Jewish World Review Jan 25, 2012/ 1 Shevat, 5772
The curtain falls on the tragedy of Joe Paterno
By Paul Greenberg
Sunday morning the word began to filter out. First it was a rumor, then the emails began arriving. Had the media jumped the gun again? But then the family released a statement. It was over.
Somebody once said the death of the old isn't a tragedy. Whoever said it must not have watched
The saddest thing about the tributes to
Nobody seemed able to pay his last respects without bringing up The Scandal. And, even sadder, they had to. It could not be ignored. It's an old, old lesson: "Count no man happy till the hour of his death, when he is free of pain at last." --"Oedipus Rex"
Years of dedication, labor, honor and glory ... all overshadowed at the end by one shameful twist of the story.
It could happen even to
Maybe it was because of that integrity and his reputation for it that he could recruit even against those sports programs that flashed money and new cars at immature young athletes. If you were the parent of a teen you wanted to see molded into a man, wouldn't you rather send him to
Then came the scandal. If you're one of the few who don't know the tawdry details, maybe you'd just as well skip them now. They're not very elevating. Children. Sexual abuse. A system that ignored it. For years. Resignations all around. Worst of all, honor lost. No, not very elevating. No way to end a long and honorable life.
No, nobody accused Coach Paterno of molesting children. Only that he should have known about it, made it his business to know about it, and to take action. At least call the police.
Instead, this great coach and moral mentor, who used to give talks about the importance of ethics in sports and beyond, just passed on what he'd heard up the chain of command. And nothing more.
"We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us." --Book of Common Prayer.
Sad, even tragic.
The root of the tragedy was where it always is -- in Sophocles, in Shakespeare, in life and now in death. There is a name for it: hubris.
In so many senses of the word.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
if (strpos(, "printer_friendly") === 0)
=<< © 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.