Over the last few days, I have answered emails, messages and tweets about how disgraceful it is to support Joe Paterno. These people generally reference some non-fact about how Joe “knew about boys being raped and did nothing” or “hid this secret for his friend.”
I said this on Twitter but wanted to repeat it:
If you knew nothing about Joe Paterno on November 1st, PLEASE do not pretend to be a historian on Joe Paterno now.
If you don’t know the story about Joe flying to Philadelphia every other week to visit paralyzed Adam Taliaferro in the hospital then you don’t know Joe.
If you’ve never read about Joe making the entire team clean the stadium for a season following a brawl involving several players, what exactly have you read?
How about Joe and his wife donating $100,000 to Penn State three weeks after that same university fired him over the phone?
While on his death bed, Joe said that he hopes the truth comes out and those kids get justice. That’s who Joe was. Selfless.
He was the man who told president Nixon to “shove it” and told president Reagan that he couldn’t have his name on his jersey at the White House because “we’re team players.”
Joe Paterno created “The Grand Experiment” and graduated 87% of his football players, a shockingly high number.
There is a reason that NONE of Joe’s associates, peers or colleagues have come out with a negative story about him. It’s the same reason that has Michael Robinson is traveling from Hawaii to State College to give a eulogy, just to fly back back to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. The same reason that had Daryll Clark in tears on ESPN, had 800 former lettermen show up from across the country yesterday and had thousands of people lining the street today for his funeral procession. It’s because Joe Paterno was a quality human being who left a lasting impression on every life he came into contact with.
He made Penn State a better institution. He made his players better men. He made a mistake.
If you’re going to email me about what an awful person Joe Paterno was, you are wasting your time. You don’t know Joe like I know Joe.
“We Are, because you were.”
Follow me on twitter @TimTolleyVBR