Joe Paterno as many of us know was long time Penn State football game who was recently fired because on the Sandusky sex scandal. Now Paterno is in the headlines for dying 2 months later. Paterno had been battling lung cancer since mid November and suffered a broken pelvis in December and was hospitalized for the last time on January 13th. Even through all of Joe Pa’s health issues people argue that in reality he died of a broken heart.
Penn State looked to Joe Pa as more of a father figure for the university and community more then they considered him a football coach. Paterno began coaching at Penn State as an assistant coach in 1950 and became head coach in 1965. After 46 years of being a great coach the Sandusky sex scandal surfaced, Jerry Sandusky long-time defensive coordinator of Penn State was accused of sexual-assault of children. Paterno was cleared of wrong-doing in the case but still endured much scrutiny for failing to stop the abuse. Paterno announced that he would retire at the end of the season but was fired on Nov. 9th.
Students and fans were outraged at all the negative in the news surrounding the Paterno case. A man that made such an impact on not only his players but the entire community left his life-long career under a negative public eye. Paterno himself was grieved at the way the case played out.
Now 2 months later the legend himself dies, ESPN said he died of heartbreak much like Alabama’s Bear Bryant died 1 month after retiring. JoePa dedicated his life to making a difference in the Penn State community and that he did, but to the public he died in a negative light. Not knowing JoePa and not being a member of his community it is hard to put the accusations we have heard in the media behind us and keep light of the amazing accomplishments he had.
Sadly this is what media can do to people, it can break their dignity, break their hearts, and though it might be a bit dramatic, assist in their deaths; and this is the profession I want to go into?!? I can only hope that more positive stories about JoePa and his legacy he left will surface so that we think of him and remember him the way he should be, as an amazing man and an even more amazing leader.