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Scandal sullies Joe Paterno's legacy

11/9/2011

The idea that Joe Paterno would be forced out of Penn State on moral grounds defies belief.

More than six decades of achievement, an entire adult life committed to the advancement of the core mission of his university, could not withstand the sin of omission committed by Paterno in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case.

It is not the something that Paterno did that brought him to this fate. It is the something that he did not do to stop Sandusky.

"This is a tragedy," Paterno said in the statement announcing his retirement, which the university released Wednesday morning. "It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."

The idea that Paterno's legacy, built with the highest of ideals, will be stained by the vilest of scandals should test the faith of all of us. It is simple and glib to say that American sport's most famous white socks covered feet of clay. But if we cannot believe that JoePa knew to do what is good and right, than in whom, pray tell, can we believe?

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