SPORTS GALORE: Say it ain’t so Joe

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 1:27 pm on Monday, November 21, 2011

If only the headline meant I was referring to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
Obviously, with what has happened the past week at Penn State University, I am referring to coaching icon Joe Paterno. A story on gambling in sports right now would not be as sad and disappointing as this story is.

I’m not going to recount the details. If you don’t know what is happening regarding the sexual abuse allegations of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky you either live under a rock or plain just don’t care.

This is about the fall of a man that was respected by nearly everyone. Paterno was acknowledged to be as good as a man, as he was a coach. That is, until now.

I suppose most people still think Joe Paterno is a good man? And not just the rioting faction of students on campus in Happy Valley.

I still think Joe Paterno is a good man and has stood for the bettering of student athletes and students in general.

He turned down an NFL head coaching job with the New England Patriots in the late 1970s because he felt he would be unable to make an impact in the lives of adult players the way he would the amateur athlete.

But he made a monumental mistake. It will tarnish his legacy and how people ultimately view him. Which is correct.

How could these allegations go on for so long? How could Joe Paterno not see prosecution to the end?

The same goes with Mike McQueary. I’m pretty sure if I was to witness that horrific act I would not tell only my father. He was 28 years old at the time and should have know better.

Paterno is taking the fall because he is the face of the university. He was the man the could have put this to an end the quickest, but it did not happen.

I would love to believe this was kept quiet for some other ridiculous reason besides saving a football program. How anyone thought this would – with today’s media hounds – have stayed under the rug is beyond me.

In the end, Penn State, school officials, Joe Paterno and others will all suffer some sort damage publicly, financially and historically. But none will have suffered the way these victims have and probably continue to.

More than 90 years later, Joe Jackson is still not in the hall of fame. Did he accept money? No. Did he hit .375 and play his best in the 1919 World Series? Yes.

Could he have single handily stopped his team from becoming the “Black Sox”? Yes. And that is why Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for the rest of his life with the rest of the real gamblers.

Did Joe Paterno do these things to those boys? No. Did he do anything illegal – technically – by not informing the proper authorities? No.

Could Joe Paterno have stopped these disgusting crimes? Yes, single handily.

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