A while ago, I wrote a very tough blog on Joe Paterno and the mess at Penn State. Joe Paterno died today at age 85.
His situation caused me to think about things that I haven’t done or things I should have done. What inaction on my part has caused others harm. When didn’t I do all I could to correct a situation. That’s a lot of stuff to think about.
While thinking about that, I thought about all of the things Paterno did that were good. In a world that placed winning above everything else, he graduated citizens at a greater rate than any big time football program in the land.
In a world where coaches jump from job to job for a bigger check, he gave away most of what he earned, down to the last days where he gave $100,000 back to the university that unceremoniously fired him just weeks before.
I can’t think of many things worse than what happened at Penn State while under Paterno’s watch. Was he too old? Was he too attached to the image of Penn State? Did he respect chain of command too much to go around those who were supposed to do their jobs?
I don’t know. And, I will never know.
What I do know is we shouldn’t judge a man, at least this man, from the events uncovered over the past few months. He died with a broken soul.
It sucks that he didn’t have a chance at redemption, as if doing good works for all of his life required that.
Rest in peace Joe Paterno.