Keidel: The Pall Over Paterno

By Jason Keidel
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Like most of my Big Apple brethren, all I wanted to do yesterday was kick back with a Coke and a smile and watch the Giants laminate their ticket to the Super Bowl.

Then Joe Paterno died.

And a line from perhaps the greatest book of the 20th Century came to mind…

“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something beautiful about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.”

That would be a proper, posthumous tribute to Joe Paterno, a man who projected an image of pastoral college life and a monastic devotion to the notion that you can win on the field and off the field; that, in fact, one feeds the other in a symbiotic surge of noble living, and an earnest and honest approach to all things.

But just like Jay Gatsby, Paterno fouled up a fine ending. And, in retrospect, the story was over long before the last page.

We who are under 50 and love football instinctively embraced Paterno’s public persona and librarian’s visage, a hybrid refrain of compassion and competition where winning with honor had myriad definitions. We all bought into it because we had no reason not to.

Not until a few months ago. With the indictment of Jerry Sandusky and, by extension those who knew him, employed him, and allegedly protected him, it appears a half-century of bedrock lure mutated into baleful lies.

The truth shined quite an unflattering light on the power brokers at Penn State, a pungent apparatus with no regard for goodness. The allegations say Sandusky didn’t lurk in the dark but rather the full glow of a glittering campus that doubled as the palace of Penn State football. And he did so with impunity, right under Paterno’s prodigious nose.

Paterno made the historic but accidental error of hiring Jerry Sandusky as defensive coordinator in 1977. It’s entirely possible and plausible for any of us to date, hire, or befriend someone of dubious character, because at the beginning of any relationship, all we see is what they show us. Only later do we really learn whom and what they are.

But at some point, Joe Paterno learned that Jerry Sandusky had an alleged inappropriate, sexual interest in children. And Joe Paterno did nothing to stop it. Reporting the crimes to his athletic director is akin to Barack Obama reporting a transgression Joe Biden.

In the end, Paterno fell on his tattered shield, undone by the very, unsavory behavior he assured us never occurred on his watch. Therein lies the problem with lies. It seems at some point they boomerang back, all the way to the grave.

The Paterno Apologists – and now they will expand exponentially – point to Paterno’s age as some exculpatory circumstance. He was 85, man! Cut him some slack! Was Paterno 85 in 2002, when Mike McQueary told him about Sandusky, a naked child, a shower, and slapping sounds? Was Paterno 85 in 1998 when the school wrote a report about Sandusky? Was Paterno 85 the next year when he fired Sandusky?

Now Paterno’s a martyr who died from deeds beyond his control. A cocktail of maladies were the official cause of death, and between age and cancer and brittle bones he would have passed on naturally. But is it a coincidence that Paterno died a matter of weeks after we learn about his top lieutenant’s indictment and the overwhelming evidence that Paterno and his Penn State acolytes did nothing to stop Sandusky?

Forgive the cliché, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be revered but never reviled; you can’t enjoy all the perks of deification without the perils of desecration. At the end, beyond all the physical evidence of decay, the ten-ton anvil of deception would crush a man one-third his age.

It’s as though the man were evaporating, his body burned off by the hot spiritual sun that exposed his half-truths and, ultimately, half-dedication to the truth. Paterno and his minions campaigned on veracity and were exposed for rampant mendacity. And it seems the results were fatal.

ESPN.com, the “Worldwide Leader” of, well, semantic lap dances for famous people, glorified groupies to the end, led parade with this column: “Joe Paterno’s legacy outweighs scandal.”

Only problem with that is the scandal IS HIS LEGACY. We know that being born and raised an American and a sports fan places an inordinate premium on winning. But to the more rational elements of the human race, it just means we cry at sporting events, among other childish gestures normally reserved for more important matters. It shouldn’t include a grotesque salute to a classic, massive cover-up of a satanic crime.

It places some of us in the incongruous position of telling others that sports really aren’t that important. It’s an explanation we shouldn’t have to make, with that truth being self-evident and all.

We have a noble impulse to honor the dead, with Rest In Peace a fitting, final salutation to normal men. But Paterno wasn’t (and isn’t) a normal man. We know of him because of his big deeds under brown leaves. And since he’s a prominent member of public domain, his death and subsequent, social autopsy are very much appropriate. And when the urge to ease off the pedal hits, those kids come back to mind.

To his phalanx of defenders, the army of Paterno Apologists, you know his number of wins, championships, and graduation rates. What else do you know? How about 52? That would be the total counts against Jerry Sandusky. How about the average age of the child he (allegedly) raped? Do you know any of their names? Do you know how many times Paterno called the police when he got wind of the atrocities? (Zero.) You wonder how Penn State will recover from Sandusky. Do you wonder about those kids he allegedly buried in his basement, emerging with squinting, crusty eyes and ravaged souls will turn out? Do you care? Does it matter that Paterno had all the power to stop his top lieutenant and didn’t? Does the score matter anymore?

Sandusky, perhaps the most despised man in America, chimed in with a statement, assuming that the world wants the worldview of an alleged child rapist. “No one can take away the memories we share…” he said. That’s right, Jerry, even if you have no idea why.

Now Joe Paterno has left the building. What is he taking with him? We can’t be sure about much other than the truth is bottled up somewhere, still on that campus or in that coffin. It’s surely not in our hands, where it belongs.

Why would anyone writing about Joe Paterno reference a novel written in 1925? Because The Great Gatsby is a sad story about pathetic people who were vulgar, vain, and incurably narcissistic; and some of those characteristics were shared by the non-fictional characters at State College, where the simple transaction of a man’s expiration doesn’t end the pain. Sadly, the Penn State horror is not a book that we can merely close.

