coach. Yes, he was informed of at least one occasion. Yes, if i was a parent of the child i would still be livid. However, the burden should not have rested on his shoulders. Don't get me wrong though. Even as a college student, this angers me beyond measure to know the kind of sadistic pedophiles that are out there. However, Joe Paterno should not have taken the bulk of the blame, but rather a small portion.
I do not voice my opinion on his side because he had a great track record in the sports world. I come to his defense because of the quality man he was throughout the 85 years of his life. Countless times he put the investment of the students as people above the sports priority. He would bench students who got a b-, suspend players for violation of minor team rules, and donate time alongside his wife in serving the special olympics. In addition, he donated over $4 million dollars to the university and other causes, while his wife was a philanthropist herself. If you read any quote from his players or from him, he cared more about people than holding any record for winning. But he held his ground for over 60 years. That cannot and Should not be wiped away by one gigantic failure. His failure wasn't even the worst of the entire scandal, but the media would make it seem that way.
What Joe Paterno has done as a human being transcends all he ever did as a coach of any football team. And coming from someone who typically gets disgusted by the preferential treatment of celebrities who commit crime, it is a shame to see such a man of integrity essentially die to the weight of the world on his shoulders. The following two video links discusses what his legacy will be, if any at all: