Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sad Legacy

As news comes out about the Penn State football scandal, it just gets sadder.  The perpetrator has been convicted and is behind bars, but that is no consolation to the people whose lives may have been ruined.

I am especially saddened about head coach Joe Paterno.  He led a football dynasty at Penn State, serving on the coaching staff for 61 years.  He was revered, almost worshipped, by the Penn State faithful.

But his legacy fell apart in 2011.  It turns out that he helped keep the secret that destroyed lives.  The NCAA penalized the University severely for the scandal by, among other penalties, vacating all the team's victories from 1998 to 2011 under Coach Paterno.

The coach apparently served the school's football culture at all costs, hiding anything that might interfere.  I don't believe that Paterno condoned Sandusky's crimes, but he helped to cover them up.

So, Paterno will not be remembered as college football's most winning coach.  He won't be remembered for his football dynasty.  He will be remembered for keeping heinous secrets, for maintaining a football program at the cost of dozens of harmed children.

We build a legacy one day at a time.  But the best legacy is built with integrity.