Joe Paterno was one of the best coaches in the history of the NCAA football league, leading Penn State for so many years including winning 409 total football games and 24 bowl game wins since he started coaching in 1966.
However, no matter what Joe-pa did or accomplished in his career nothing with keep people from forgetting about the tragic scandal that he was involved in during a period of his coaching days. Long story short, Paterno sat back and kept his mouth closed while outrageous and disgusting things went on with one of his coaches. The legacy that Paterno will forever hold will be the fact that he condoned and did nothing knowing that sexual assault and pedophilia was happening within his team.
It is truly a shame that a mans storied and historic career that last almost half a decade could be tarnished by one wrong decision that he made. It was definitely the wrong decision and i don’t think that anyone can really defend what he did. He essentially deserves what he gets.
One of the major factors that i think played out with what Paterno did in this situation is that he would rather put his team and schools name and legacy before doing the right thing and reporting what was going on. The main reason that no one came forward when all of this was going on was to protect the football program. People probably could have gotten away with murder if they were in the same spot, in the end these people involved only cared about keeping the name of their program safe even if it meant that lives would be crushed in the meantime.
I think that it is safe to say that there will no longer be the legacy of Paterno’s coaching career when his name comes up in the future. The only thing that will be associated with his name is the scandal that happened and the faliure to do the right thing on Paterno’s part. This is simply what happens when public figures do things like this. I believe that over time, his coaching career accomplishments will fade into almost nothing and his name will be directly related to the scandal.
Another example of someone whose sports career is completely forgotten would be O.J. Simpson. Paterno’s wrongdoings may not equal that of what Simpson did but it is easy to see that no one these days even thinks of just how great of a football player Simpson was back in the day. Maybe back in the 90s when this first happened people could still associate Simpson with football but as time goes on new generations form and these things are forgotten and only the bad things live on. In the end, i believe that this will be the same case with Joe Paterno, sad but that is what happens when you do the wrong thing.