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‘Say it ain’t so, Joe:’ Freeh Report Seals Joe Paterno’s Legacy

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

We’ve had over 24 hours to digest the Freeh report, and if you were on the  fence about joe paterno and his legacy, it’s now pretty hard to view the Sandusky case as little more than a footnote in an otherwise brilliant and inspiring career.

Folks, this is Joe Paterno’s legacy!  Sure, there’s still the national championships, high player graduation rate, dedication to his ‘grand experiment’ and 60+ years of service to penn state, but every horrific detail that has been unearthed since november 2011 will be Joe Paterno’s legacy.

I was one of those people who desperately wanted to believe Jerry Sandusky’s abuse of children never came to Paterno’s attention until Mike McQueary visited his home on that fateful day in 2001.  The evidence uncovered in the Freeh report, sadly, says otherwise.

Joe Paterno was Penn State football.  If a player sneezed in Altoona, Paterno was aware of it.  This was an athletic department interested in treating a pedophile, “humanely,” and protecting an image.  The lack of empathy shown towards the victims is one of the most inhumane things I’ve ever read.

I believe and will continue to believe that Joe Paterno was a decent man who made a horribly fatal flaw in the interest of protecting the image of the university and program he helped build.  That, friends, is unforgivable.

The only way the Pennsylvania State University can salvage what’s left of its tattered reputation is to absolve itself completely of the man whose name and likeness is most associated with the university.

Unlike others in the media, I am not of the belief that the Freeh report will be the death knell for the Penn State football program.  Rivals.com rated first year head coach Bill O’Brien’s recruiting class as the 15th best in the nation.  I highly doubt the findings of the Freeh report will dissuade any of the current crop of committs.

I’ve heard others say the NCAA will penalize the university, citing a ‘lack of institutional control.’  The NCAA has no precedent for anything as horrific as what Jerry Sandusky did on that campus.

What Penn State has going for it is the benefit of time.  As unflattering as the Freeh report was, come September, 100,000 football fanatics will pack Beaver Stadium yelling, “We are….Penn State”  as loud as ever.

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