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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/21/12

A Few Words About Joe Paterno

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Cross-posted from Reader Supported News

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Now that the dust has settled a bit at Penn State, visibility should improve.

Joe Paterno was a rare individual. In his 61 years at Penn State he built what a mountain of money never could have -- a vibrant, vital institution, that was as respected and loved as JoePa himself.

What made all that possible was, in a word, integrity. Plain simple values and hard work. It's a formula that has always worked, though we little realize today that it does.

It's time to blame Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was a super-predator. By no means a garden-variety pedophile, Sandusky was highly motivated, immensely powerful, and uniquely insulated. Sandusky's method, by design, was resilient and very difficult to penetrate.

No one who could or should have interceded was prepared for the range of problems that Sandusky presented. Not Paterno, not the Penn State athletic program, not the school's administrators, not the administrators of the charity Sandusky founded, Second Mile, not the organization's multitude of wealthy, powerful and influential benefactors, not the local district attorney, not even former Pennsylvania attorney general, and now Pennsylvania governor, Tom Corbett, who sat on the case in secrecy for nearly three years, and not the NCAA. No one was prepared for Jerry Sandusky.

A lot of fingers have been pointed at everyone around Sandusky. Some blame and some soul searching are inevitable. But make no mistake about it, Sandusky's game was built to withstand, actually to make a mockery of, oversight. It absolutely did.

It was interesting to hear the sermon delivered by the NCAA. When they have a moment they might want to begin addressing their own process of institutionalized student-athlete exploitation. Whose responsibility is it to stop that?

Child abuse, like violence against women or the elderly, is a manifestation of our brutal society. Justice is a commodity; ethics a luxury. To protect children we must nurture the world in which they live. They are living organisms within that environment.

We are living in a world that has no time for integrity. Joe Paterno dedicated a lifetime to it. Remember him for that.

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News:

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