Found June 30, 2012 on Fox Sports:
At the end of his life, there were only two ways to view Joe Paterno. One camp suspected that Paterno, the most important and powerful person on Penn State's campus, had to have been involved in the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. The other merely hoped his name would stay far enough removed to protect his lifelong legacy of good work. But only one of those sides is going to exist soon, and the winningest coach in college football history is not only going to be synonymous with Penn State's shame, but perhaps culpable in its crimes. Paterno is no longer here to explain himself. He died in January at age 85, acknowledging in his final days that he should have done more after assistant coach Mike McQueary told him he had witnessed Sandusky assaulting a 10-year-old boy in February 2001. But Paterno, both under oath and in his last public comments, insisted that after passing the information to senior Penn State officials, he was never involved in the school's investigation of Sandusky that allowed him to continue operating as a sexual predator for several more years. Now, Paterno is on the verge of forever being viewed as something different. Not just an old man who didn't understand the gravity of the situation or the depth of depravity McQueary had seen. Not just a football coach who considered himself ill-equipped to deal with something of this nature. Not just a school employee who did the minimum amount to avoid being legally, if not morally, culpable. After Friday night's explosive CNN report of an e-mail exchange between university president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, Paterno no longer looks like any of those things. If this is true, Paterno is forever a phony at best; the embodiment of Penn State's evil at worst. According to CNN, Schultz sent Curley an email on Feb. 26, 2001, outlining a plan to deal with the Sandusky allegations that McQueary had first brought to Paterno. The key parts of that plan were contacting the Department of Welfare and the chairman of the Second Mile organization, the children's charity Sandusky used to recruit his victims. If Penn State officials had followed that plan, Sandusky probably would have been stopped right then and there. They were on the verge of doing the right thing. But another email came the following day, this one from Curley to Schultz and Spanier, and suddenly Penn State was about to change course. "After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell them about the information we received and tell them we are aware of the first situation," the email said, according to CNN. This, admittedly, is an incomplete account of the events that led Penn State officials to change their minds on going to the authorities. But at minimum, it suggests that not only was Paterno in the loop on what Penn State planned to do with Sandusky, he exerted some level of influence on how to handle his former defensive coordinator and friend. Essentially, after Paterno weighed in, Curley had decided that all Sandusky needed was a good talking-to. We know now what a massive mistake that was. Sandusky was convicted June 22 on 45 counts of child molestation, and both Curley and Schultz are preparing for trial on charges that they lied to the state grand jury investigating Sandusky. Spanier was fired in November. Not only is the CNN report devastating to Curley, Schultz and Spanier, but it brings back to life all the questions about Paterno's role. Remember, at the time McQueary came to him, Penn State was coming off a 5-7 season, triggering doubts about Paterno's age (74 at the time) and the program's stability. The revelation that Sandusky, a 30-year assistant, had been molesting boys in the Penn State locker room probably wouldn't have played well. Did Paterno suggest a different course of action to Curley because he feared how it might look, that it might cost him his job? Did administrators go along with it because Paterno was a legend, because he was the most powerful figure in the history of school? Maybe we'll never know. Maybe Penn State's internal investigation, headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, will provide more information and context when its findings are released within the next month. Paterno's family attorney released a statement to CNN reiterating that Paterno testified truthfully in front of the grand jury. But the credibility of that testimony is withering now. And the Paterno we hoped we knew, the Paterno that his sycophants so desperately want us to remember, is probably gone forever.
1 Comment:
  • If this were 2,500 years ago, Sophocles or Aeschylus would have written a tragedy play about Paterno. He's a perfect example of what Aristotle described in his "Poetics" as the four characteristics of a tragic hero:

    1. POSITION. The hero is royal or noble with great power, usually a king. He is a good, respected man who acts out of good intentions. He has much to lose.

    2. TRAGIC FLAW (hamartia). In spite of his good intentions, the hero makes a tragic error which causes his reversal. The error usually stems from a character flaw, usually pride.

    3. REVERSAL (catastrophe). Because of his tragic error, the hero suffers a downfall from his happy, envied position to suffering and misery.

    4. RECOGNITION (catharsis). The hero realizes that his own flaw or error has caused his reversal. This recognition always occurs too late for the hero to prevent or escape his reversal.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Paterno family: Release all records

Joe Paterno's family is calling on the Pennsylvania attorney general and former FBI Director Louis Freeh to release all emails and records related to their investigations into the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. Family lawyer Wick Sollers' statement Monday comes after reports of leaked emails between administrators about a graduate assistant's account in 2001 of...

