Monday, July 23, 2012

Thoughts on Penn State

I admired Joe Paterno for most of my life. I wasn't a Penn State fan, but like many football fans, I grew up respecting him. He seemed like one of the few people in college football who was doing things the right way. Over the years, the more I learned about Paterno, my admiration only strengthened. In 2004, the 79 year old Paterno was steamrolled by one of my Badgers during a game, a collision that shattered his leg. I marveled at his resiliency, further solidifying my respect.

Joe Paterno was a great football coach. That does not mean he was a great man.

Clearly, he was not.

Too often we equate success on the field with character. We assume winners are admirable. Joe Paterno won the most games in college football history. Everyone assumed he was a man of great character.

Until we learned the awful truth. Despite unprecedented success on the gridiron, Joe Paterno failed when it mattered most.

Penn State took down the Joe Paterno statue Saturday. There are Joe supporters who wanted the statue to remain, trying to separate his football legacy from his personal disgrace. Those people are delusional, Joe had to go.

The Penn State football program was severely punished by the NCAA today. I spent some time listening to sports talk radio, and there are people who think the penalties went too far, punishing current Penn State players who had nothing to do with the scandal. That's true, but it misses the point.

Penn State, as an institution, covered up horrendous crimes against children. In my mind, no penalty is too severe.


  1. Very well said, Tim ... Agree completely ...


  2. I agree with you on the fact that he was a great football coach. I believe he made a lot of bad choices to preserve his reputation but lost everything by that errant decision.

    Too, I don't agree with the NCAA decision. It punishes ex post facto those wo knew nothing about the scandal, weren't involved, and severely damages the Penn State athletics program. Look at how the NCAA sanction destroyed SMU for a couple of decades.

    Also, if you're not doing anything, I am hosting a "Dog Days of Summer" 3-day blog fest if you're interested. It runs from Aug 10-12.


  3. I know that no one is suprised that I am conflicted about the sanctions. I hate that the current players are having to deal with the aftermath of a horrific coverup that they had nothing to do with. I do agree that the program/Penn needed to be penalized. Very sad that the Penn football program has been disgraced by the men that should have been setting a postive example for young players.

  4. I personally have always been suspicious of guys that like to spend a lot of personal time with boys. That includes scout masters and whatnot. I find spending time with boys to be boring and tedious. I would do it as a job and treat it like that, but boys don't become interesting intellectually or physically until they are adults (to me). I have co-workers who are scout masters that love hanging out with their scouts, and that just creeps me out. I want to say, "Ummm are you showering with your scouts when you guys are all out camping? Are you letting one or two sleep in your tent? Maybe you should seek psychological help."

  5. I think the NCAA should provide oversight for the catholic church.

  6. Nice Post. Personally I think they should have shut the program down for a year or two.

  7. I agree with you 100%. I also always admired Paterno and though I was never a PSU fan, I liked seeing them win as long as they weren't playing my Buckeyes. I went to a game in Happy Valley back in the 90s and had such a fantastic time, I always had warm feelings towards the place. But that has all changed. I'm still so shocked at what went on there, it's too sickening for words.

  8. I completely agree with you. I don't feel we're holding anyone to a higher standard because of who they are but rather, we are holding people and institutions to a standard period.