Joe Pa held to his own high standards

Let me begin by saying I have nothing but respect for Joe Paterno. Great coach, great teacher, great man.

In an era of “player’s coaches” who recruit kids with promises of everything except a good dose of discipline, Paterno was a throw-back to the good old days of college football, when character and integrity meant more than wins and losses.

And that’s exactly why I also support Penn State for its unceremonious firing of its legendary coach of 46 years under undesirable circumstances.

Paterno always ran a tight ship as a coach, so the same rules should apply to himself. He had an opportunity to do the right thing and he didn’t, so he should pay the price.

There are a lot of things coach’s can get away in the modern age. Poor academic performance by your players will get you a slap on the wrist, but losing is the overwhelming reason for firing.

One of the few reasons would be a case like this, bizarre as it is. Child molestation is a much more serious charge than an assistant coach buying a player a pair of Nikes.

Paterno’s duty as a head coach is to stamp out all problems that affect his program, but first and foremost it is to practice the same sense of honor he instills in his players.

As a human being in a place of authority, Paterno was obligated to see that such serious charges were reported to the proper legal channels, not an athletic director. Paterno has admitted that he should have done more.

In the end, he did not stand up to the level of conduct we expect of average citizens, not just an icon like Paterno.

The circumstances surrounding his departure are unfortunate. In a perfect world, Paterno would have announced he was retiring at the end of the season, he would be honored at Happy Valley and ride off into the sunset.

Instead, this hero to millions leaves under a cloud of questions about his character and whether the 84-year-old coach has been out of touch with reality over the past few seasons.

I don’t have any doubts about what a great coach he was or great man he is, although I do wonder about his judgment that allowed him to turn a blind eye to the horrific charges.

But as Joe Pa the coach would say, you make a mistake, you pay the price. In the end, Paterno was simply held to his own high standards.

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One response to “Joe Pa held to his own high standards”

  1. Sara says:

    Great to hear someone give Joe credit. Seems like media has been attacking him more than Sandusky in this horrific event. Good to hear a different take. Thank you

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