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Penn State Scandal

by Buzz Bissinger The Daily Beast, philly.com
Jan 22, 2012

We shouldn't forget the former Penn State football coach's highlights, but his willful inaction on Sandusky cannot be dismissed as an incidental lapse—and his death shouldn't make him a victim, says Buzz Bissinger.

Joe Paterno's death Sunday morning from complications of cancer at the age of 85 is no more or less tragic than any other death. All dying is sorrow. People should remember Paterno any way they choose, with prayers or love or tears—or yes, continued anger.

But the former Penn State football coach should not be turned into a martyr. He should not be made into a victim because of the circumstances of his dismissal by the university board of trustees on Nov. 9. He should be remembered for what he did do, his success as a football coach on the field in which he won 409 games, the most in history; his far more impressive record off the field, in which, according to a recent study, 80 percent of his players graduated within six years; his multimillion-dollar donation to the Penn State library system; his undying love for the school.

But he must be remembered for what he did not do, which wasn't losing to Ohio State or Michigan or Wisconsin, but the willful inaction that by all accounts helped to aid and abet an alleged sexual predator named Jerry Sandusky, who once had been his defensive coach.

It is how I will remember him the most. Maybe it is because the scandal unfolded so soon before his death. Or maybe because it was such a failure of responsibility.


By Leonard Shapiro, The Washington Post
Sunday, January 22, 10:23 AM

Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who was among the most admired figures in the annals of collegiate sports but whose reputation was shattered in the wake of a child abuse scandal involving one of his longtime assistants, died Sunday morning of complications from lung cancer.. He was 85.

The death was announced by his family.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today," the family said in a statement. "His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.

"He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community."


By Express-Times opinion staff
Monday, January 16, 2012

The Penn State sex abuse scandal churned into a public relations whirlwind last week, culminating with an interview of Joe Paterno by the Washington Post. The university went outside its close-knit fraternity to hire a new football coach.

Yet at the heart of the tragedy, nothing changed. Former coach Jerry Sandusky is awaiting trial. We don't know the extent of his alleged attacks on boys entrusted to his care and whether more victims will come forward. On Friday, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz pleaded not guilty to perjury and failing to report allegations of a sexual assault of a child by Sandusky in a Penn State locker room in 2002.

In a series of meetings, President Rodney Erikson tried to explain how the university is dealing with the crisis. The reaction to his presentations showed how divided the public remains over Sandusky, the mishandling of the crisis and the dismissal of Paterno. The key issue, however, is unchanged: How, when credible reports of sex abuse were made in 1998 and 2002, no one picked up the phone to call a prosecutor, the police, a child-welfare worker.


By JEREMY ROEBUCK AND JOHN P. MARTIN, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012

In the days after Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sex-abuse charges, thousands of letters and e-mails poured into Gov. Tom Corbett's office from every corner of the world advocating every conceivable action:

Fire Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier.

Reinstate coach Joe Paterno.

Cancel the Penn State football season, some said.

Others offered high praise or criticism for the governor:

You are a hero and should run for president.

You are a scoundrel who covered up sex abuse and belong in jail.

"Act, act quickly and decisively on the Penn State issue," read one. "Do your due diligence, but act."


By Sally Jenkins, Washington Post
January 14, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA. — Joe Paterno sat in a wheelchair at the family kitchen table where he has eaten, prayed and argued for more than a half-century. All around him family members were shouting at each other, yet he was whispering. His voice sounded like wind blowing across a field of winter stalks, rattling the husks. Lung cancer has robbed him of the breath to say all that he wants to about the scandal he still struggles to comprehend, and which ended his career as head football coach at Penn State University. The words come like gusts. "I wanted to build up, not break down," he said.

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