So, with the blessing of the Paterno clan, Penn State’s gonna do some honoring this weekend.
Penn State detailed plans Thursday to mark the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first win as hundreds of the late coach’s former players made their way back to State College for a private reunion, marking a milestone that has emerged as a sensitive issue for the university and people critical of Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour said Thursday that commemorations during Penn State’s game Saturday against Temple would focus on Paterno’s commitment to student-athletes and academic, plus highlights of the 1966 game.
“Coach Paterno wanted academic success not only for his players but also for every student who came through Penn State. Together with his wife, Sue, they helped countless students become leaders and earn a Penn State diploma,” Barbour said in a statement. “Our plans are consistent with the wishes of the Paterno family as well, with a focus on the players and their accomplishments at Penn State and beyond.”
If this strikes you are somewhat tone deaf, you’re not alone. What in the world are these people thinking with a public show of support? Hey, it’s college football, so you only get one guess.
So here comes Penn State on Saturday against Temple with a commemoration that may satisfy nobody and anger everybody. Note to Penn State: When your administrators won’t conduct interviews about the commemoration in advance, as Penn State refuses to do, it’s a good sign you don’t need to honor Paterno right now.
Paterno has not been officially recognized in Beaver Stadium since his last game on Oct. 29, 2011. The Paterno statue came down from outside the stadium. And now is the right time to honor him?
Why now? Fundraising is probably a big reason since the school is going through another capital campaign. There are plans to renovate Beaver Stadium. As I wrote in May, some major Paterno supporters won’t write checks until they see him honored.
It’s times like this that make me grateful Charles Manson wasn’t a successful head football coach somewhere.