Fuck Paterno   Leave a comment

Now that his life and career have ended, I have seen several news articles arguing that, in the coming years, Joe Paterno’s legacy will be one of a great football coach, and that his involvement in the Sandusky Affair shall fall by the wayside along with the rest of the sands of time.

I hope they’re wrong.

Had this pedophile story never broke, I’m sure his legacy would have been as accomplished as they currently claim. Sure, there’d be the occasional footnote of JoePa using his influence to intervene on behalf of his players when legal/discipline issues came up, but this would be regarded far and wide as the cost of being a diligent and successful coach in a highly competitive field. His legacy would stand in perpetual assurance as one of the most talented and productive careers in college football.

But I can’t help but hope that this scandal exposes the depth and depravity of the one track mind that produced such victories. Here we have a coach who learns that one of his subordinates, and a highly placed one at that, has been caught red-handed RAPING CHILDREN. Even if we try to leave the obvious dictates of morality aside here, at this point JoePa should realize that this represents an enormous problem to his team, university, and organization. He should realize that, if this ever gets out, and there is even a whiff of a cover-up, the ensuing scandal will destroy everyone it touched. As a result, sheer pragmatism would have required a full disclosure and active investigation.

Instead, JoePa choose to swallow the Kool-Aid of his own importance. Rather than hit the exacta by doing the smart thing and the right thing (one and the same, in this instance), he does the easy thing, and participates in the conspiracy by passing the buck to someone else, and never following through with any followup ever again. In this case, the man’s actions prove both his complicity and his complete disgrace — by helping to sweep the incident under the rug, he makes himself guilty of placing himself and his own priorities (in this case, the importance of college football) above the lives of innocents. 

It’s not like he was powerless in this. If he had made the choice to intervene, he could have done so without any real trouble. He could have simply called a press conference (and the press would show up, regardless of the why), and exposed the scandal himself, had he run into a brick wall with the Penn State administration. But again, he didn’t. He went on coaching and pretending like nothing untoward had happened.

Until it all blew up in his face.

Now, his apologists say that he did report the incident. He made the reports to the proper authorities, and then felt he had done his part, the rest being in the hands of Caesar. I don’t buy it. Paterno wasn’t an idiot. It should have been obvious that, had this been looked into it, it would have broke on the news sooner or later. As the years went by, he should have realized that nothing was being done, at which point the imperative of justice would require he leverage his position into shining the light on what happened.

His efforts to rectify the mistake seem to be token at best. For a man with as long and distinguished a career at Penn State as Joe Paterno had, it seems inconceivable that he could have so fundamentally dropped the ball on this. But every bit of evidence said that he did just that. Instead of acting with alacrity and zeal to purge an insane injustice, he instead focused on winning the next football game, without regard to the disadvantaged youths whose lives were forever twisted by a sick monster. It was only when he was unceremoniously discharged and humiliated that he seemed to grasp the full nature of his colossal failure. His failure was not a failure of procedure, though that certainly occurred. His failure was not a failure of follow-through, though he’s certainly guilty of that. His failure, his true failure, is a failure of character. There is simply no amount of glory that can overcome child rape. He could have coached for a centuries’ time, winning season after season, and this scandal would have still destroyed the man, because at the end of the day, if you have the hubris to believe that your career and your reputation are more important than protecting the innocents in your care, then you have earned the scorn and derision of your fellow human beings.

Advertisements

Posted January 30, 2012 by fatmoron in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: