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Joe Paterno Misguided Loyalty; Rest in Peace

Updated on February 14, 2012

Legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was praised by the same people who just late last year condemned the man after his untimely death at the age of 85. After being fired by Penn State last year for keeping quite about allegations of child molestation led to the arrest of another coach on the Penn State staff. Paterno's death apparently brought people to find forgiveness in their hearts and made them realize that to err is human, but to forgive, Divine.

As if brought forth by some form of divine intervention, Paterno asked that his family members gather at his bedside on the morning of the day that he passed. After making a brief statement that he had remained in good spirit right up until his death, at which time the Paterno family released this statement, "He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been.” Paterno was first diagnosed with lung cancer during a follow-up visit to the family physician, following treatment for a lung related illness. On November 18, 2011, Joe Paterno's son Scott Paterno had made public for the first time, the fact that shortly after his release from Penn State as the head coach of their phenomenal football team, his father had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Is it possible that watching his life fall apart, somehow attributed to his untimely death? If not, this would definitely qualify as one hell of a coincidence. Despite the persona of strength and courage that he faced the public with, Joe Paterno had to be absolutely devastated by the loss of a career that spanned the better part of this man's life. Living to age 85, Paterno devoted more than 62 years of his life to Penn State University, 46 of which at the head coaching position. The level of stress alone that this position carried with it would be more than could be bared by a man half of that mans age. If you were to ask anyone at Penn State University Joe Paterno I assure you that they would tell you that he was far more than just the head coach of the football team. Achieving what he did as head coach of that team was superlative. A record 409 wins at the college level. Joe Paterno was Penn State's leading fundraiser. He single handedly raised well over $1 BILLION dollars for the school during his tenure., donating more than $200,000 per year to the library among other facets of the facility He championed the importance of receiving a quality education whereas most college football coaches, if dropped in his shoes would be sure that their player focused only on the game. Compared to football players at other universities, his players out scored them in academic testing every year.

Whenever and whatever the school asked of Joe he gladly did, which undoubtedly added to his daily level of stress. The devastating emotional trauma caused by his sudden fall from grace, after a lifetime of praise for not only his ethical approach to the game of football, but to every aspect of his daily life surely impacted whatever underlying health issue that were at the time plaguing the 85 year old gentleman. After his abrupt termination by the university Paterno had to have felt that he was unfairly being persecuted by the media, who for his entire career had placed him on a pedestal.

Late in October of 2011, the story broke, when a local paper with a weekly readership of just under a half of a million, the Harrisburg Patriot put out the article that would forever change the lives of the Paterno family. The Jerry Sandusky scandal, the reports stated that Joe Paterno's former assistant coach had allegedly been molesting boys for more than 15 years. Extending the allegations and demanding the termination of Joe Paterno for not reporting any of the incidents. Not long after droves of other publications were also calling for his release.

After 65 years of loyalty to the school and without even being given as much as a chance to defend himself against these serious allegations, Penn State fired Paterno. Just to clarify this, Paterno was only being accused of not coming forward about Sandusky. He did not molest anyone himself, not that I condone his actions. However you want to look at this, it was no more than a case of misguided loyalty.

Rest in Peace Joe Paterno


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