Like Jay Gatsby, Joe Paterno was a powerful man who abused his power to protect a faulty premise: you can fix history and make things right by the aggregate force of money, power, or hubris. As Gatsby was guided by the green light at the end of Daisy Buchanan’s dock, Paterno thought the pastoral façade of Penn State could cloak the dark reality on his blue lawn. And he, like his cadre of enablers, will “beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past…”

Feel free to email me: keidel.jason@gmail.com

www.twitter.com/JasonKeidel

How will you remember Paterno? Does the scandal forever ruin his legacy? Be heard in the comments below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. Why Me? says:

    Speaking as a person who was abused as a child, not by Sandusky. I have no connections to Penn State, CBS, this website, etc… I would like to comment. I am not an “apologist” as you call some commentors.You have invited people to comment on your article. Their comments are to be respectfully accepted as well as yours is written.

    I hated my abuser for years, and I mean a good 50 of them. In my mind, this person should have had no right to live and I wished him dead over and over. However, not once did I ever condem any other person(s) in my community for doing nothing about the abuse. The neighboorhod I lived in knew the person as an abuser. Back in the 60’s people didn’t get involved, no…they really didn’t, instead they just stayed away, kept the peace at a distance. When the abuser died, I wasn’t happy, nor was I sad. I actually felt pity for him. He was going to meet his creator and he never gave a thought to asking for forgivness before he left this world. I would have forgiven him and been the better person for it.

    I stay away from that neighborhood these days, there is no good memories for me there, but I never once held anyone else accountable. It really didn’t matter what I thought of the abuser, all my negative thoughts and feelings were going to ruin my life and I wasn’t going to let that happen. Besides, I wasn’t the final judge and jury. I could care less about Joe P or Penn State. I just think that he was a human being, and we all know not one of us can come close to perfection. We all have good and bad in us, I’m sorry for those kids that were abused. No one should ever go through that. Joe Paterno was not the abuser, he did NOT commit the act and no…it’s not the same thing because he turned his head the other way. It’s not Paterno’s face they saw while they were being abused, it was Sandusky’s. Joe Paterno is what he is, a football coach, a husband and a father. You cannot label him as an abuser, he wasn’t. Should he have done more? YES!, My whole community should have done more too. It’s how you handle this now and in the future that counts for every kid who was abused. Let him have a funeral, let him meet his maker, let GOD do what is to be.

  2. Scott says:

    I am certain that was not an easy article for you to write Jason. You obviously had an emotional time of it, becuase no article could be so well written without coming from the heart. I once admired and respected Paterno too. Therefore, I can symathize with your heartbreak.

  3. Jon Stem says:

    thanks for your fair article. he was the coach of a game. in his biggest moment the man turned his back on boys that were later molested (and changed forever as a result).
    it was then that he turned his back on greatness. he is just a football coach. thanks for reflecting on this.

  4. JK says:

    This is why we can’t engage in reasonable, robust dialogue with Paterno sympathizers. Here is Exhibit A…

    Matt, you totally misstated my questions and my arguments. So I assume you are, for whatever reason, incoherent.

    Paterno knew about Sandusky’s malfeasance in 1998 and the school’s investigation because he FIRED Sandusky in 1999. Why would Sandusky – who just won Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998, was in his coaching prime (55), and was Paterno’s presumed successor – leave the school unless he was forced to leave?

    Again, we await your fact-based argument that Paterno did nothing wrong. Since you’re an ardent Paterno Apologist, we realize your tactic is to deflect, to make this about me and anyone who speaks poorly of Paterno. But, again, making this about me doesn’t change what happened at Penn State.

    Jerry Sandusky raped boys at Penn State, while employed by Penn State, and while reporting to Joe Paterno. The fact that you find this disturbing is good; the fact that you’d rather find fault with us than with Paterno is, well, misguided.

    Like all Paterno Apologists, you prefer insults as a means of debate rather than change our minds with the truth. Since the truth isn’t on your side, perhaps you have no alternative.

  5. JK says:

    This is Exhibit A, gang…

    Matt, you totally misstated my questions and my arguments. So I assume you are, for whatever reason, incoherent.

    Paterno knew about Sandusky’s malfeasance in 1998 and the school’s investigation because he FIRED Sandusky in 1999. Why would Sandusky – who just won Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998, was in his coaching prime (55), and was Paterno’s presumed successor – leave the school unless he was forced to leave?

    Again, we await your fact-based argument that Paterno did nothing wrong. Since you’re an ardent Paterno Apologist, we realize your tactic is to deflect, to make this about me and anyone who speaks poorly of Paterno. But, again, making this about me doesn’t change what happened at Penn State.

    Jerry Sandusky raped boys at Penn State, while employed by Penn State, and while reporting to Joe Paterno. The fact that you find this disturbing is good; the fact that you’d rather find fault with us than with Paterno is, well, misguided.

    Like all Paterno Apologists, you prefer insults as a means of debate rather than change our minds with the truth. Since the truth isn’t on your side, perhaps you have no alternative.

  6. JK says:

    Matt, you totally misstated my questions and my arguments. So I assume you are, for whatever reason, incoherent.

    Paterno knew about Sandusky’s malfeasance in 1998 and the school’s investigation because he FIRED Sandusky in 1999. Why would Sandusky – who just won Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998, was in his coaching prime (55), and was Paterno’s presumed successor – leave the school unless he was forced to leave?

    Again, we await your fact-based argument that Paterno did nothing wrong. Since you’re an ardent Paterno Apologist, we realize your tactic is to deflect, to make this about me and anyone who speaks poorly of Paterno. But, again, making this about me doesn’t change what happened at Penn State.

    Jerry Sandusky raped boys at Penn State, while employed by Penn State, and while reporting to Joe Paterno. The fact that you find this disturbing is good; the fact that you’d rather find fault with us than with Paterno is, well, misguided.

    Like all Paterno Apologists, you prefer insults as a means of debate rather than change our minds with the truth. Since the truth isn’t on your side, perhaps you have no alternative.

