Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s death raises the huge question of what legacy the man leaves behind.
A few months ago this was a slam dunk. Paterno was Penn State. He had led the Lions to a truckload of victory over decades. He ran a pretty clean program. His players graduated. He and his wife, Sue generously gave their financial resources back to Penn State. But then the sex scandal hit last fall accusing one of his longtime assistants, Jerry Sandusky, of allegedly molesting boys.
Paterno was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case. At this point, other than the victims, Paterno had seemed to suffer the most. He was fired and couldn’t depart on his own terms. Then he developed lung cancer. The disease didn’t take long. A couple months and Paterno was dead.
Some say JoePa could have done more to stop the sex scandal. Some say he should have been more proactive going to the authorities. People are upset it was covered up over a 10-year period.
Paterno wanted to tell more of what he knew about the story. But he ran out of life.
Some say, people should judge Paterno on his whole career. The problem is that most people have short memories. They only remember what happened recently.
And the recently was bad, really bad.
But maybe one day, public opinion about Paterno will turn more positive. Folks will forget and give the ‘ole coach some grace.
However for the time being, Paterno’s legacy is in doubt and definite sides have been drawn.