Joe Paterno Dies At 85

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Joe Paterno passed away Sunday from lung cancer, just two months after being fired by Penn St. And no sooner did the news break, so did the near impossible task of making sense of his legacy. Should he be remembered as the sport’s all time winningest coach, a great man and philanthropist? Or as the man who presided over the worst college football scandal ever, and who despite having the opportunity, didn’t do more to prevent it? Of course, the answer is both. Both pro and con are fighting for Paterno to be remembered a certain way, but you can’t have one without the other. Paterno was an icon. He won 409 games, coached generations of players and put not just that football program but that University on the map. He was a great man. But a great man, with obvious flaws. Make no mistake, while Jerry Sandusky is the monster here, Paterno could have and should have done more to stop him. Period. He said as much himself. And by not doing so, who knows how many more lives Sandusky went on to ruin. So to the question is, whether the last two months taint the 61 years that came before them; the answer is yes.

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