With all that has gone on regarding the Penn State scandal, I must admit I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t pulled out the “poor old man” card for Joe Paterno. The American public has a tendency to view senior citizens as children at times. Despite the fact that the Jerry Sandusky scandal has allegedly been ongoing for years, it came to light at a time when Paterno is an 84-year-old man. Paterno’s age is undoubtedly a factor in earning him sympathy from certain people, and with the way Mike Krzyzewski spoke about the situation you might think he is one of them.
“Well, I think, unless you’re there, it’s tough to comment about everything,’’ Krzyzewski said according to the New York Times. “I just feel badly for him and whatever he is responsible for, it’ll come out and hopefully it’ll come out from him.
“I think one thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno’s 84 years old. I’m not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he’s been involved in both football-wise and socially, have been immense changes and how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different.
“But as we judge, remember that there’s just a lot there. There’s a lot, lot there. I think he’s a great man and it’s a horrific situation.”
Coach K may insist he’s not using Paterno’s age as an excuse, but he brought it up for a reason. We aren’t talking about smoking cigarettes. This is child molestation. How has culture changed in the last 30 years regarding how issues of child molestation are handled? If at any point age limited Paterno from doing his job properly — not just coaching football — then it was his responsibility to retire. The fact that he is 84 is completely irrelevant. At this point it’s tough to see JoePa as a “great man” considering he allowed a “horrific situation” to develop under his watch.
H/T to Deadspin for passing the story along.