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This picture evokes a lot of emotion for me–it’s tough to watch a grown man be humiliated. It wasn’t supposed to end this way for Joe Paterno. Some of my initial sadness was derived from having to get to the last page of the book to read what I did not want to read. My emotions quickly went elsewhere.
My grandfather used to tell me that “a reputation is made by many actions and ruined by just one.” Though the culture can prove forgiving, these are the rules–especially for a public figure like Joe Paterno. As I have watched different media outlets cover this story, I can’t help but notice that a large portion of the coverage has been dedicated to pointing out the tarnished legacy of a coach who admitted, “I could have done more” (a humble way to say it). There seems to be a lot of talk about reputation here–too much.
There is no doubt in my mind that Coach Paterno impacted a lot of lives at Penn State for the better and I’m sure there could be hours of testimony from former players to prove just that. Maybe Coach Paterno shouldn’t have been fired on the phone, but WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT THESE PARTICULARS AT THIS POINT?
The bottom line is this: projected restoration of a football program, legacy, reputation–they don’t matter right now. The faceless, the nameless, and the defenseless are who matters–young men whose lives have been forever altered. As I continue reading these headlines I am deeply saddened and reminded of two things:
#1: We live in a fallen world
#2 Only by God’s grace, can there be any kind of true redemption in this story–for the victims–and for those who made mistakes.