Joe Paterno: Legend to Lost

Watching SportsCenter and watching the national news for the last few days or a week has been a little bit frustrating and saddening.Watching someone like Joe Paterno (or JoePa) lose his reputation and legacy in a matter of a few days has been tough to watch.

I tend to agree that Penn State University did what they needed to do by sending him on his way.

But, you never like to see someone ruin their legacy on one (or a few) bad decision.

I don’t know all of the details, but it was really one situation that has tarnished JoePa forever.

It goes to show…

No matter who you are, what you do, what you’ve done, how much you’ve succeeded, how indestructible you think you are, or how much you’ve accomplished…

You’re never exempt or incapable of throwing it all away.

Be on guard. Stand guard. Tighten it up.

Don’t let what you decide today ruin the progress you made yesterday.


  1. This is a tough one – for sure. I graduated with my MBA from a Penn State satellite campus, but JoePa has always been respected and revered.

    I had a conversation with my son about the situation yesterday. We spoke about the importance of standing up for what is right and about speaking up even when it could damage friendships, reputations, and careers.

    It’s sad to me that Paterno’s legacy will forever be tarnished by his inaction related to the sins of a friend. And I believe he regrets his inaction – not just because he was caught, but because he could have potentially stopped so many from being hurt.

  2. I wonder if he would have acted differently if it was his grandkids that this happened to? Complying with the law and acting to protect children are two different things. He complied but didn’t protect. I’m afraid there is much more coming from this that will really make us sick.

  3. Kristin

    I’m really surprised by this blog post. I really love your blog and this seems to defend him. We all make mistakes and we are all human. The others involved are having charges brought up for failure to report crimes to police. So did he do all that was required of him and comply with the law? No one will probably really ever know.

    When children are involved, friend or no friend, family member or stranger….you ACT first and ask for forgiveness later if you are wrong. Children are innocent and defenseless. In situations where abusers and sexual predators are involved, they cannot help themselves and it is up to US to help them. That poor child had a witness, someone to save him, and they ALL turned their heads and walked away. How horrific. He was victimized repeatedly by not only his attacker, but those who did nothing to save him.

    Think about Paterno’s wonderful iconic reputation if he had saved this child, this ONE child from a life of abuse. How iconic and amazing would that be? He would be a hero to that boy. Think about the foster children that man had in his home he was more than likely abusing, and the children in his charitible foundation he had access to and could have been abusing. What a hero Paterno would have been and how iconic if he had stopped that. What a difference one action makes, or in this case, INaction, makes.

    1. Hey Kristin. I’m on the same page with you. I agree 100%. It was completely ridiculous for JoePa to think that by doing his ‘legal’ duty, he was doing his civil duty. He was completely in the wrong. I agree with you too that these children will live the rest of their lives with this, but all he got was a dismissal… all that anyone will get is jail time. It’s completely wrong.

      What I’m saying is that we can learn from this. We have to be careful and always be on guard for our reputation. The Enemy is tricky and can throw us off if we’re not. I’m in no way defending anyone in this.

      Thanks for your comment and for bringing it up!

  4. Cyril Jones

    We discussed this in my lifegroup this morning and agree it is saddening. I am not saddened by the loss of his reputation or legend status, but the fact that young boys lives were changed by the selfish acts of predators. It is so hard to believe that these young men had so many rescuers sitting on the side line refusing to get engaged and be their rescuer or stand for what is right. Kristin I am with you, What if he save one from this horrific situation?

    Take this as a reminder that we are responsible for those actions we take and those we DO NOT take. See James 4:17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

    Great post Jonathan

  5. I have been seeing him all over the news. It is sad that such a coach has made some very bad choices.

    It shows the importance of your personal life and the dangers of not having a strong character.

  6. I work with sexual offenders & men, who have been hustlers/pimps, as well as those who claim that they are sexually addicted. None of these men, match the profile of pedophile or pimp or… they really do not! That is what shocks people. This whole scenario with Joe Pa and UPenn, does not surprise me or phase me. Do I think that Joe should have done more. Definitely! I would also like to point out that as the investigation continues, there were other school employees, who were aware of abusive acts, and did nothing. They are reported as fearing for their jobs and reputations. There appears to be plenty of blame to go around. The University Police; the District Attorney, etc. All these people will stand before a greater judge; whether they ever receive the justice we think they deserve. Maybe, just maybe, Christ might say to some of the accused: go and sin no more. That, to a victim, might inflame intense anger. How much punishment will satisfy our own wrath? Maybe, if we looked at our own sinful heart, and saw what we really are capable of doing, we might pray more and shout less!

  7. Our lives and choices can become examples or lessons for other people. If we do the right thing, we become examples. If we fail, even in one specific act, that can become a lesson, something that other people shouldn’t do.
    Considering all, I feel sad for the children, mainly the ones that were victimized after that event in 2002. They could have been spared if someone had taken any action.
    As for Joe, the story isn’t finished yet. We still have to see how he will behave about the subject. There’s another lesson he can teach: how to show he’s sorry, truly sorry. That’s the least he can do now.


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