Attempting to define Joe Paterno?
It's not often a simple statement of fact evokes so much emotion.
Joe Paterno is an evil man who throws kids in a cage with a monster.
Joe Paterno is a saint who takes kids from the saddest situations and turns them into men with a purpose of changing society for the better.
I would assume neither of these statements is completely accurate or factual. I would also assume it wouldn't take me long to find people who completely believe one statement or the other.
I waited a day before writing about Paterno because I wanted to see how the media handled the news; how fans handled the news; how his former players handled the news; most importantly, how you handled the news.
The easiest conclusion drawn was two opposing thoughts: either the media is too scared to say the truth or they think we're too stupid to handle it.
Joe Paterno's life can't be summed up in a sound bite or a paragraph.
The world is made up of people that have a varying degree of influence. If Joe Paterno ever helped a kid get into a class that was full, he used his influence. If Joe Paterno ever called an employer to persuade them to hire a former player, he used his influence.
He was the President and CEO of Penn State football. He used his influence in other areas of life to help others. One question will always remain unanswered: why didn't he use his influence to get Jerry Sandusky off campus?
Joe Paterno did nothing wrong in the eyes of the law and shouldn't be -— and at this time won't be -— prosecuted. I hope he never loses a civil case over his actions.
Legally, everyone is equal, however, Presidents and CEOs are judged by a different public standard than the law. Although the situation at Penn State doesn't rise to the NCAA's definition of Lack of Institutional Control, is there any better four-word description of what happens when a former coach keeps an office on a college campus and uses the locker room showers to rape children?
Joe Paterno deserved to be fired from Penn State. Blaming the Board of Trustees for the death of Joe Paterno is so undeserved. There's only one monster in this story, and it's Jerry Sandusky. If Jerry Sandusky wasn't so evil Joe Paterno wouldn't have been fired. If Jerry Sandusky wasn't so evil those specific kids wouldn't have been victimized by a serial rapist.
Joe Paterno deserved to be judged and fired from his job but not his life. I disagree with the media trying to tie up the coach's life with a bow and a gift bag. We are smart enough as a society to look at the positive and negative of his life because it's similar to our own.
There have been times in your life where you didn't do enough. There have been times in your life where you should have fought harder for what was right and you didn't.
There have been times in your life where you did everything you can. There have been times in your life where you really earned the title "hero."
There have been times in your life when you were just like Joe Paterno. How do I know this about your life? There have been times in my life when I didn't fight for what was right and I still think about that failure despite the times I really was a life-saving hero. I've been on both ends of the spectrum of success and failure and I'm sure you have too.
Joe Paterno was a man who did millions of great things for thousands of people and didn't do enough for a forever- damaged group of kids.
If the media is hell-bent on explaining to us the life and times of Joe Paterno, let me make it easy for them: JOE PATERNO--HUMAN.