In his nearly 46 years of coaching, Joe Paterno taught more lessons to football players than just about any coach in sports history, period. Roughly 4,000 kids have come through that program in his near half century on the job. Impressive.
But it’s the lessons he taught the rest of us since the Sandusky story broke that need to be first in his biography.
Never ever turn your back or a blind eye to a ki in need EVER. There needs to be a Joe Paterno rule written in to the unwritten rules of being human.
Fighting cancer is a bitch. Your best shot is to get the best possible doctors and have a kick butt attitude. Getting fired and blamed for destroying his program is probably the reason he’s not with us today.
His firing will always be about the university needing to avoid a distraction, not because he was guilty. let’s get that straight.
He satisfied his legal responsibility to inform his superiors. Could Joe have done more? Sure. So could a lot of people.
Joe wasn’t a sexual abuse counselor or in charge of the campus police. He was a football coach and an employee of Penn State, just like the dozens if not hundreds of other employees who knew about Sandusky’s evil but didn’t make it their personal cause to see justice done. And that leads to the lesson which is most relevant but least reported in this entire story.
The “Group think” dynamic is a powerful and dangerous component of human psychology. In a more rudimentary context, it’s referred to as a pack mentality. A fascinating betrayal the human brain pulls on itself and prompts groups of people to agree to execute something that not one of them would dare do alone.
College campuses and universities are havens of group think. It’s built into their culture and reinforced by crooked athletic department officials who are trying to bend the rules to gain an edge, and they enlist everybody but the compliance director to assist them.
Next lesson. A lifetime of work can be significantly altered by one bad decision or lack thereof.
Next lesson. It’s not what you do while everybody is watching, it’s what you do when nobody is watching.
Also, secrets can be very bad. Teaching kids to keep secrets trains their mind to flip that switch on and off, and that can really work against your family at some point. That’s all.
If you see me beer me.