  7. Matt says:

    Holy cow, you’re a journalist??! Yes,actually you ARE wrong on quite a few “facts”:

    PENN STATE, not Paterno, hired Jerry Sandusky in 1966 and not in 1977 as you stated. Yes, you are wrong.
    Sandusky has been convicted of sexual molestation. No, you are not wrong.
    Grand Jury did indict Sandusky. No, you are not wrong.
    There are 52 counts against Sandusky. No, you are not wrong.
    There is no evidence to show Paterno knew Sandusky was investigated by PSU police in 1998. Paterno’s son makes a statement on behalf of his father that he did not know of the 1998 investigation. So, yes, you are wrong.
    Contrary to your made up reports, Sandusky WAS actually investigated by PSU police in 1998. No charges were brought because they found there was not enough evidence. Once again, yes, you are wrong.
    Paterno states that he was notified by McQueary about an incident in the shower but, “he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the grand jury report.” Paterno reports to his bosses, who then meet with McQueary. Curley states McQueary never mentioned sexual assault. Therefore, once again you ARE wrong.

    Why do you think you have the authority to report on this?? It is SO simple to actually research. It’s almost ridiculous that you got so many facts wrong. I guess that’s why Paterno Antagonists use irrationality and lies to incite anger. No use even educating…that’s impossible at this point.

    1. R.Piazza says:

      Point blank I don’t believe Paterno about the 98 report. He and his son could make whatever statement that doesn’t mean it’s a true. When I was there people would constantly leak information to the football program about things going on. Like that Lawyer who called Tressel in Columbus about Tattoogate because he was concerned about the program. The same thing happens in State College and probably more so. Sandusky retires in 99 after that investigation and never coaches again I think Paterno ran him out. Shane Conlan says when he was there there were rumors about Sandusky in the 80s, Paterno would have heard that as well. We will never know the truth for certain because Paterno is gone and nobody will believe Sandusky. There is no way to know for certain the facts we need to be certain may never materialize.

      1. JK says:

        Mr. Piazza, please don’t confuse Matt with facts. Indeed, Sports Illustrated reported that local barbershops knew about Sandusky, but Matt wants us to believe that Paterno didn’t.

        Paterno knew if one of his players was caught smoking, speeding, or cheating on a midterm. But he had no idea his top lieutenant was fondling boys.

        Right.

      2. JK says:

        Mr. Piazza, please don’t confuse Matt with facts. Indeed, Sports Illustrated reported that rumors about Sandusky made it as far as local barbershops.

        Paterno knew if his players smoked, speeded, or cheated on midterms. But Matt wants us to believe Paterno didn’t know his top lieutenant was molesting children.

        Right.

    2. JP says:

      Oh MY GOD! Paterno knew when everything happened with his team. If you believe he knew about EVERY player going to class or not and their grades, like you cult apologists point to graduation rates and wins he knew every underage drinking bust or whatever a player did but he didnt know about his top assistant molesting kids.?
      how do you make yourself believe that?
      are you human? What is wrong with you people. its insane that you shut your eyes to facts

  8. Tony from NJ says:

    What if JoePa isn’t really dead? What if this is part of the coverup and he’s in Costa Rica, para-gliding?

  9. JK says:

    Once again, Alex, you bring a new view to things while remaining within the circumference of the conference.

    I think campy handles like “JoePa” are part of the exaggerated nature of sports. But you’re right in that there’s a time for handles and a time to handle business, and the people and power structure at Penn State never got the distinction.

  10. JK says:

    Again, telling me how to do my job. Not only do I understand what “adversarial” means, I would bet good money my lexicon is double yours, Mr. Ranger. You speak in a very authoritative tone, as though your opinions were not only more important than ours, but also as though anyone cared what you thought. I assure you both are untrue.

    Since you find our views and my prose so lacking, you’re free to find another discussion. We will miss you but will somehow survive in your absence.

    Good luck, I guess. Enjoy your merry band of Paterno Apologists.

    1. Marko says:

      Interesting. The apologist keep bringing up that we don’t have all the facts, we weren’t there. True, but Joe Paterno was there and with his own words he condemned himself and admitted to his own inaction.

      Does this one heinous failure erase a lifetime of many good works? Everyone has to make up their own mind on that one. It just leaves me wondering how a person who seemingly cared so much about the welfare of so many could care so little about the welfare of society’s most vulnerable.Hard to wrap your head around.

      1. JK says:

        I couldn’t have stated it better, Marko. In fact, I’m not telling people to ignore Paterno’s accomplishments. I’m saying that I can’t celebrate them in light of all the dark deeds perpetrated on his campus under his watch.

        If nothing else, let’s at least acknowledge that something horrific happened at Penn State and that Paterno (by his own words) didn’t do enough to stop it. Of course, I go a step father and say he did nothing to stop it.

        But I can’t take these Paterno Apologists who exonerate Paterno of all malfeasance. It’s simply a view unfounded in facts. And I’m equally alarmed by the number of otherwise rational people – particularly women! – who defend Joe Paterno despite the overwhelming evidence that he knew about Sandusky and didn’t call one cop.

  11. MIKE says:

    IM GLAD WE DONT HAVE TO SEE THAT EVIL FACE ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Alex P. says:

    There was a time in this country when this kind of thing wouldn’t even have been up for debate. The shame would have been so overwhelming that Paterno and Penn State would have been condemned unhesitatingly. Ask anyone from the WWII generation and I bet you that on-field accomplishments overshadowing a child rape scandal is just something that doesn’t compute for them.

    Also, is anyone else alarmed that this man, Joe Paterno, is collectively referred to as a moniker by his fans? The first time I heard someone use the term “Joepa”, it struck me as juvenile and nauseatingly sentimental. One of the marks of adulthood is preferring truth to a fairy tale version of things. I invite everyone to draw their own conclusions from this.

