Monday, July 23, 2012

The Paternos miss the point

It seems kind of harsh to criticize the late Joe Paterno's family right now, but ... well, read for yourself what they had to say in the wake of the record-setting penalty levied against Penn State by the N.C.A.A.:
“The N.C.A.A. has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal,” the family’s statement said. “The sanctions announced by the N.C.A.A. today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.”
Joe Paterno's legacy is tarnished beyond repair by the report prepared by Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan, which stated bluntly:
Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University - President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno - failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky's activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being ...
I cannot imagine that the Paterno family could say anything that would mitigate these damning findings. The family's statement suggests that they want to introduce character testimony painting Joe as a loving father, husband, colleague and friend.

None of that means a damned thing to this matter. Not a goddamned thing.

To repeat: Paterno and the other three men "failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade". They concealed Jerry Sandusky's despicable actions.

I'm sorry the Paterno family has to watch Joe Paterno's name dragged through the mud, but he helped to create this disaster. It's a shame he didn't live to suffer the consequences of his terrible judgment. But if all they have to add to the maelstrom of commentary about Sandusky's crimes is a sentimental plea to remember Joe's many victories or his positive contributions to Penn State, I wish they'd do all of us a favor and say nothing.

Unless the Paterno family can prove the Freeh report inaccurate or incomplete, nothing they can say will help either the situation or Joe Paterno's reputation.

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