‘Joe Paterno is Penn State football’

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Story by Taylor Potter, Staff Writer

The death of college football’s winningest coach has struck an interest among the college football fan base. Joe Paterno, 85, died Sunday after a battle with lung cancer and only months after being fired in the well-known Penn State rape scandal involving an assistant coach.

Paterno was released due to his knowledge of the incident and failure to properly address the problem. Paterno did report the incident to his supervisor, but he did not take any further action.
While Paterno’s sudden passing shocked many college football disciples, some of us were not surprised in the least.

Since 1966, Paterno devoted his life to Penn State football. The boosters, school administration and other supporters acted in an extremely unprofessional manner when they fired Paterno. They took a man who had devoted his entire life to that school and tossed him out as soon as things got hazy. The school should have allowed him to finish his final season and let him go into retirement.

Paterno followed protocol by telling the athletic director of the disturbance. The athletic director did nothing. The only thing Paterno is guilty of is ignorance. He saw that the coach in question was still using team facilities and didn’t do anything. Paterno was a man who simply over-trusted his superiors. Even though he followed protocol, he was fired before the athletic director.

I do agree that Paterno’s employment should have been discontinued. I do think, however, that the school owed it to this man to allow him to finish the season with dignity and allow him to retire with his head held high. But instead of his legacy being of greatness, people in our generation will only remember scandal.

Paterno did not die from lung cancer. Paterno died from a broken heart, a broken spirit and a broken will to live.

He was betrayed by the school that he had always supported. He knew that his legacy and all that he had stood for was tarnished. He knew that when people heard his name they would not think of the hundreds of young athletes he’s molded into men. They would not think of his dedication to a single program. They would not think of his contributions to the community. All they would think of would be rape, lies and defeat.

Regardless of your stand on his involvement in the rape scandal, there is one truth that no one can deny: Joe Paterno is Penn State football.