Last updated: March 16. 2013 7:39PM - 171 Views

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It is understandable that the Paterno family would desire to rehabilitate the reputation of its patriarch, Joe Paterno.

In so many ways, he was a great man.

He was a great football coach for Penn State.

He was a wonderful father figure both to his family and his athletes -- working to ensure his players excelled in class as well as on the field.

He was a generous benefactor to the community -- making sizable donations to the school and other charities.

He was not a greedy man -- his coaching salary was far less than other college coaches of similar stature.

He created a Penn State brand that was unusual for its simple wholesomeness.

But, as we all do, he had some flaws -- egotism, stubbornness, etc. He made some mistakes.

And there is no doubt that his handling of the child abuse suspicions about former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was among his most unfortunate errors in judgment.

He said so himself -- noting in an interview prior to his death that he wished he had done more when assistant coach Mike McQueary told him he'd witnessed Sandusky doing something of a sexual nature with a boy in a team shower.

He apparently didn't seek to understand exactly what Mr. McQueary had seen. He later said he didn't understand the concept of rape and a man, which just seems absurd.

If he didn't fully understand the nature of what Mr. McQueary was trying to tell him, it's because he didn't ask the right questions. He didn't seek details -- the kinds of details he would demand in any routine investigation of team members accused of, say, fighting or drinking -- that would give him a full understanding of what was at stake and what he, as a national paragon of integrity, must do.

Passing vague allegations along to university administrators and then washing his hands of it -- or, according to emails cited in the report on the case by Louis Freeh, possibly weighing in on the handling of the case -- was not good enough.

Not for Joe Paterno.

So, the Paterno family can quibble for 200-plus pages in a self-serving report trashing the Freeh conclusions.

But none of that alters the simple, fundamental failure by Coach Paterno.

York Daily Record

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