Forever an enabler

Posted: January 22, 2012 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Columns, Football, NCAA, Through Both Lenses
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

“Joe Paterno, who racked up more wins than anyone else in major college football but was fired from Penn State amid a child sex abuse scandal has died.”

-AP

Architect of the “Grand Experiment,” coach with the most wins in FBS history, figurehead at Penn State University, an inspiration to many, and forever an enabler to arguably the most horrific figure in sports history. Joe Paterno died sometime between Jan. 21-22 after being diagnosed with lung cancer, he was surrounded by his family, he was allowed to say goodbye to his loved ones. He more than likely died in peace, a silent goodbye to those closest to him.

This is unfortunate not because I mourn his passing, it is unfortunate because he will never face any real justice for what he allowed to happen under his watch at Penn State. There are many fans and PSU alumni who wanted to see Joe Paterno reinstated and honored at the disgraced university as a measure of justice to the man that they claim was a noble man.

This notion is silly. A noble man does more than what’s expected of him, a noble man goes above ad beyond what is asked of him in dire situations. Valor is not defined by simply doing what the rulebook dictates you do. Valor is having the courage to stand up for those who cannot. To have honor is to seek out injustice when it’s close to you and weed it out. To be a noble man is to act nobly, and to act nobly is to ensure the safety of those that need it most.

Joe Paterno did what was legally required of him by law, and that’s it. The noble man did not kick out a sexual predator from his institution. He did not ensure the safety of young boys that were being preyed upon by a despicable man. He did not bring Sandusky to justice, he did not pursue any other actions besides those which were legally required of him, and for someone who has been called “Noble,” that is simply not enough. It’s not even enough for a decent man.

Paterno held the power at PSU, he was the face of the college. His word was law there. He could have done more, he should have done more, and while I will not celebrate his passing, I will not mourn it either. Paterno fell victim to an illness, but it does not make him the victim. I am well prepared for what’s to follow, the demands for another Joe Paterno memorial, a Joe Paterno remembrance day, things like that.

He doesn’t deserve that. What he deserved was to face the victims of what he enabled to truly see the damage he helped happen.

He didn’t get that either.

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