sandusky4photo- AP

Joe knew.

Joe Paterno knew in 1976 that his defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky was a child molester.  He could have stopped this monster then, again in 1987, and in 1998.  In 2001, Paterno convinced local CPS officers not to investigate Sandusky further.  It was assumed he would handle the troubles in house.  He ignored them.  Children were abused for 10 more years.

Joe knew.

The Penn State football program was exposed.  Long hailed as the purest form of college football; no logos, names on jerseys, or egos.. just student athletes and the no-nonsense field general guiding them down a noble life path.  Truth-be-told, the only ego that mattered was Paterno’s.  Winning consumed him and the university went along with his every wish because football became the meal ticket.  He valued winning and his reputation above all else.  Penn State stopped producing quality pro prospects shortly after Franco Harris’s graduation;  It didn’t matter, Paterno needed to be the most respected coach in college football.  This all consuming narcissism was neatly disguised as the simple man of few words.  He would do anything to surpass Bear Bryant; even harbor a child rapist for 42 years.

Joe knew.

We are, Penn St.   The rallying cry that united a huge portion of that state.  Paterno was infallible, the unofficial state deity.  When others pointed out his glaring flaws, like scheduling inferior programs, so grossly inflated scores could be posted and broadcast around the country, defenders said Joe was above such poor sportsmanship. Constant bickering and bellyaching about polls and rankings were simply Joe defending his boys against a media obsessed with style over substance.  He mocked other college coaches who he felt did not measure up to these lofty but artificial standards. Those coaches are having the last laugh.  Defense won championships for him.  Penn St.’s defense could always win the day. Joe knew it, so he kept Sandusky.  He cared little for the kids.  Lives were ruined because of the self absorbed, petty little man.

Joe knew.

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There was nothing noble about Penn St. football.  Paterno left behind victims.  Sandusky’s crimes are beyond comprehension and they happened entirely under Paterno’s watch.  His claims of ignorance during his sad final days ring hollow to the young men who must bear this burden.  The hundreds of notable players, alumni, and admirers who defended Paterno to the last were victims too.  They were duped, left to the wrong side of history.  They can only hope their full throated protests against the truth will be forgiven when the final story is written.

Joe knew.

Pennsylvania State University has forgotten this already. The country must never forget.

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