J.R.’s Editorial Corner
Whenever I was a young kid watching college football, Joe Paterno was a living legend that was both revered and respected.
Fast forward to 2012 and he is not only deceased, but his legacy has been forever tarnished by the despicable actions of Jerry Sandusky.
Paterno may have not had anything to do with Sandusky’s actions, but there is no way he could have been completely oblivious to the actions of a figure so close to him for so many years.
If nothing else he remained silent about what he knew, and that makes him an enabler.
I took a pro JoePa stance just a few short months ago in an editorial similar to this one, but the recent investigation by the NCAA has changed my mind.
Over the course of a year Penn State has gone from a storied program to a symbol of ignorance towards the safety of children.
The heinous actions of one man, and the decision to do nothing by a few others, has landed Penn State’s football program in shallow grave that some believe to be worse than the death penalty that was handed down to SMU in the late 80s.
They have lost scholarships, the university has to pay out millions of dollars and there will be no bowl games for Penn State for a few years. There is also the probation and the loss of wins for Paterno, which makes him no longer the winningest coach in Division I football.
His statue is gone from Beaver Stadium, and time will only tell whether or not Penn State removes his name from the Paterno Library and everything else covered in blue and white in State College, Pa.
The only good thing about the sanctions is that the NCAA had the foresight to allow players to transfer to other schools and play immediately. However, this does not help the 13 years worth of Nittany Lions’ players who now do not have a single official win to their name, despite having nothing to do with the scandal.
This is quite possibly the single greatest example in recent history of how the criminal actions of one man can so negatively effect so many innocent people.
For right now and years to come, there will surely be no one that is Happy in the Valley.
J.R. Tidwell is sports editor for The Franklin County Times. He can be reached at (256) 332-1881, ext. 31.