A new biography simply called Paterno is being released about the life of former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and already there seems to be some sort of cry for people to feel sorry for him because of how he reacted after being fired from the university. According to the book's author, Joe Posnanski, "Joe Paterno sobbed uncontrollably" after the phone call came that he'd lost his beloved job.
He apparently said, "I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself." He then told his son, Jay, "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it’s gone."
(Oh, please. Cry me a river.)
He didn't know what he was going to do with himself? How in the hell did he think those innocent boys felt when Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing them? Did he ever for one second consider how their lives were changed forever because Sandusky was a man of pure evil who preyed upon their trust?
But as sickening as it is to think about Paterno crying over his smeared reputation, I know that there will be plenty of people who will read those words and take pity on Joe Paterno instead of thinking about those poor, helpless boys who had their dignity stolen by Jerry Sandusky -- a man Paterno chose to protect.
The key word here is "chose," because he could've easily gone to the authorities when he got wind of what was taking place in the Penn State locker rooms, but he opted to protect his precious reputation instead of ending those victims' repeated torture sessions. And if he'd only done what was right instead of worrying about his ego, he probably would've been hailed as one of the most heroic men in the history of college sports. (How's that for irony?)
Interestingly enough, Joe Posnanski started writing the biography before the scandal was unveiled. And now he admits:
No, I don't feel the same way about Joe Paterno as I did when I started writing the book. But I don't feel about him the way his most blistering critics feel. He was a human being, filled with ideals and flaws, honesty and hypocrisy, charity and selfishness, modesty and the refusal to abdicate his throne. There was little simple about him. I chased the complicated story of a man and his long life.
Yes, Joe Paterno was a human being. But so are Sandusky's victims, and they deserved to be treated as such, not like people who simply weren't worth caring about.
How do you feel about Joe Paterno? Do you feel sorry for him at all?
Image via Getty