‘Joepa’ as he was affectionately called by Penn State students and alumni, should be posthumously reinstated to his position. He was accused of not doing anything when allegedly informed of Sandusky’s misconduct, then publicly and unceremoniously fired.
It is my opinion that Paterno did not “do anything” because of his inability to rap his mind around Sandusky’s actions. He didn’t get it, and could not even fathom those actions. He, like many others, was in denial. It is fair to consider that , the era in which Paterno grew to adulthood, married men were just not the ones who would do something like that. Naive, perhaps. But how many other people who grew up in that era were just as naive?
Sandusky, the ‘charming predator’ probaably, and more likely than not, convinced Paterno that he did not do anything and probaably just waved it away, just as easily as he pled “not guilty”. Remember, Sandusky wanted to take the stand in his own defense, that is, until it was learned of the allegations set forth by his adopted son.
During Sandusky’s trial, there was no evidence or testimony that remotely implicated Joe Paterno. He did not engage in a cover-up. He believed Sandusky’s denials. The same denials Sandusky presented at trial. The same denials he may have provided to his wife, who testified in his behalf, only to hear a shocking truth at the end of the trial from their adopted son. Clearly, if Sandusky’s wife and others were so certain of his, (Sandusky’s), innocence, then there is the real possibility that Paterno had no clue as to the extent of the criminal acts of Sandusky.
Now that the real culprit has been convicted, it is clear that Paterno was not complicit in the commission of those crimes. His reputation should be restored, he should be posthumously reinstated with full benefits going to his wife.
And, he should be celebrated for what he ‘did’ do. He does not deserve to go down in history like this. Let’s not give Sandusky a victim of another sort in Paterno: a man who trusted Sandusky, thought he knew him, and believed whatever it may have been that Sandusky told him. Give Paterno the credit he deserved to receive at the time of his firing, even though he is not here to see it. For the sake of his family, restore his good name.