    1. R. Piazza says:

      It’s funny you say that Alex one of Paterno’s arguements is when the Grad Assistant came to him he never heard of such a thing and couldn’t understand it so he didn’t really get how bad it was. The old I’m from a different generation arguement. Really not much of a arguement at all.

      1. Alex P. says:

        Mr. Piazza, please read my comment more carefully. My comment was a condemnation of Joe Paterno, not a defense of him.

        1. Alex P. says:

          Mr. Piazza, I’m not sure if you were agreeing or disagreeing with me. ??

          1. JK says:

            As usual, Alex, you bring a new view to things while remaining within the circumference of the conference.

            I think campy handles like “JoePa” are part of the exaggerated nature of sports. But you’re right in that there’s a time for handles and a time to handle business, and the people and power structure at Penn State never got the distinction.

        2. Alex P. says:

          I do totally agree with you that “I’m from an older generation” is not a defense.

        3. Jonas A-K says:

          I think, from an outside perspective, that it looks like you two are on the same page, which is also the right page. As a non-PSUer, non-State College resident and someone still learning football, I didn’t hear the name “Joe Pa” until relatively recently. I understand that everyone needs heroes, and who better to turn to than the lovable figure leading those Nittany Lions to glory? That’s what makes this all the more sickening – the man was a hero to all and had all the power in the world to stop this as soon as possible, but he didn’t.

          1. JK says:

            They are on the same page, Jonas. They just don’t know it. A semantic misunderstanding….

            1. Annemarie says:

              Great comment Jonas — especially the last part — you said it perfectly — he was a hero to so many and could have been an even larger hero to so many more — he just had to stop what was going on. And he didn’t. period.

      2. R.Piazza says:

        Alex I agree with you an all accounts my point would be any one of any age would be outraged by the situation and using age as a defense is offensive in itself. Sorry for the semantic confusion I work in academia it’s an occupational hazard to be confusioning.

    2. JK says:

      As we always see, Alex, you bring a new view to things while remaining within the circumference of the conference.

      I think campy handles like “JoePa” are part of the exaggerated nature of sports. But you’re right in that there’s a time for handles and a time to handle business, and the people and power structure at Penn State never got the distinction.

  13. Kurt Spitzner says:

    the sensors can eat bad sushi!

    1. JK says:

      What happened, Kurt? As you can see, there are comments aplenty here. What weren’t you able to print?

      1. Kurt Spitzner says:

        No clue what so ever man! I said people need to reap what they sew and when i hear his name i can only feel for those who where abused under his reign.

        1. Kurt Spitzner says:

          maybe i have a word limit??????

          1. JK says:

            I don’t see how you’d have a word limit, dude, since you see all the people sounding off here today – some of whom should have word counts but don’t! Heh.

            Keep trying if you can, dude, particularly with your Jackie Robinson reference….

            1. Kurt Spitzner says:

              If Jackie Robinson,who never played for the mets is so totally enshrined in the “new shea” stadium,that leaving out someone with accolades such as “The Kid” is a crime perpetrated by the wilponzi’s who obviously have their own agenda that seems to have had very little to do with the team over under their control,but this is only my opinion…AGAIN!

  14. Annemarie says:

    What a well-written column! No matter what his accomplishments on the football field, there was a moral responsibility here that was totally ignored by Joe Paterno. And yes, I understand that he was not the only one to ignore this responsibility — there are a host of coaches/administrators that failed here. As far as I’m concerned — this scandal WILL be his legacy. Being “Joe Pa” does not absolve him or leave him untouchable. At the end of the day, no matter who he was or what his station was in life, he had the duty to speak up and make sure that he was heard. And he did NOTHING. Yes, he had a responsibility to Penn State — to run the best football program he possibly could and to produce spectacular results — but he also had a duty to protect the public-at-large from a sexual predator. At the end of the day, I could care less what his record on the field was, but if he had come forward and protected ONE innocent child from the horror of rape — that’s the legacy he should have left behind.

    1. Sully says:

      You wrote a sensible, thoughtful and balanced response.
      Be prepared to have people call you names.

    2. JK says:

      Indeed, Annemarie, Sully’s right – you made way too much sense for this to go unpunished. Be prepared for the Paterno Apologists. They are huddling now and will find you.

      1. Annemarie says:

        JK and Sully — Thanks to both of you! It’s great to have a forum to get those thought out! =]

        1. JK says:

          You mean you don’t enjoy all these fawning, drooling odes to an old man who harbored a child rapist? What’s wrong with you?!?!

          1. Jeff Sayin says:

            I am not a fan of PSU/JoePa or a “Paterno Apologist” but I do find it disturbing that in the desire to lynch Sandusky for trluly reprehensible acts, everyone associated with him is referried to as “harboring a child rapistt” – a paritcularly offensive insult the day after this man died.

            Paterno will be remembered for his 50+ years he dediciated to his school and raising young men to be good persons, not just football players. I know this through friends who wen to PSU and growing up in Pittsburgh and reading many stories about the good deeds of Paterno over the years. The attempt by some to define this man for one failure is sad and while perhaps he should have done more on this one matter, he does not deserve all the ugly efforts to insult this man before he is even buried. .

            1. JK says:

              One failure? Failing to report a child molester for at least 12 years is one failure? Some of us beg to differ, sir.

              And the fact that someone you know went to Penn State means nothing. My mother went there and my father grew up near Pittsburgh. So what? State College happens to be the crime scene, but the overarching issues of abusing power and putting football above protecting children are universal.

              Sandusky cannot get away with his crimes for 30 years without a little help from his friends. And, yes, I put Paterno on that list.

              1. Jeff Sayin says:

                Yes – one failure is all you can point to and there is no evidence Paterno knew Sandusky was a child molester or that he knew it for at least 12 years” – that’s just more ugly allegations without the evidence to back it up.

