It is with regret that I must withdraw my earlier version of this post. I suggested that before all the facts came out, people should not prejudge Joe Paterno. Now the facts are coming out, and sadly, tragically the facts apparently reveal that Mr. Paterno’s actions allowed Mr. Sandusky to continue to abuse young boys for years after Mr. Paterno and the administration knew about the abuse. Mr. Paterno did more than fail to report Mr. Sandusky to the police—that is a sin of omission. E-mails strongly suggest that the administration was going to contact Child Welfare until Mr. Paterno suggested otherwise. This is a sin of commission, requiring an active effort to circumvent the process that would have, had Mr. Paterno not intervened, stopped Mr. Sandusky in his tracks. I do not know why Mr. Paterno would do such a thing. Was it friendship with Mr. Sandusky? Was it an attempt to protect the football program? Was it an attempt to protect his own reputation? If the latter, why would Mr. Paterno have so little common sense that he forgot the Bible verse, “Be sure, your sin will find you out.” I have my disagreements with Augustine, but he was correct, I think, in holding that evil is utterly irrational since it marks turning away from the highest good due to pride. It may be that Mr. Paterno’s pride in the football program and his accomplishments, along with his friendship with Mr. Sandusky, led him astray. Ultimately only God knows a man’s motives; we humans can make our best guesses. Mr. Paterno made a grievous error, and due to the horrific consequences of his error, the abuse of God knows how many young boys, his legacy is permanently tarnished if not destroyed. No one should be seduced by one’s achievements, by one’s job, by one’s legacy, or by loyalty to a friend, in a way that the preservation of such requires ignoring evil actions that harm the innocent.
- Did Joe Paterno Dissuade Penn State Officials From Contacting Child Welfare Authorities? [Penn State Scandal] (deadspin.com)
- Joe Paterno Reportedly Played Major Role in Penn State Cover-Up (theatlanticwire.com)
- Lasting memory of Paterno will be in the eye of the beholder (cbssports.com)
- Joe Paterno’s family: Coach did not ‘interfere with’ Jerry Sandusky investigation at Penn State (pennlive.com)
- Ex-Penn State president agreed not to report Jerry Sandusky sex abuse allegations: Report (vancouversun.com)