Friday, November 11, 2011

Paterno didn't need hindsight

"With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more." - Joe Paterno

Hindsight makes most things pretty clear.

Disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno hardly needed it, however. By looking the other way at Jerry Sandusky's dysfunctional behavior, Paterno has forever tainted the legacy he had built up over 62 years in Happy Valley.

But, this wasn't a misstep by Paterno. This was a cold and calculated decision by a man that was trying to protect the program he built at the expense of a number of children that were likely raped by a man who knew how to spot an excellent linebacker.

All Paterno ever needed was a conscience and the moral compass to realize that stopping one child from being abused is a worthier enterprise than everything he has ever done for Penn State.

Everyone has their priorities and we now understand just how out of whack Paterno's and Penn State's are. Football was and likely still is more important than anything else.

All of Paterno's apologists -- the folks that display the type of foolish and excessive adulation that makes any kind of hero worship absurd -- claim JoePa did what he was supposed to do by reporting Sandusky's behavior to his superiors.

Of course, that conveniently ignores the fact that Paterno had no superiors at Penn State. I mean this is the same guy that kicked board members out of his house when they begged for his resignation a few years ago.

The 84-year-old Paterno has been so inundated by sycophants over the years that he thought he was bullet proof and for the most part he was. Understand, Happy Valley is safely nestled far away from the intense media glare of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the state's two major cities. Understand, the Penn State football program is a big time enterprise in a small community that relies on it for economic vibrancy.

Despite the efforts to portray Penn State as a Norman Rockwell painting, remember that ESPN's Outside the Lines reported that 46 of Paterno's players from 2002 to 2008 were arrested and charged with 163 counts. Twenty-seven of them were eventually convicted of or pleaded guilty to a combined 45 counts.

The truth is Happy Valley hasn't been Pleasantville for years.

With the benefit of hindsight we now know Paterno was never a 'legend' or 'icon long before September of 2007 when former Nittany Lion LaVon Chisley was convicted of murder for stabbing a student to death

With the benefit of hindsight we now know Paterno is just a man, a mere mortal that helped cover up a series of despicable crimes long before July of 2008 when former wide receiver Chris Bell pleaded guilty to making terroristic threats when he pulled a knife on a teammate in a university dining hall.

Hindsight really does make a lot of things clear doesn't it?

We all should have been asking why a 55-year-old man with the resume of Sandusky retired in 1999.

We all should be asking why Mike McQueary is still employed by Penn State right now.

But, Joe Paterno never needed hindsight -- not for this.

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