Since last November when the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal broke, my radio show was a lightning rod because off my criticism of Penn State’s leadership, including Joe Paterno, in the days after the scandal erupted.
Years ago I had the opportunity to interview Joe Paterno. In terms of my talk radio career, it was quite a “get.” As I talked to him, as a Pennsylvanian, I felt a bit of pride for a coach who talked about not just playing football “the right way,” but setting high standards for his players.
I bought into his “Great Experiment” vision. But over the years I became more and more disillusioned as the football team’s roster began to contain more and more players with questionable values. The student athlete model gave way to a criminal line-up.
Paterno’s player roster began more and more to resemble a police blotter. His decision to recruit and retain more and more morally marginal players told me and the rest of the world that his “Great Experiment” was giving way to the “Great Embarrassment.”
When Sandusky was arrested, I told my radio listeners there was no way a scandal of this proportion could have occurred without Joe Paterno and Penn State administration not knowing about this. The Paterno apologists blasted me on the air for daring to accuse Saint Paterno of anything but the purest and noblest intentions.
When Paterno tried to buy some time and tell the Board of Trustees (and the court of public opinion) that he would retire at the end of the season, I was criticized for saying this was a pathetic attempt to protect his image and downplay the devastating charges being leveled at Sandusky.
The events that transpired after the scandal broke were inexplicable.
- Insisting that playing that home game right after the scandal erupted was the right thing to do and would serve as the first step in the “healing process.”
- The Joe Pa defenders spending all their energy talking about the terrible treatment Paterno received by being fired by the Board of Trustees. Yet I never heard any of them talking about the young children who were raped by Sandusky.
- The death threats the Board of Trustees members received from gutless Paterno supporters to threaten them from attending Paterno’s memorial.
It’s funny, but the rhetoric and blind devotion of the Paterno supporters has been muted dramatically since the Sandusky trial revealed the sickening details of the crimes he committed against innocent children and the refusal of Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz to take action to stop the abuse.
The Freeh Report has completed destroyed the false wall of lies Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz built to deny their awareness of Sundusky’s unspeakable crimes against his child victims. Further, we are finding out that just after Paterno was giving dishonest testimony to the Grand Jury investigating Sandusky, he was negotiating a multi-million dollar retirement package.
Paid for with our tax dollars. Coincidence?
In football, the “trick play” is used to deceive a team’s opponent. As a coach, Joe Paterno was often criticized for not using more trick plays at Penn State. He eschewed the temptation and insisted on playing traditional, no-nonsense football.
Joe Paterno pulled off the ultimate trick play on the public. Because of his dishonesty and desire to put his football program, reputation and legacy first, innocent children were sexually abused and their lives forever damaged.
Joe Paterno’s legacy has gone from “The Great Experiment” to the “Great Embarassment.”
What do you think?