Certainly we all agree it was a tragedy that the events of the last several months stained Joe Paterno’s legacy and deprived him of the graceful exit from the world’s stage he so richly deserved. Even before his death, I was angry and bitter about the treatment he received from the media and the Board of Trustees. However, reading Joe Posnanski’s column, hearing Sally Jenkins comments, and watching the interview with Jay and Mary Kay, I have come to realize that there was something very fitting in the way JoePa left us.
Had the scandal not happened the tributes to his memory, to the “Grand Experiment,” and to “Success with Honor” would have been wonderful and satisfying, but they would not have added appreciably to what he taught us. However, when Posnanski, Jenkins, and his family all reinforce that Joe himself was not bitter, and that his final thoughts were for his family, his players and his university, he teaches those who are paying attention that anger, hatred and vindictiveness are not healthy emotions, and that concern for others is the always the better course. Another lesson from a courageous man who was a great teacher right up until his last breath.