Joe Paterno was no martyr

If there is a tragedy to Joe Paterno, it is that he should have retired a decade ago. At the very least, it would have given him 10 years of distance from the horror of Sandusky that got him fired. The legacy he wanted to leave, and others wanted to leave for him, would have remained largely intact.

His need to retire then had nothing to do with damage control in the Sandusky case or his won-lost record. It had to do with his being woefully out of touch with the real world, based on what he said to The Washington Post. Because of his advanced age even then, 75, McQueary, out of what he called respect, never conveyed to Paterno the graphic details of what he saw…

Whether we like it or not, the failure of Paterno to do more than the bare minimum is a more important part of his legacy than the cute coke-bottle glasses he wore, the way he led his team onto the field in a ratty sweater, and any football game won. Football is a game. It does not affect life. The abuse of a child is an act that affects the victim for life and can lead to self-hatred and suicide. I, for one, know of no football player who committed suicide because he threw a last-minute interception or missed a game-saving tackle.