Joe Paterno links from around the Web
January, 23, 2012
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
The regular lunch links are on the way, but here's some of the reaction about the passing of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno on Sunday at 85. Here's a good list of reflections on Paterno's life.
- The New York Times' Pete Thamel: "Joe Paterno loved the classics. He quoted Shakespeare to his team, devoured the poems of Virgil and donated his money to help save Penn State’s classics department, even endowing a scholarship in the name of his high school Latin teacher, the Rev. Thomas Bermingham. With Paterno’s death at 85 from lung cancer on Sunday morning, the final thread of his narrative is one fit for the literary tragedies he adored."
- The Washington Post's Sally Jenkins: "He stayed so long that he became more of an ideal to his followers than a person. Then the horrific happened, and the quaint success story in the peaceful hamlet was destroyed by allegations that Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s assistant coach for 30 years, was a serial child molester and that Paterno, when told of an incident involving Sandusky and a small boy in the Penn State showers, did his duty but no more, passing the report to his superiors. The only way to give the tragedy the gravity it deserved was to topple the icon who behaved so fallibly."
- The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh: "There is no wrong reaction to an icon's death. Since Paterno's passing, I have received email essays praising JoePa as the most influential man in Pennsylvania and visceral appeals from critics calling Paterno Sandusky's accomplice. I get it. I am barely done ranting over Paterno's Washington Post interview, his final one as it turned out, that did nothing to change my opinion Paterno saw only what he chose to see when it came to Sandusky. This soon after Sandusky's arrest I still hesitate calling Paterno a great man and prefer emphasizing he did some great things for the sport."
- The Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch: "But will Paterno's odyssey be remembered for its long trail of heroic exploits that included not just gridiron glory but his one-of-a-kind commitment to the philosophy of the scholar-athlete? Or did the final shock of the child-sex-abuse scandal of his longtime assistant Jerry Sandusky rewrite the ending as a Greek tragedy, its hero undone by the prideful flaw of hubris?"
- Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde: "It is a sad situation. A man and a university inextricably linked for decades of good times, yet plunged into the darkest of times in the final act of a six-decade drama. That creates the current bitter conundrum. If Penn State does too much to honor Paterno, it will be criticized for lionizing a man who employed and in some ways enabled an alleged pedophile. If Penn State does too little to honor Paterno, it will be considered callous by a large portion of a fan base that worships the man and already is furious at his treatment this past fall."
- The Detroit Free Press' Michael Rosenberg: "But as we try to reconcile the two Paternos, we should step back and realize: There was only one. The man who created an incredibly successful program at Penn State is the same man who should have done more when allegations surfaced against his former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Lives are not jury trials; we should not expect a verdict at the end. Paterno was never the saint his worshipers made him out to be, and he was certainly not the devil his loudest recent critics have portrayed."
- The Star Tribune's Jim Souhan: "Unless you believe that football victories and campus buildings are more important than the health and safety of children, old Joe misplaced his own mission statement. His passing is tragic in the literary sense: He was a likeable but flawed character who fell from a great height. Perhaps no figure in modern sports has fallen so far, so fast. Certainly no other sports icon has so fully embraced his saintly image while providing a refuge and vehicle for anything so heinous as child abuse."
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz: "I still believe that Paterno deserves accolades, and that it would be a mistake to push aside all of the positive things he'd done during an extraordinary life that included 61 years at Penn State, the last 46 as the head coach."
- CBSChicago.com's Dan Bernstein: "Nothing in his life was more important than his grim, cowardly silence. There is no counterbalancing the moral ledger, or any mitigation by anything related to football. For years, he looked the other way while children were being assaulted, and his program was being used to enable the crimes. No number of victories stacks up against what these boys and their families lost. Not even 409."
- The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer's Bill Livingston: "His overall legacy will always be tarnished for failing to do more in loco parentis after learning his trusted aide, Jerry Sandusky, had been accused of sexually molesting children. It cost him his job and his stature as the face of Penn State, and it probably contributed to his dramatic decline in health. It was not the way a good man should leave a life in which he did so much to enhance the circumstances of others. Paterno lost sight of his mission then. It should not make us forget the decades in which he honored it."
- The Sporting News' Matt Hayes: "Joe Paterno wasn’t a fake; wasn’t a phony, wasn’t a coach who said one thing and did another. Sitting in that chair across from him and looking into those deep eyes, he was still the young boy who grew up in hardscrabble Brooklyn and busted his tail to earn everything given to him. If he could do it, his players could, too. And he was going to make damn sure of it. That’s why the events of the final months of his life, the awful secrets that were uncovered, make this so hard to comprehend. How can one mistake change the course of a lifetime?"
- USA TODAY's Mike Lopresti: "Maybe now, in death, his legacy can be viewed in the manner it should; with a broad sweep that includes what was so uniquely special, and not just the dark shadows and anguished voices of the past three months. If not today, maybe a distant tomorrow, when time has healed the cataclysm he leaves behind, or at least cooled it. Paterno belongs to the ages now. I hope the ages treat him kindly. The ages are often more logical and thoughtful than blogs and talk shows and newspapers."
- Paterno's image is on front pages from coast to coast and in between.