I’m back to anger.
Visceral, sharp, kick the dog, anger. I went through various stages of grief since November…anger, denial, embarrassment, sadness, embarrassment, denial, alcoholism, sadness, withdrawal, and now I’m back to anger.
Joe is dead. Jerry is in jail. And we still don’t know shit about what really happened…but there are thousands of weak-brained suck heads who are shitting all over us.
And we’re taking it like a cheap Tijuana whore over a barrel in a back alley.
There are no heroes in this culture. In this place, where someone called Snooky, some drunk-ass from reality TV, can charge $30,000 for a speaking fee…there was no room for Joe.
We have created a culture where it's okay to lie, cheat, and fuck for entertainment. Where sad little people look into their own hearts and see only their own selfish needs, wants and desires. Innuendo and speculation are now called 'news'. And it's acceptable to simply retool facts to fit your argument.
In this place and time, there is nothing to connect average people to Joe…so they hate him.
And they’ve hated him for years. You've all seen it. The taunts…the ranting moron yelling, “shit yer pants” Paterno. They all said he’s too old…can’t even walk to the field. The game is past him. He'll never win again. I heard it all and I defended Joe.
Not loudly. Not enough.
Now the herd smells blood. And the haters are back in force. They say he covered up child rape. They say he protected Sandusky to keep winning. They say he’s a cowardly human being. They took his name off trophies, children centers, and student encampments. They want to take down his statue…
Because, they say, he must have known. He must have covered for Jerry. He must have done these horrible things. He was weak…he must have been. He's only human. Look at Snooky...she would've called the police.
And we let them. We let them say these things because we're embarrassed. We are ashamed. Child rape is a horrible thing. And it happened. And people in charge of our university failed in their duties to protect those kids. It is horrible. It is awful.
But there isn't anyone yelling about Spanier's legacy. There isn't anyone calling out Curley on Penn Live or ESPN...because they are non-entities compared to Joe. He's the target...good ol' Saint Joe is finally getting his.
Worse, our own are saying those same words. Alumni are agreeing with them. We must rid ourselves of this terrible sin, they say. Joe must go. They say, if you defend Joe, you are deluded…you are an enabler…you are a blinded here worshiper…you are a zealot.
And maybe some are.
But I say that Joe Paterno was not weak. He was not greedy. look at the way he lived...simply. Look at the good he did for all those years. Look at all the people who love him. He was moral. He was humble. He was honorable.
This life, these traits are not those of a man who would allow a child rapist to go free. But we don't know what happened. Did he? Didn't he? From the information out there so far, we don't know. And that is too much for most people. It's hard to fight the tide in the face of this much hurt, this much tragedy, this much hatred.
But I can't reconcile the Joe I thought I knew, with the portrait being painted today. There must be more to this story. There simply must be.
There I said it. They’ll come for me next. With the jeers, the name calling, and the taunts. Luckily, I have no statues, no named trophies, nothing that they can take.
You see, I'm a scientist. And while I'm emotional about this stuff, I don't let it interfere with the facts. And there aren't enough facts for me to lynch Joe yet. And I am patient. I don’t need my information in sound bites. I can wait for the entire story to unfold, without interpretation or inference or speculation.
And there is a reason that I will wait. You see, I am a man who grew to manhood understanding that there are rules…Practice and preparation matter. You don’t cheat. You don’t hit a man when he’s down. You hand the ball to the ref after you score. We are part of a team. And I learned it, in part from a man named Joe Paterno.
But mine is an unpopular opinion. I stand alone among zealots and conspiracy theorists. I am on the wrong end of the argument amongst peers and friends. Yet here I am…because of what I know about Joe.
I’m not family. I wasn’t his player. I was just a kid who grew up loving fair play and full back dives. I loved the idea that smart guys could be great football players. I loved the consistency that was Joe.
But that has changed so quickly. Today, it’s not okay to be that guy. It’s not okay to love Penn State. And so many of my old friends are whining out their mea culpa’s. But I can’t…I won’t.
So, you can go ahead and tune out. Or cogitate on what might have happened, should have happened…what is implied, and what is meant by each word. Go spin your wheels and wax poetic about rights and wrongs and what should have been done.
I am not going to do that anymore. Now, I am going to wait. And I am going to defend Joe with my last breath until the final facts are known…because Joe should get the benefit of the doubt.
Let us get to the truth, before we put the final nail in his coffin. Joe deserves that much.