                By mentioning some of the good things I know Paterno was responsible for and that have been verified by many PSU alumni, I am simple putting this failure to act in context unlike you who seeks to define his legacy by it. I don’t think a human life should be so easily simple dismissed based on one failure. It must be put in perspective – something you apparently lack in your effort to demonize this man who just died.

                1. Jeff Sayin says:

                  To be clear, Paterno knew only of an allegation and reported it and assumed the authorities knew how to deal with it since he did not which he has openly admitted. See Washington Post article. Again knowing of an allegation which one did not withess does not mean he knew Sandusky was a child molester paritcularly where as far as he knew authorities investigated the allegation and decided not to pursue it.

                  1. JK says:

                    Ah, so when someone has something nice to say about Paterno, you validate it as fact because you agree with it. When someone has something bad to say about Paterno, you say, “You weren’t there, so how can you know what happened?”

                    I like the logic. You can’t lose. When we agree with you, we’re right; when we disagree with you, we’re wrong. Must be nice.

                    Everyone agrees that Paterno was the most powerful man at Penn State and State College. If he didn’t know about Sandusky in 1998 (the year the school investigated him) then why did he fire Sandusky in 1999? Sandusky was just named Assistant Coach of the Year, was in his coaching prime (55) and was Paterno’s presumed successor.

                    So, again, failing to report a child rapist to the police for 12 years = more than one mistake. No, reporting it to his hand-picked athletic director or the school president – both of whom had a fraction of Paterno’s power – is not the same as reporting it to the police. With one call to the right cop, Paterno ends the entire thing. But he didn’t. And Jerry Sandusky brought kids onto that campus for another decade.

                    I realize you’re a full-blown Paterno Apologist, so nothing I say here will deter you. But between the myriad columns I’ve written on the matter and my commentary here, I’ve explained things quite thoroughly. You’re welcome to disagree, of course, but you’re likely to launch into personal insults. So let’s just say I’m done with this particular chat. Enjoy your day.

                    1. Jeff Sayin says:

                      The nice things Paterno did are easily verifiable unlike your ugly allegations where you alone decide what he knew and when he knew it. Sorry I don’t think you have such powers.

                      Also your desire to label me a “Paterno Apologist” so you can dismiss my view on the subject only shows your bias.

    3. gonifwatch says:

      I agree. This is a well-written column. There is another good commentary that supports the line of thought and reasoning of Mr. Keidel.

      http://open.salon.com/blog/mary_ann_sorrentino/2012/01/23/what_really_killed_joe_paterno

  15. JP says:

    I love how the apologists say the Grand Jury report doesnt contain facts.
    what is a Grand Jury report then people? please enlighten me.
    Read the GJ report. I bet none of you have.
    I presume Paterno and Sandusky GUILTY. Im not a judge or jury this isnt a court of law. Its public opinion. they deserve no such presumption,

  16. R. Piazza says:

    Don’t waste your time being upset about this piece its just a conversation, your time would be better spent spamming the Westboro Baptist Church who plans to picket his funeral that’s disrespectful

    1. JK says:

      I don’t think it’s bad for people to feel and show emotion over this, bud. I think it’s wrong to let those feelings usurp all sense of logic and lucid expression. People are more than welcome to disagree with me, but “You’re a hack!’ is hardly an argument for Paterno and Penn State.

      1. R.Piazza says:

        Actually a retort with logic and an arguement that we could discuss and think about would be better then ALL CAPS and general insults and would actually serve the case of those who wish to defend Paterno better.

        1. JK says:

          WELL I DISAGREE WITH YOU, R. PIAZZA. YOU’RE A HATER AND A HACK!!!
          😉

    2. JP says:

      YET YOU KEEP POSTING ON HERE.

      1. R.Piazza says:

        I’m not upset about the piece I agree so my time is well spent here. See my above comment on semantic confusion.

  17. Sully says:

    In Paterno’s obit, the last line should be “Evidently he also coached some football for a college in Pennsylvania.”

    1. JK says:

      Ha! Very good, Sully. But we know that’s not how it’s written. He won 409 games! Doesn’t that say it all?

  18. JP says:

    in the biggest moment of his life the coward Paterno failed miserably. nothing that the apologists can say can change that he knew since atleast 98 that Sandusky was a Child Molestor. And he let him have full campus access til the day of the arrest.
    you sick cult sheep cant deny that he didnt have the guts to do the right thing. by his own words that coward didnt know how to handle it. thats some leader you follow huh?

    1. JK says:

      Bravo, JP! They hate us because they’ve placed Paterno on this perch and we have the audacity to say he doesn’t belong on it. Rather than review – or alter, God forbid – their views on the man they attack us for telling the truth about the man.

  19. Sully says:

    Isn’t it a remarkable coincidence that almost every single Joe Pa apologist includes the phrase “as a Penn State alumni”?

    I will give Joe Paterno as much respect as he gave those raped kids

    1. JK says:

      Indeed, Sully. It’s as though being a Penn State grad imbues them with a greater sense of right and wrong. State College happens to be the crime scene, but the issues of abusing power and placing football before the welfare of children are universal.

  20. R. Piazza says:

    I once remember someone saying death is more about the living than the dead. No matter what we think it won’t make much of a difference to Paterno. It’s tough to think this scandal is his legacy when there is so much that made up his life but I understand the comment. The bottom line becomes for many people when Paterno is discussed the scandal will always come up. Paterno had his flaws I worked there for two years and I know he wanted his players to be disciplined through him and not the University system. Trying to keep football protected he didn’t take the steps he should have to stop Sandusky he himself said I should have done more. Had he lived I would have liked to see what he was going to do to address the stain on his legacy but he didn’t get that chance. If you don’t like what JK has to say about Paterno don’t read his column its a futile exercise to try and marshal opinions. In his death its entirely appropriate to discuss our opinions. I don’t hate Paterno I am just disappointed with him he could have done more. This was the most important situation he faced and he stood on the sideline instead of attacking it full steam ahead.

