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Thread: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

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    Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Truly great leaders are measured by the lives they reached, the people they motivated and the legacy of their lesson that can extend for years to come, like ripples from a skipped stone across an endless lake.

    For Joe Paterno, the impact is incalculable, the people he connected with extending far beyond the players he coached for 62 years at Penn State, the last 46 as head football coach. Paterno always tried to be the giant who walked among the everyman both in the school’s greatest moments and, it turns out, in its worst.

    Paterno died Sunday at a State College, Pa., hospital, suffering in his final days from lung cancer, broken bones and the fallout of a horrific scandal that not only cost him his job, but also his trademark vigor and a portion of his good name. He was 85 years old.

    This is a complicated passing. What was once the most consistent and basic of messages – honor, ethics and education – seemingly lived out as close to its ideal as possible was rocked Nov. 5, 2011, when a grand jury indicted Paterno’s former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, of multiple counts of sexual abuse of children.

    Many, including Penn State’s Board of Trustees, believed Paterno could have and should have done more to stop Sandusky, especially after allegations of misconduct arose in 2002. Within days Paterno was fired from the program and school to which he’d become synonymous.

    Now, a little more than two months later, he’s gone for good, a bitter, brutal ending for an American original.

    He was the winningest college football coach of all time, compiling a 409-136-3 record. He won national titles in 1982 and 1986 and recorded four other undefeated seasons, including consecutively in 1968 and 1969.

    He was a bridge from a simpler time to the cutthroat business college football has become, somehow serving as both a progressive force (he believed in players’ rights, a playoff system and welcomed advancements in television) and a stubborn traditionalist (the Penn State uniforms remained basic, he never learned how to send a text message and he still used old-school discipline).

    In 2007, when a group of his players got into a fight at a party, Paterno determined it would best if the entire team had to clean Beaver Stadium after home games. “I think that we need to prove to people that we’re not a bunch of hoodlums,” he said at the time.

    That was Paterno at his best, this singular figure offering simple lessons. He was the rock. He was the constant. He was the conscience. He was JoePa, his nickname suggesting a fatherly quality to not just his players, not just Penn State students who could still find his number listed in the local phone book and not just Nittany Lions football fans.

    He was a larger-than-life figure in the small, bucolic town of State College, and if you wanted to draw something good and decent from college football, well, here’s where you always could. Don’t worry, he’d still be there, as unchanged as ever.

    He gave millions of dollars back to the school – the library is named after him and his wife, Sue. He raised millions more at speaking engagements across the country. He encouraged vibrant alumni to take incredible pride in their university, unusual for many state schools in the east. Yet he was still this guy out of Brooklyn, with a thick accent and even thicker glasses. He was humble. He was approachable.

    It seemed, for anyone who wanted to believe, that he provided perspective amid the circus.

    “We’re trying to win football games, don’t misunderstand that,” Paterno told Sports Illustrated’s Dan Jenkins in 1968, when he was just 41. “But I don’t want it to ruin our lives if we lose. I don’t want us ever to become the kind of place where an 8-2 season is a tragedy. Look at that day outside. It’s clear, it’s beautiful, the leaves are turning, the land is pretty and it’s quiet. If losing a game made me miserable, I couldn’t enjoy such a day.

    “I tell the kids who come here to play, enjoy yourselves. There’s so much besides football. Art, history, literature, politics.”

    That this attitude would come from the guy who would win the most games ever was part of the charm, as if Paterno was running a ruse on everyone chasing him all those crisp autumns. He was playing chess, they were getting check-mated.

    No, the full truth never squares with these kinds of narratives. No, he wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t without fault or selfishness or vanity or difficult moods. He was close enough though. Sometimes, having someone to believe in is enough.

    “You know what happens when you’re No. 1?” Paterno said more than 40 years ago to Jenkins. “Nobody is happy until you’re No. 1 again and that might never happen again.”

    It would happen again and again and again, actually.

    In his final days, that wide-eyed optimist and aw-shucks success story was gone. The Sandusky scandal had sapped what no opponent ever could. He sat earlier this month at his kitchen table with, not coincidentally, Sally Jenkins, the Washington Post columnist and Dan Jenkins’ daughter, for his last public words.

    He’d lost his hair from chemotherapy. His breath was heavy. He sipped on a soda. “His voice sounded like wind blowing across a field of winter stalks, rattling the husks,” Sally Jenkins wrote.

    He tried to explain how he hadn’t done more to stop Sandusky, how he hadn’t followed up thoroughly, how he hadn’t pressed university administrators for answers.

    “I didn’t exactly know how to handle it … I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

    Some saw no need for him to explain himself again: He’d said much the same thing in a 2011 grand jury appearance. For others, there is no suitable explanation, boys were abused, the mistake too grave for excuses.

    This will be forever the battle over Joe Paterno’s legacy. A life of soaring impact, of bedrock values, of generations and generations as a symbol of how to live life to its fullest.


    The Sandusky case cracked that for some. Ended it. Not for all, though.

    Paterno reached too many, taught too many, inspired too many. And for years and seasons, for decades and generations to come, those that drew from his wisdom will pass it on and on. That will be his most lasting legacy.

    No, his worst day can’t be forgotten. Neither can all the beautiful ones that surrounded it.
    Man such a weird set of events. Not exactly sure what to think of this guy, and we don't know what he knew, or didn't.

    RIP to him though.

  2. #2
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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Heard about this earlier today. Really sad, he was a great coach and did his thing for decades. Even with the events that lead up to this, people should just forget about it and respect him and give him peace.

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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    I don't really think he deserved all this grief. I mean it's not like he turned a blind eye to it. But it's sad to see him go like that.

    (Cause you all love me...lol)



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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Quote Originally Posted by Slave To Petey View Post
    I don't really think he deserved all this grief. I mean it's not like he turned a blind eye to it. But it's sad to see him go like that.
    He did turn a blind eye. That is why everyone is upset. I would say way more, but he died and I do not think it is an appropriate time.

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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Quote Originally Posted by Advocate View Post
    He did turn a blind eye. That is why everyone is upset. I would say way more, but he died and I do not think it is an appropriate time.
    Turning a blind eye would mean knowing it happened and doing absolutely nothing where as he did try to do something and the higher ups didn't want to.

    (Cause you all love me...lol)



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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Come on guys, seriously.

    We should all pay our respects to this great coach in this dark time.

    Great coach for almost half of a century of dedication and success.

    (1926-2012)



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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    I agree with Doom. He is and was a legend in the game.

    RIP Joe.

    TEAM CYRUS



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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Rot in Hell Joe.

    Hopefully Sandusky follows you soon.

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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    Yeah, what Troy and Advocate said.

  10. #10
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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    One act or one part of someone's life does not define someone's whole life. People make mistakes, none of us our perfect and none of us will ever be perfect. But the fact remains him dying isn't going to change anything, and people need to stop acting like it will. We can all act and pretend we know what we have done in that situation but we don't until we are in said situation. I feel sorry for any soul that wishes harm to others and live with rage and hate in their life. I think we call all say we've been in positions were we wished we have done more. I'm sure at one point or another we've all sat back and idle watching a school bully pick on someone else. Anyway the worst part of this was how this scandal was alot about Paterno/Penn St. and no one really wanted to pay attention to those affected. It's just the way life is. There is no white and black, just shades of grey.

  11. #11
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    Re: Penn State's Joe Paterno dies

    R.i.P it's sure is sad



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