Sunday, January 22, 2012

969 Joe Paterno

Sunday, 1/22/12
969 Joe Paterno

(STATE COLLEGE Pa.) -- Listen to the cheap buffoons and hypocrites with their handwringing tributes to the man they killed.  Joe Paterno died this weekend.  He was 85 and until recently, considered the great man around here.  The winningest this and the longest serving that.  Win games, but win ‘em with honor.  More of his boys graduated than those of any other coach in college football history.  Blah blah blah.

Then, all of a sudden comes along a little boy sex scandal centered on one of his former underlings and Joe is forced into a corner.  He did the legal thing, reporting what little he knew to his boss. (His boss?  Who are you kidding!  He had no boss.)  But, said the people who killed him, he hadn’t done the “moral” thing.  What do these people know about morals?  So they fired him and he died.  And they not only fired him with a phone call, but they forced him to place the call.  Cowards.

Now come the tributes.  Four hundred nine wins.  Thirty seven bowl games.  Two national championships.  Success with sportsmanship. His fans have been outraged all along, and they should have been.  In 2012, you don’t can a guy who has been on your payroll since 1950, who has made your low rent little Ag school into a national academic and athletic center of gravity while you went ahead and turned it into a national joke.

The tributes are like saying “Okay, Joe... all is forgiven” when there was little or nothing to forgive.  Sure “JoePa” as they called him overstayed his prime.  That can happen anywhere.  And sure, he might have had too much power.  But you don’t pay tributes like those being so glibly spouted now when you wronged the guy in the first place and he’s not around to hear them.  Like so much else about this town, it’s all about salving and saving oneself.

The JoePa statue outside the huge and ugly stadium here is the only tribute worth remembering: “Educator, Coach, Humanitarian” says the accompanying wall.  The statue was put up in 2001.  It weighs 900 pounds and was sculpted by Angelo DiMaria.  You can drop him a thank you note at box 4071, Reading PA 19606.  A thank you note?  Yes, because it’s set in bronze and even the guys running the show at Penn State wouldn’t dare tear it down when their inner glee and outer hypocrisy reached full force.  And they certainly won’t now.

And probably they’ll re-name the place Paterno Stadium, something he always said he didn’t want.

Fond hope:  that the funeral will be small and private.   And the inevitable memorial service will be huge and that no one named Paterno will attend. Would serve them right.

Joe’s immediate cause of death was lung cancer.  But this was a homicide.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012

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