    1. JK says:

      Thank you, sir. What emboldens me even more than before is the fact that the Paterno Apologists can’t do anything other than insult anyone who questions his legacy. They don’t confront me with facts or lucid, logical counterpoints. Straight to personal, profane attacks. When that is the opposition’s mantra I know I’m on the right side.

      Thanks again for reading and responding…

  21. Steven Fahey says:

    His legacy will not be this scandal, as much as you would like it to be. This is not the time to sit here and be happy that he’s dead (which you clearly are).

    Danielle,

    I don’t think anyone is sitting here and being “happy” someone is dead.

    Maybe you should re read the column after taking off your Joe Pa readers.

    And Debbie, why are you yelling?

  22. Debbie Marcus Zotinis says:

    BTW JASON…ISN’T THIS THE SAME STATION WHO PREMATURELY ANNOUNCED JOEPA’S DEATH? CBS SPORTS?

    1. JK says:

      I can’t answer that, Debbie. Perhaps it is, but I don’t see how it’s salient to my column. You’re more than welcome to disagree with me, but I don’t speak for anyone but myself, at least not officially. And you’ll find there are many who agree with my sentiments. They just happen to be far less vulgar and violent in their expressions.

    2. JP says:

      so what? he died soon after. bug deal what 12 hours that pedophile enabler lived.
      hope he thought about what he didnt do. Paterno was a coward

  23. Robert Richardson says:

    Society has an inherent, intrinsic, sacred duty to protect its “innocents”. This means the incapacitated, the elderly and its children are shielded from those that would prey upon them. In the structure of society, schools (and this includes colleges) are hallowed grounds, for they are the incubators of society’s future. The staff and administrators there have an almost solemn oath to ensure the sanctity of their respective environments. Think about the concerns of families when they let various college sports recruiters in their homes. Not only do they want to know their sixteen year olds are going to be able to take that next leap in their young lives but are they going to be SAFE. Given the previously mentioned, there was a catastrophic violation of the sanctity of a school. First there was the coach who actively recruited young children and used the school premises to satisfy his abhorrent lusts. Then there was the coaching intern who actually witnessed and actually rape of a ten-year boy and did NOTHING interject himself and save that child. And then the face of the school, the brand” of the school, a man who ruled that campus and therefore the state of Pennsylvania itself. Joe Paterno was in essence the “King of Penn State” and when the King was informed that one of his immediate subordinates was NAKED, in a SHOWER with a TEN YEAR OLD boy, ALONE, making SLAPPING SOUNDS, filed a perfunctory report and let it go at that. His rationale? “It was my first time dealing with something like that”, his own words. CATASTROPHIC FAILURE, am I being harsh? I think not. I’m making these poor excuses of men accountable. This isn’t such a complicated story. If you can’t accept this, you don’t even think about this. THEN STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ANY CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY MY FAMILY.

    1. Steven Fahey says:

      Very well said Robert.

  24. Steven Fahey says:

    I will continue to donate to the fund set up by PSU alumni to help child abuse victims (how much have you donated?)……………………

    Danielle,
    What’s really shameful is the above statement which you make. God Bless, but we don’t need to know that you donate. The IRS does.

    I don’t think Jason cuts down Joe Pa at all. We’re all aware of the great man, but going to his boss after being told of a child rape was not the correct thing to do, and you know it. Especially since he outwardly held himself to a higher standard.

    People make mistakes, but this is no mistake.

    God Bless Joe’s family, but It seems pretty clear this man died because he was exposed about a silence that cut him in two.

    Also, there is no one who should defend Joe Paterno. Especially Penn State Alum, who by all accounts, are very prideful in their schools legacy. And no Penn State Alum should ever be ashamed. It’s a great school, and will continue to be.

    No disrespect…..

    1. JK says:

      Thank you, Steven. Thank you, thank you, thank you. The problem with Danielle and her colleagues at the Paterno Apologists Club is that they’re so blinded by bias, by the image Paterno projected, that they can’t see what he actually did (or didn’t do, in this case).

      My mother went to Penn State in the ’60s. So what? Does that make child rape acceptable? Does it make the wink and nod from Penn State’s brass acceptable? No doubt the majority of Penn State alumni are fine folks, which should make the Sandusky disaster all the more appalling to them.

      Thanks again, Steven.

      1. Steven Fahey says:

        No need to thank me Jason. I completely agree with your take. Thank you for a very well put together article.

  25. JK says:

    And it’s delicious to hear you defend ESPN – the very network that didn’t forward the Bernie Fine tapes to the cops.

    1. Steven Fahey says:

      Right on.

  26. The internet is killing journalism says:

    Dan Wetzel, Dennis Dodd, Ivan Maisel, David Jones, Sally Jenkins, Sara Ganim are “journalists” not hack bloggers looking for web hits by sensationalizing and demonizing an icon who at least did more than many others in regard to Sandusky. They point out the seriousness of what occurred but don’t make broad sweeping assumptions with no basis in fact. How does this guy still have a job.

    1. JK says:

      What exactly did Paterno do “in regard to Sandusky”?

      Take your time. We have all day for your answer…

    2. Sully says:

      Yes he did more in terms of protecting Sandusky than anyone.

      The guy didn’t think a child being raped was cause to call the cops

      All of you apologists need to respond to that.
      If you can’t then you are all drunk on Kool Aid

      Joe Paterno was a great coach and a bad man. End of story

    3. Jonas A-K says:

      Dude, I think YOU are in fact the person who is making broad sweeping assumptions with no basis in fact, as indicated by your statement that Paterno “at least did more than many others in regard to Sandusky.” You don’t back that up with any facts whatsoever – perhaps because there are none, and you just want it to be true so that you don’t have to feel like you’re worshipping a bad person (but I’m sure you don’t feel that way anyway).

      I don’t know about “many others,” but you know who DID do more than Paterno in regard to Sandusky? The high school team that outed him, none of whom were named Joe Paterno. The most powerful man in Pennsylvania didn’t say anything, and only that would’ve counted as doing something about the situation.

