by Joe Concha
In the end, everything the old man once built vanished one by one from society.
He was once an icon, an exemplary figure, a winner like no other. But his past eventually caught up with him. No, Joe Paterno didn’t sexually assault anyone. But investigations showed he didn’t stop Jerry Sandusky–who will thankfully will be sitting within a 48-square-foot cell for the rest of his life–from molesting all of those young boys for some many years while an assistant coach at Penn State. So Sandusky went to jail while Paterno was fired after coaching there for over six decades. Penn State ended up paying about $60 million to the victims.
Paterno’s transgression–the sin of omission–led to his statue being taken down from in front of Penn State’s football stadium. His wins–111 of 409 of them–vacated by the NCAA…
“It is one of the great sorrows of my life,” Paterno said at the time, now aged well into his 80s. “I wish I had done more.”
Not long after, Paterno was diagnosed with cancer and died a sad man full of regret not too long after. His legacy? Put it this way: Ask ten people you know (who aren’t Penn State alums) what their first thought is when hearing the name Joe Paterno; the majority of answers won’t have anything to do with a football field or Navy uniforms.
Another old man, 77-year-old Bill Cosby, is feeling what Paterno did at the sunset of his career. As you know, Cosby has been accused of sexually assault by sixteen women. The court of public opinion is still split on Cosby’s guilt or innocence, at least according to reader comments in the New York Times’ Wednesday story on a possible Cosby career comeback. Per The Times:
The reader comments were split between those outraged at Mr. Cosby and those who doubted the allegations of the 15 women. The refreshingly coherent and mostly civil commenters largely debated the fairness of the justice system and whether the media is patriarchal.
A few examples:
These women have no reason to lie. The statute of limitations for any claims against him have long expired. No state allows claims to be brought decades later.
In the absence of a verdict, people remember only the accusations, regardless of their merit.
Do I think he used his influence to seduce young women? I don’t know, but I think that’s very likely,” replied Michelle in San Francisco, to Ike. “Casting couch-type behavior is nothing new. I think it’s vile and disgusting, but do I think it’s rape?