Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno Leaves a Complicated Legacy -

Joe Paterno was, by far the most famous graduate of my high school - Brooklyn Prep. A Jesuit high school in Crown Heights its motto was mens sana in corpore sano. Paterno took it to heart. We all took four years of Latin and most of us studied Greek. He loved Virgil - which I found insufferable. (I loved the Odyssey and Cicero.) Unique among football coaches he took academics seriously. Penn State had a high graduation rate and Paterno was an apostle of academic as well as athletic excellence. 
 But when an assistant coach reported that he saw a popular former coach sexually assaulting a boy in the football locker room Joe's moral vision failed him.  He did the minimum - reported it to university officials, not the police. And when nothing came of that Joe let it slide.  Now everyone knows and now Joe Pa is dead. The statue ofPaterno was removed from the front of the stadium;  the legend is sullied. It is a shame. - GWC Paterno Leaves a Complicated Legacy - "Joe Paterno loved the classics. He quoted Shakespeare to his team, devoured the epics of Virgil and donated his money to help save Penn State’s classics department, even endowing a scholarship in the name of his high school Latin teacher, the Rev. Thomas Bermingham. With Paterno’s death at 85 from lung cancer on Sunday morning, the final thread of his narrative is one fit for the literary tragedies he adored."

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