What Happened to the "Pa" in "JoePa"?

Changing Channels' Matt Aug reflects on the life and legacy of Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

Goodbye “JoePa” … you will be missed and you will certainly be remembered, for both the good and the bad.

Sunday's passing of Penn State football coaching legend Joe Paterno was a sad event in a number of ways.

Sad for the death of a seemingly once great football man who touched the lives of many people over his 46 years as coach of the Nittany Lions.

He won bundles of football games and gave away bushel fulls of money to help the college he loved, and yet he seriously tarnished his legacy by not taking action against his former assistant Jerry Sandusky, when the defensive coordinator was allegedly acting quite offensively with youngsters.

Sometimes on the very campus where “JoePa” did his greatest work.

How much greater would he have been if Paterno had taken a stand against Sandusky years ago when he had the chance, and perhaps could have spared many a youngster from alleged despicable treatment?

Instead he chose to look the other way and not follow up on what Sandusky was allegedly doing with these youngsters … which would affect them so adversely for the rest of their lives.

So many people have stuck up for Paterno as his health faded and cancer started to overcome him. Take his comment from trustee Al Clemens, who said, according to AP: “Joe’s a great guy. No matter was the situation was in the last two months, it doesn’t take away from what he’s done through history for so many people. He’s just been tremendous.” 

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Really, was Paterno so “tremendous” to those victims when an alleged sexual predator was having his way with them? I also take issue with the “last two months” part of that statement, as these things happened years ago and may not have affected PSU then but it sure is affecting the college now … not to mention those youngsters.

In retrospect, was all the success for Penn State's football program worth it for all the pain that was caused THEN or NOW? The answer to me is a clear one that starts with N and ends with O....NO!

“JoePa” … who ultimately was the more average “Joe” than the “Pa”, could have been looking out for the best interests of those kids rather than the legacy of his football program. Paterno was trying to pull the strings right up until the end, attempting to tell trustees when he would step down as coach.

Instead, they did the right thing and told him to step down … NOW!

Now his life is over, the program is in tatters and Penn State will NEVER be the same.

How could it be? Why should it  be?

Check out Matt's great blog Changing Channels!

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Matt Aug
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Related Topics: Joe Paterno, Penn State, Football

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