We all have heard of the infamous Black Sox scandal. Although that event occurred over ninety years ago, the one name from that event that sticks out in the public’s mind is Shoeless Joe Jackson. His reputation has been forever sullied even as debates to his ultimate involvement in the scandal remain unresolved. Fast forward to today and we have a similar situation here in not so Happy Valley.
The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal is now known almost exclusively as the Joe Paterno sex abuse scandal. Now Joe is involved to some extent but like Shoeless Joe, his ultimate involvement is open to debate. And besides many others failed in this sorry saga along with Joe. The police, the local prosecutor, state child protection workers and so forth. The list is never-ending and blame can be spread across the spectrum. Yet, the focus has primarily been on Joe and his football program; and both are going to take the brunt of the blowback.
The NCAA is prepared to hit the storied football program with crippling sanctions that will all but kill the football program. Outside of this, life will go on. Children will still be abused. Incompetence and illegal behavior will continue in all facets of life. Officials will continue to make blunders and act in corrupt and illegal ways. But, by God, PSU football will have been taught a lesson. What that is, not quite sure.
Joe Paterno was known for many great things and many peculiarities. Besides his iconic glasses, Joe was known for his black sneakers that he wore all the time, a signature trademark. He unfortunately will also be the one name remembered for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal when all others are forgotten. This despite the fact his ultimate responsibility is still open for debate.
Move over Shoeless Joe, you have company. JoePa, can you make sure to bring an extra pair of sneakers.