Maisel: The ties that bind PSU, Paterno

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
7:45
PM ET
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The university that fired Joe Paterno over the phone in November after 62 seasons of coaching has had to turn around and recast him as an icon upon his death in January. If there is a historical parallel for a relationship this awkward, it escapes me.

The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Tuesday that the Paterno family had discouraged the Penn State board of trustees as a group -- but not as individuals -- from attending the memorial Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center. When Gov. Tom Corbett, an ex-officio member of the board, took that to mean he should not attend, the family issued a statement specifically inviting Corbett.

The outpouring of emotion in the Penn State community since Paterno died Sunday morning has been a source of comfort to his family. Jay Paterno, the son who coached with his dad for the last 17 years, greeted mourners who came to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center for the viewing of Paterno's casket Tuesday.

The outpouring of emotion in the letters section of the local newspapers since Sunday has been almost universal anger directed at the university and the board of trustees for their treatment of Paterno.

Grief takes many forms. The warmth that has enveloped the Paterno family and the anger that has been directed at Old Main, the building that houses the Penn State administration, may be coming from the same place.

For Ivan Maisel's full column, click here.

To hear Maisel and Beano Cook discuss the life and legacy of Joe Paterno on the ESPNU College Football podcast, click here.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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