Friday, January 16, 2015

JOE PATERNO AND THE 111 WINS



Social media was flooded Friday afternoon with pictures of Joe Paterno smiling and
celebrating with captions that read, "NCAA restores Paterno's 111 wins making him
all-time winningest coach again."

Suddenly, all those frowns in Happy Valley were turned upside down and even Paterno
must've been smiling in the one of the two places he may be resting since his death in 2012.

It's all so very sad and still terribly sick. All the smiles, wins, and records  ring so hollow
in the wake of the scandal at Penn State where countless children were violated by former
defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky.


Our nation's obsession with victories and records can somehow overshadow, at least for
a day, the sexual abuse that went on campus and ruined the lives of many children forever.
A lot of people at Penn State saw  the ruling by the NCAA as a win for the school and its
legendary coach.

It means nothing, absolutely nothing. Nor does the number '409' and all the questions about
whether or not the statue of Paterno will be return to its spot outside Beaver Stadium.
409 is the total number of wins Paterno accumulated in his coaching career. That number puts
him back in the record books as the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.

Boy, that's really great.

I'm not sure when our nation became obsessed with wins and records, but do they really
mean anything when it concerns Penn State and what happened there? Is anybody with a
clue really going to get excited when somebody on ESPN's 'Game Day' says that 'JoePa' is
the all-time winningest coach again'? Seriously, it's ridiculous. Everybody will say, "Yeah,
he's got the most wins, but....."


There will always be defenders of Paterno who will say that he informed the administration
at Penn State and it is they, not Paterno, who should be responsible forthe scandal. They
will say that Paterno did his job in alerting school officials of what went on with Sandusky
and a boy in the shower.

I understand that.

However, it all happened under Paterno's watch in the program and facility that he built
with his muscle, power, knowledge, and influence. Paterno was Penn State. It was his
kingdom, but with that, he must take responsibility for what went on while he presided
over it. And in reality, he allowed Sandusky, for some reason, to have the keys to facility
and kingdom long after he retired in 1999.

It's hard to play dumb, especially after acknowledging that you alerted the administration
to what happened. When Joe Paterno admitted he "could've done more", he was telling
everybody he knew exactly what happened on his watch.



At this point, there isn't really anything more that can be done to erase the stench and
stigma that will always be attached to Penn State and the child-sex abuse scandal. Sandusky
will die in prison and Paterno has long been gone. The victims have received financial
rewards but no amount of money will ever return the innocence that was stolen from them.

Many are rejoicing in Happy Valley Friday as their football program got the 112 wins
that they feel was stolen away from it. Joe Paterno got his record restored and a perch atop
college football.

That's a lot of wins and a lot of smiles, but it still seems like one huge loss for everybody.

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