      1. Sully says:

        Thank you!
        It wasn’t Penn State that exposed him but a High school who wasn’t putting money and athletics over raped kids

        1. JP says:

          exactly. Paterno let him retire and have fulll campus access.
          how many kids were raped after Paterno failed to protect them?
          their pain is on him

    4. JP says:

      you read the “hack blogger” what does that say about you?
      cult sheep.

  27. JK says:

    Good job, Danielle. Perhaps if one of your sons were under Sandusky’s care you’d have a different take.

    1. JP says:

      no she wouldnt. The Penn State sheep would excuse Paterno and probably sandusky. they will always point to wins and titles. just sickening

      1. JK says:

        I’d like to think you’re wrong about that, JP, because if you’re right than it says something hideous about our species that can’t be corrected.

  28. There is so much to argue about your “facts” here but the bottomline is that this man deserves respect. That’s why he’s getting it from ESPN analysts, college and NFL coaches, students, fans and alumni, like me.

    His legacy will not be this scandal, as much as you would like it to be. This is not the time to sit here and be happy that he’s dead (which you clearly are). It’s not a time to rip him apart and start guessing what he knew and didn’t know. This is when you show a little courtesy and class. But frankly, after reading many of your articles, it’s so easy to see that you have neither.

    You can sit behind a computer and type this and other articles, but you would never be this bold in person. So, in essence, your words mean nothing. I have spoken out in person about my support for my college and Joe Paterno. I have had conversations and discussions with people face to face about the scandal that Jerry Sandusky caused. All you ever do is piss and moan like a little girl behind a computer, where you’re safe. You sound like such a whiny brat in so mch of what you write that commenting or holding a discussion with you would seem pointless…

    I choose, and many others choose, to respect this man 24 hours after his death. You have no idea what he meant to so many people, and what’s worse is you don’t even care. I will honor his memory and continue to support Penn State in the effort to make things right. I will continue to donate to the fund set up by PSU alumni to help child abuse victims (how much have you donated?). I will continue speaking about this scandal to people who are so confused by the facts because the media doesn’t get it right.

    But I will not tear down this man. I will remember him and all the good that he did. I will pray for Sue and the rest of his family. I will pray for the victims and watch the trial of Sandusky unfold this year.

    The man is dead 24 hours. Your lack of respect is nothing short of shameful. And I would say that to your face.

    Danielle
    Penn State Alumni 2003

    1. Robert Richardson says:

      I guess it’s all about that class ring you wear. Wear it with pride 409-136-2 is fantastic record to be proud of. In case you haven’t been paying attention, this march to “accountability” began well before it was Joe Pa known was sick, probably right around the time he transferred ownership of his house to his wife during the summer. hhmmmm wonder why? Death does not absolve ANYONE of their deeds good or bad

    2. Debbie Marcus Zotinis says:

      EXCELLENT COME BACK, DANIELLE!!! EXCELLENT!!!!!! THIS GUY IS ANOTHER HATER WHO NEEDS TO GO AWAY AND JUST PUT A CORK IN IT… RIP JOEPA❤

      1. Jonas A-K says:

        EXCELLENT INDEED! THIS GUY IS JUST SPOUTING FACTS LIKE A REAL HATER! HE SHOULD JUST IGNORE THEM LIKE PATERNO DID BECAUSE FOOTBALL IS ALL THAT MATTERS!

        CAPITAL LETTERS FOR ALL!

    3. Sully says:

      Respect is earned.
      Paterno lost any deserved respect.

      Those raped children deserved respect.
      Joe Paterno showed them ZERO respect.

      That was the REAL Joe Paterno.

      His legacy is a man who protected a child rapist and also evidently coached some football

      1. JK says:

        But it seems that if you make your point in caps you’ve somehow got a sounder grip on the truth. Aside from volume, I don’t know Debbie’s point other than she worships Paterno no matter his malfeasance.

        As I keep saying, if Debbie and Danielle had sons under Sandusky’s care, their take would be slightly different.

        1. John Ranger says:

          What is most misleading about your article JK is that you consistently use the word “facts” to refer to the grand jury testimony or other unconfirmed news articles. However, the FACT of the matter is that our judicial system is an adversarial one. This means that two sides are allowed to present their evidence to convince a jury of the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Yet in this instance, no trial has occurred. A grand jury, on the other hand, involves prosecution ONLY presenting enough evidence to get an indictment. This is NOT trial… these are NOT established facts at this point. This is best evidenced by friends, family and McQueary himself retracting much of his grand jury testimony. I believe that it is in your best interest as a writer for the media to do a little more research and less sensational writing. I understand you are feeding the unintelligent and uninformed, but it is downright irresponsible. Please save your opinions for when the actual facts come out and then maybe you will be more respected in your field.

          1. JK says:

            Since I don’t tell you how to do your job, John, perhaps you’ll show me the same courtesy. Perhaps you think Sandusky and Paterno are innocent because the judicial system is “an adversarial one” – whatever that means.

            I realize you’re a Paterno Apologist. How’s that going for you? Perhaps you might consider the molested children with the same fervor you’ve given Penn State.

          2. Jonas A-K says:

            John Ranger, while I want to understand your sentiments, you still aren’t presenting any counterpoints for me to follow. If you were to provide evidence to the contrary of the grand jury testimony, *anything* remotely close to facts that might present Paterno or Sandusky as not being in the wrong, then perhaps your argument could be legitimate. But instead, while I appreciate your use of complete sentences and proper English, you’re still using the same argument that every other Paterno apologist is using: “Nuh uh!”

