It’s the story of a universally beloved man, who by all accounts, worse sin in the eyes of many was that he was hanging around the job too long. Then in November of 2011, Joe Paterno’s former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, was indicted on 52 counts of child molestation.
It’s been a while since something was officially done to honor Joe Paterno at Penn State University. For that matter by anyone with official ties to the state of Pennsylvania.
In fact since Paterno was fired as head coach on November 9th 2011 and his subsequent death roughly 70 days later in January of 2012 Penn State has not moved towards restoring the now deceased football coaches former spot as a beloved figure in campus life. Many people would say that is the wise course of action based upon the consensus that he was aware of the sexual abuse that took place under his watch by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky for many years.
Administrators, athletic department officials, coaches, you name it, for the most part have understood that association and even comment on the record appearing sympathetic to Paterno could be, and would likely, understood as condoning the actions of Jerry Sandusky and thus unsympathetic to the victims of his horrific crimes.
Ultimately, as time moves forward the public stance seems to have softened, at least from the high plates of public anger we have seen since 2011.
And with that, Penn State released its 2016 football “promotions” scheduled.”
Bulleted for all to see if the item for Sept. 17th:
• Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Coach Joe Paterno – Activities during the game will take place to commemorate Joe Paterno’s first game as the head football coach at Penn State — September 17, 1966.
Nothing more, nothing less was said by any Penn State official about the item. But those who follow these things closely, jumped on it, word spread, particularly on Twitter it appears and thus it became a news item just two days prior to the kick off of the 2016 Penn State football season.
Ironically, or perhaps as expected no Penn State administrator, including the school’s director of athletics, president or football coach would comment or have commented on the decision to honor Paterno. There’s still a huge hesitancy to appear sympathetic to the shame, embarrassment, horror, and disgusting crimes committed by Sandusky.
ESPN’s College Football Studio host and play-by-play man Rece Davis said Thursday on Sports Center, “I thought at the very least, the timing makes it incredibly tone-deaf.”
Davis continued, “There are very strong opinions on both sides as to what Joe Paterno’s culpability was and how he should be treated in terms of the memory and legacy of Penn State.”
“At this time with the documents that are unsealed there are still cases out there that are to be settled both civil and criminal, and it just seems like a tone-deaf move and not the right time.”
“I think that if you come to a place eventually, and i’m not sure if Penn State will come to this place. If they come to a place that you fully recognize and honor Joe Paterno again, I don’t think you try to just slide it by as an “Oh by the way we’re going to do this.”
“It seems to be maybe, they are testing the waters to see what the reaction would be to do something like this.”