Joe Paterno’s Dead (1926 – 2012)

“Wait. Is that a small boy trying to touch me? C’MON.”

Where do I even begin? Back in November, at the age of 85, legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was fired after a grand jury testimony revealed that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was basically using Penn State football facilities as his own personal child-rape dungeon, and in the sake of preserving the university’s image, was simply told to take it elsewhere. Jump to three months later, and Joe Paterno died yesterday, according to CBS Sports, so it’s a pretty safe bet that the guilt accelerated his cancer and killed him. As it should’ve. Fortunately, from his death, we’ve learned that large swaths of America will overlook passing the buck on stopping a child rapist – the best case scenario at this point – when you’re the “winningest” coach in sports history. So I’m already pissed that I even mentioned all his wins because if Joe Paterno’s legacy should be remembered for anything, it’s Jerry Sandusky and how Paterno followed the bare minimum legal requirements instead of using his immeasurable clout to say, “Hey, we found this guy raping kids, let’s make sure that ends NOW.” What those kids got instead was the following quote from his last interview with the Washington Post, that Paterno gave a week before dying from his sickbed to preserve his legacy:

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was.”

“Sorry, kids, but according to this handbook, I’m only supposed to tell Tim Curley and then get back to leading young men to excellence by saying things like ‘Success with honor.’ You understand?” Of course, probably the most amazing quote from the interview that apologists who want to blame Mike McQueary for not giving Paterno all the details seem to overlook is that Joe Paterno actually tried to say he’d never heard of a man raping another man before. No, really:

“You know, he didn’t want to get specific,” Paterno said. “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man. So I just did what I thought was best. I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it.”

So for those of you trying to maintain a sweet, grandfatherly image of JoePA, at least know that he wasn’t a fan of prison movies. On that note, if Joe Paterno’s legacy is to be an example of anything, it’s that blind hero worship is goddamn retarded and there’s a very simple truth why: Inside the heart of every single man, woman and child, whether it’s Mother Teresa or old-timey football coaches, lies an asshole. For such is the human condition. Homo assholicus they should’ve called us.

[Ed. Note: Nothing anyone will write about Paterno will top The Onion. Nothing. – SW]

Photo: Getty