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Did Sandusky Ruin Joe Paterno's Legacy?

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By Daniel Distant, Christian Post Reporter
January 23, 2012|12:52 pm

Jerry Sandusky, the former defensive coordinator for Penn State college football, responded to the death of his former colleague Joe Paterno.

"This is a sad day!" said Sandusky in a statement. "Our family, Dottie and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Sue and her family," he added.

In the wake of the 85-year-old's death, Sandusky's child sex abuse case cannot be ignored as the one thing threatening to mar Paterno's otherwise outstanding legacy.

Sandusky was accused by 10 young boys of over 40 counts of sexual misconduct over a 15-year period on November 11, 2011. Almost immediately, Paterno and many other Penn state staff members were engulfed by the scandal, mainly for failing to report a 2002 incident involving a young boy to the police.

Disciplinary actions were brought against Graham Spanier, the university president; Tim Curley, the athletic director; Gary Schultz, the senior vice president of finance; and Joe Paterno, the legendary winningest coach in NCAA football history. Paterno planned to retire at the end of the season because of the charges.

He was fired before he got the chance.

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Now, although Sandusky says "nobody will be able to take away the memories we all shared of a great man," the public- especially those who knew and loved Paterno- are left to wonder whether those memories will be permanently tarnished by the heinous allegations.

Some are speaking out to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Whenever you recruited or played against Joe you knew how he operated and that he always stood for the right things," said University of Nebraska athletic director and former football coach Tom Osborne.

"Anybody who knew Joe feels badly about the circumstances. I suspect the emotional turmoil of the last few weeks might have played into it. We offer our condolences to his family and wish them the very best," he added.

"As both man and coach, Joe Paterno confronted adversities, both past and present, with grace and forbearance. His place in our state's history is secure," stated Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett.

Many of the fans have express similar sentiments, as remembrances, moments of silence, and tributes are held nationwide for the iconic coach.

"His legacy is without question as far as I'm concerned," Ed Hill of Altoona, Pa. told The Los Angeles Times. "I think Joe was a scapegoat nationally … I'm heartbroken."

Joseph Vicent Paterno (December 21, 1926 – January 22, 2012) was statistically one of the best coaches in college football history with 409 wins and five undefeated teams. After 46 years shaping college football, he succumbed to lung cancer.

 

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