Character matters. Character combines integrity and ethics and creates resolve within a person. It is more than simply doing the “right thing”; it’s doing it for the right reasons and includes both acts of commission as well as omission (what you could have done, but didn’t).
A lot of Penn-Staters are bawling and whining over the pulling down of the Joe Paterno statue, along with the striking of 11-12 years of wins in the PennState football ledgers. They complain that it’s “not fair”, is only a symbolic gesture and that it demeans Paterno’s integrity, character and his love for the university…
…but that’s exactly the problem: Joe had no character; he had no ethics. All Joe Paterno had was drive, focus and determination…for the game of football. He won games and instilled confidence in young men…to win games.
But when it came to having the guts and character to place the entire football program on its head because of the horrific raping of young boys by one of his best friends and football associates; Joe showed that the depth of his “character” was about the depth of water in a teaspoon.
And that’s what the NCAA decision says: it says that it’s not enough to merely be the winningest coach around – that it’s not enough to recruit talent and fill stadiums and drive your team to victory after victory. For unless you do all that, and do it with unimpeachable character…it’s hollow, vain and for naught.
Character matters. And the Paterno family should learn a collective lesson from all this: that their dad was a bum: a football legend…but a bum at heart. I hear the wails that one “little” mistake shouldn’t ruin a man’s entire legacy. What the wailers don’t get is that the Penn State football homosexual sex scandal WAS Joe’s legacy…and it was no “little” mistake. And, now, rather than drafting off their father’s reputation…they’re left sneering and complaining about his treatment as a direct result of Paterno’s own actions or, more precisely “lack of action”.
All that needed for evil to flourish is for “good men” to sit and do nothing. And nothing is what JoePa did. Oh, he #WishedHeCouldaDoneMore…(or maybe it was “woulda’“) goes the now trademarked excuse. Well if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. And the Paterno family’s ride is over.
Because character matters.