And Then There Were Four….

In totally untimely news, Joe Paterno finds himself in hot water due to the inability of the PSU administration to actually discuss things face to face over coffee instead of sharing their thoughts in an email. Damn, this gives the PSU faithful another target to point fingers of blame at other than Paterno… “If it wasn’t for computer technology Joe wouldn’t be in trouble...
SAY IT AIN'T SO

Penn State emails point to cover-up

Was there a plan among many of Penn State's ex-leaders to cover up some of the crimes of Jerry Sandusky? Emails suggest that.

The end of the Joe Paterno myth

Photo by Bill Moore. Copyright 2006 Bullz-Eye.com When the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal broke last fall, I asked a simple question: What did Joe Paterno know and when did he know it? Now, following the Sandusky trial and news reports alleging a Penn State cover-up, the answers to this question will likely destroy the legacy (or myth) created by Paterno over the years. For...

Paterno Latest Example of Sports’ Imagery Painting

He had me fooled. Like many in the sports world I bought into the Joe Paterno legacy. The long tenured Penn State coach seemed to exemplify all that is right in sports and the fact he had built the program into a traditional power without violations only added to that image. For over forty years he roamed the Penn State sideline, winning league titles, national titles, producing...

PSA promos for Jim Norton’s new comedy special, ‘Please Be Offended’

Jim Norton provides hearty laughs on the Opie & Anthony Show every day. Thanks to Jerry Sandusky, Jim accumulated enough comical material to release his new comedy special, “Please Be Offended,” which will air on Epix. Jim triumphantly attacks Penn State, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, Arnold Schwazenegger, and Al Sharpton. The chinless wonder blinks and jokes his way through...

Hilarious clips from Jim Norton’s new comedy special ‘Please Be Offended’

Jim Norton provides hearty laughs on the Opie & Anthony Show every day. Thanks to Jerry Sandusky, Jim accumulated enough comical material to release his new comedy special, “Please Be Offended,” which will air on Epix. Jim triumphantly attacks Penn State, Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky, Arnold Schwazenegger, and Al Sharpton. The chinless wonder blinks and jokes his way through...

CNN Video: Sandusky emails revealed

CNN had a report Friday night on some emails that were exchanged between Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. The emails discussed how they would go about handling Jerry Sandusky and his crimes of sexual abuse taking place on the Penn State campus. Joe Paterno's name is mentioned, but it is unknown still exactly what role he played in all of this. If nothing else, it...

Do the New Details in the Penn State Sandusky Story Change Your Mind

Do the New Details in the Penn State Sandusky Story Change Your Mindphoto credit: philly.com There are new details that have emerged out of the Sandusky case that are disturbing. It has been revealed that e-mails going around top officials at Penn State discussing how to hand the Sandusky situation. The decision made was to not tell police. Who made that choice? According to the...

Cup of Joe - Paterno was flawed, but facts remain somewhat lacking in damnation

Over the weekend it became more clear that the powers that be within Penn State's administration had collaborated in a futile attempt to coverup grotesque actions by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. CNN revealed a portion of emails between Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz that confirmed the ugly reality that many had suspected to be the case since as...

Penn State emails reveal more evidence of Sandusky cover-up

More damning evidence for former Penn State officials Tim Curley and Gary Schultz was revealed in a series of emails  CNN obtained emails from 2001. The emails between the Penn State official further show that they were very aware of Sandusky’s sexual encounter with a child in a University shower back in 2001. From the News & Observer: The report goes on to say that former...

The Games of Our Lives: 2011 Ohio State vs. Penn State

It had to happen. Everyone knew it. One day, someday, Joe Paterno would be finished at Penn State. Problem was, even though everyone KNEW it would happen, it was hard to believe it. The man had simply lasted year after year (since 1950 as an assistant and since 1966 as a head coach) and outlasted head coach after head coach (almost 900 changes in major college football during his...

Penn State emails written in code to avoid detection, use of Jerry Sandusky’s name

The emails exchanged by Penn State administrators that were uncovered by CNN have made it painfully obvious that President Graham Spanier, Vice President Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley were consciously covering up Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse. We’ve already summarized what was discussed in the alleged emails between the administrators: they considered contacting...

Sandusky trial fallout: More info coming as stories grow apart

Jerry Sandusky Interesting. We felt compelled to tell a story here because we just read through the grand jury testimony of former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and former V.P Gary Schultz. And it was a fascinating read. But first, the explosive report from CNN about e-mail chains between the two men and school president Graham Spanier continue to add to what...
Nittany Lions News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.