Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has died, his family confirmed Sunday. He was 85.
He became the winningest coach in major college football history in 2011 with 409 wins.
Under the man affectionately known as “Joe Pa,” the Nittany Lions won two national championships, went undefeated five times and finished in the top 25 national rankings 35 times, according to his official Penn State biography.
He was dragged down during the Sandusky scandal without even a hearing, perhaps unfairly.
He was fired over the phone, banned from the college he loved, even from the last game.
The college bookstore stopped selling his jerseys.
Punishments inflicted without even speaking with him to ascertain his “moral” guilt. He had no legal exposure. Paterno followed the college guidelines on reporting the Sandusky matter. We don’t know what was in Paterno’s mind because none of the heavyweights at the college gave him the opportunity to say.
What he did was wrong and he had no right to let the report of molestation go, but what about his superiors who did nothing? We do know the college board in charge of writing the guidelines skated.
We also know that, as he said…at the time, he didn’t even know a man could be raped. In those days, such things were not talked about and people were often ignorant and inexperienced in matters of pedophilia. I’m not saying Paterno was right and I think pedophiles are as horrible as any murderer. However, Paterno, who was not the pedophile, deserved a hearing or at least a personal meeting with some kindness after 40+ years. Paterno always defended Penn State. He was their biggest advocate.
They knew he had lung cancer shortly after they fired him and it didn’t temper their inhumane handling of Joe Paterno. And who are the “they” of whom I speak? They are the college board elites, the scholars of cowardice, who didn’t even have the guts to talk with Paterno face-to-face.