Tragedy struck State College, PA., Sunday morning with the passing of Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in major college football history. Paterno and the legacy he carried will forever be tarnished by the biggest college football scandal in history, uncovered in late 2011 when investigations revealed Jerry Sandusky, Paterno’s assistant coach for more than 20 years, had sexually molested young boys.
Charges were brought against him in November 2011 and led to the eventual dismissal of both Coach Paterno and Penn State’s President Rodney Erickson.
Paterno’s knowledge of Sandusky’s crimes go back as far as 2002, when a graduate assistant for the football team Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky with a boy in the shower, then reported it to Paterno. Paterno informed select university officials about the allegations, but wiped his hands clean of the situation soon after. That decision, and the public discourse that followed more than a decade later, raised the most important issue of all: accountability.
As news of Paterno’s death spread, media outlets re-examined why former Coach Paterno failed to take responsibility for abuses occurring under his watch. Crimes by Sandusky were overshadowed by the importance of football at Penn State. But, those crimes were bigger than any football game, or player. In hindsight, bigger than Penn State University itself.
Was Paterno covering up for a friend? Why did he allow Sandusky to continue to have access to the athletic facilities after 1999 when he was fired abruptly and the same facilities where some of the alleged sexual acts took place?
So many questions will be left unanswered now that Coach Paterno is gone. When Sandusky goes on trial, Paterno won’t have the opportunity to speak, or come to any new resolutions of his own.
Many of us have been reading and culling through dozens of articles to find the best perspectives and news sources. What follows are links to my favorite newspapers, sites, college football writers and sports writers. I read their articles daily and respect what they have to say. The Washington Post and New York Times have both published interviews with Paterno, granted just days before his death.
Paterno passing also means death of an ideal by Pat Forde | Yahoo Sports
- Joe Paterno’s legacy outweighs scandal by Ivan Maisel | ESPN.com
- Paterno a study in contradiction by by Gene Wojciechowski | ESPN.com
- Joe Paterno dies, leaving a record for others to debate by Sally Jenkins | Post Sports
- Joe Paterno legacy: From triumph to tragedy in days by By Chris Dufresne | Los Angeles Times Sports