The Death of Joe Paterno

January 24, 2012

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Joe Paterno passed away on Sunday morning this past weekend. He leaves a legacy of coaching and giving to the University that he called his home and his career for over a half of a century. His philanthropic efforts at the school are without comparison for a man who was an employee of that same University. In many ways Paterno defined Penn State as much as Penn State defined him.

As usual when any public sports figure passes, there has been the chance to get a comment from any and all former players, fellow coaches, other members of the sporting world. I think in many cases these comments are very sincere, very thought out, and very supportive toward the family. After all, Paterno held the longest tenure of any coach in any sport. He has touched many folks in his time at the helm of the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, many of these comments from sports figures, announcers and others seem to be more out of necessity than heartfelt. In our media age of 24 hour sports programming networks, Twitter and the like, you are often criticized as much for what you don’t say – – in times when it is felt you SHOULD say something.

It will be an interesting period at Penn State. A new coach, the Sandusky trial proceedings, and now dealing with the death of the biggest icon of this proud University.

A lot of talk is happening right now about what is the proper way to honor Joe Paterno. What is “appropriate” given the recent developments and his perceived role or lack thereof in them? Many are bitter with how the media has handled everything in Happy Valley as of late. Many criticize the former coach. Many support him. Many are still searching for how they truly feel.

The flip side of a celebrity passing is that people try and cash in. It is likely that various books written now about Paterno and the “scandal” . Online mega-giant Ebay shows a that 3500+ items are listed when searching JOE PATERNO in the search field. It never surprises me the amount of vultures that want to cash in upon the death of someone famous. Unfortunately people are always looking to make a quick buck. It is the times that we live in.

I am sure the University and the people associated with Penn State will make appropriate decisions in the upcoming days, weeks and months after his death in terms of how to best remember Joe Paterno. I am sure that some of his legacy will forever be tarnished given the scope and nature of the allegations that have happened during his watch. I am sure he will not be forgotten.

Until next time…Stay Classy Brooklyn, New York

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