What is Joe Paterno’s Legacy? It is THE PENN STATE WAY!

Excerpted from the SBNation, bscaff

The legacy isn’t the statue in front of Beaver Stadium. The mob can have that. Take it down. Joe never liked it to begin with.

It is not that 23,000-seat Beaver Field begat 107,000-seat Beaver Stadium. It’s not 409 wins, National Championships, undefeated seasons, Academic All-Americans, Peachy Paterno ice cream, black shoes, cuffed pants, or white socks. It’s not the referee doll Grandma Sue hung in effigy on the front porch.

It’s not even the Library, or the College of Liberal Arts, or the Paterno Fellows, or the Religious Center, or the Centre County Special Olympics, or the Greek Scholars.

And it’s not just the football lettermen, so many of whom graduated and enjoy successful, productive lives.

It’s the Penn State Way. It’s an ethos. It’s why Penn Staters are so conflicted and upset.

The Penn State Way commissions a multi-million dollar independent investigation which, in eight months, revealed more than did three years of state criminal investigations. Then, the Penn State Way publishes the painful results for the world to mock, while we admit our mistakes, and resolve to move forward and improve.

Do you know why Penn State alums have been so angry with you, Board of Trustees? It’s because you acted precisely opposite of the Penn State Way, when you fired Joe without facts; then claimed he wasn’t fired; then requested his 1980 PSU rotary telephone using a form letter; and then fired him again in another press release.

But, at least you spent $6.5 million wisely. At least you redeemed yourselves.

That’s right, lazy, angry sportswriting jerks. The reason you can tear down the Paterno temple; the reason you can claim Joe lied is because Penn State investigated itself more critically than the Commonwealth government. Then, it told all to everyone. How does that compare to SMU you nooby stooges?

WE don’t cut corners. WE play all or none. WE do the right thing. WE maintain higher standards. WE give our best effort always. WE help the less fortunate. And, WE stand up, are counted, and WE FIGHT! when WE see a wrong. That’s why…


Yes, Joe Paterno failed the Penn State Way in the Sandusky scandal. He wasn’t alone, nor was he the most culpable. But, over the preceeding 60 years, he also taught and lived the Penn State Way. He is, in large part, precisely why Penn Staters feel that there is a “Penn State Way” at all.

That is a great legacy. It’s a far sight better than the sportswriters’ Paterno temple. And no amount of scorn, contempt, or shouting can change it.

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