            1. John Ranger says:

              Not exactly. My point was that at this time, one cannot state that there are any absolute facts and therefore, it would be premature to pass judgment. Since all the evidence has not been presented nor has testimony been affirmed or rebutted, it is impossible to argue things as certain. I believe that as a media writer or a journalist, you should be held to a higher standard of care to not misrepresent information to the public. I don’t believe it is possible to make summary judgments about Paterno’s actions until we really find out exactly what happened. At this moment, none of us know. Jonas, you have proven my point that the grand jury testimony only represents one side by asking me to present any evidence to the contrary. Obviously since I am not privy to all the evidence, that is not something I can do. Perhaps after the trial, I will be able to do that.

              JK, your immature response saddens me. As a representative of a major news outlet, “adversarial” should not be too large of word for you to understand. In addition, you should put your money where you mouth is by focusing your articles on inciting masses to actually do something to help these children. Perhaps you could write about lobbying for stricter reporting laws, volunteering or donating to organizations, or some other contribution? Yet, that probably wouldn’t get as many hits as a sensational story and may actually do some good for society.

              1. Ramsey Piazza says:

                John I dont think satisfaction will ever come from the legal system in terms of certainty. Not to say it’s the same but no one felt certain about OJ after his trial,that he was aquitted with all the facts presented didn’t make people feel he was innocent of the crime. The opinions stated here I think are entirely appropriate in journalism. Sport writing is very much a “my take business”. As the general public we have plenty of venues to choose from for our information and have to weigh the quality of what’s presented. I just don’t believe Paterno when he says he didn’t know about the 98 report on Sandusky I don’t know if anything can change my opinion on that. And I have that opinion based on living in State College and seeing how things worked. Judgements speak to our feelings and people just don’t wait to feel, especially given the victims here.

            2. JK says:

              Jonas, you’ll notice an obvious theme among Paterno Apologists: deflection. Deflect. Deflect. Deflect.

              Rather than defend his hero with facts, he ignores you, Sully, Alex, etc. and makes this a referendum on me – what, how, and why I should write. Why argue against rather reasonable people when you can turn this into something entirely abstract?

              Anyway, Ranger is off the reservation. Feel free to chat with him if you like, Jonas, but I know a hopeless Paterno Apologist when I see one. The zombies congregate, develop a mantra, and stick to it until we stop responding.

            3. JK says:

              Jonas, you’ll notice an obvious theme among Paterno Apologists: deflection. Deflect. Deflect. Deflect.

              Rather than defend his hero with facts, he ignores you, Sully, Alex, etc. and makes this a referendum on me – what, how, and why I should write. Why argue against rather reasonable people when you can turn this into something entirely abstract?

              Anyway, Ranger is off the reservation. Feel free to chat with him if you like, Jonas, but I know a hopeless Paterno Apologist when I see one. The zombies congregate, develop a mantra, and stick to it until we stop responding.

          3. JP says:

            so John Ranger youre disputing testimony and accusing people of perjury. what do you think Sandusky is innocent?

      2. Michael says:

        THIS

    4. ace11 says:

      You my dear are completely lost

      Jason is dead on accurate

      all you stupid Penn State fans care about is your football record

      He was a SHAM as a person…ONLY CARED about HIMSELF and the SCHOOL

      The Facts are he did NOTHING to help the little boys

    5. gonifwatch says:

      Danielle, are you high? Joe Paterno’s legacy will ALWAYS be the scandal. This scandal will ALWAYS be the PENN STATE SCANDAL. Count on it.

  29. Jim says:

    “Now Joe Paterno has left the building. What is he taking with him? We can’t be sure about much other than the truth is bottled up somewhere,”

    sounds like Jason knows the truth himself …

    1. JK says:

      Feel free to speak frankly, Jim. I don’t pretend to know the entire truth. But I do know that Paterno had the power to stop Sandusky and didn’t. That fact is the foundation of my argument against Paterno and Penn State’s power structure. Am I wrong in that assertion?

      1. Jonas A-K says:

        The *only* reason that would make you wrong, Jason, is if Paterno had an even worse secret that Sandusky was holding over HIS head that gave him leverage in this situation. In which case, I can only shudder at how bad of a person he was.

        1. JK says:

          Indeed, Jonas. What I love is that his defenders don’t come at me with any facts. Straight to personal attacks. My fatal flaw, it seems, is not my lack of facts but rather the fact that I disagree with them. I’m more than open to a robust, respectful dialogue. But the Paterno Apologists won’t allow it.

          1. Matt says:

            No JK, your fatal flaw IS your lack of facts. I assume you were there? That you have been a fly on the wall following Paterno around for the past 15 years? How can someone spew stuff like you when you really have NO idea.

            Defenders can’t come at you with facts because just like you, they weren’t there. But you come off as if you’re 100% accurate and that is impossible. That is what people are arguing. Logical reasoning and reading comprehension not your strong suit, eh? Lazy journalism? What a shame your words are printed.

            1. JK says:

              Tell me where I’m wrong, Matt. The room awaits your dazzling display of logic.

              I said Joe Paterno hired Jerry Sandusky in 1977. Am I wrong?
              I said Sandusky used his power to molest children. Am I wrong?
              I said a grand jury indicted Sandusky for molesting children. Am I wrong?
              I said there are 52 counts against Sandusky. Am I wrong?
              I said Joe Paterno knew about Sandusky’s inappropriate interest in boys at least by 1998, when the school investigated Sandusky. Am I wrong?
              I said Paterno didn’t notify the police neither in 1998 nor in 2002 (when McQueary told Paterno about Sandusky + naked boy + shower + slapping sounds). Am I wrong?

              That’s just a sample. If you want more, feel free to answer these and I’ll continue. And then perhaps you can depart from your fellow Paterno Apologists and come at me and the group with facts, not insults. Making this about me doesn’t change what happened at Penn State. Do you understand that?

            2. JP says:

              Lack of facts? wow read the grand jury report. you apologists wont do it because your HERO is exposed as the coward he was. he didnt want to ruin the weekenbd for people so he waited? real hero. real leader.

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