Joe Paterno


I watched ESPN’s SportsCenter the other night while I was on the treadmill at the health club.  (The mere fact that I am watching sports programming should be taken as a sign that 2012 is definitely going to be the end of the world.)



I can’t endure listening to sportscasters, for the most part; they do nothing but spout empty clichés.  Before the game, they pretend to know what’s going to happen; after the game, they take all the credit if they were right, and make excuses for the losers if they were wrong.



But then you have the special features.



Joe Paterno died this past weekend, and one of his former players came on to reminisce about him.  This went relatively well until we got to the end.  This is a paraphrase: “Of course he was very frail, and naturally he was also very ill.  But I think it’s fair to say that he died, at least partly, of a broken heart.  And I hold the Board of Trustees, and the media, responsible for that.”



A little later he said: “Joe was very generous.  He always thought of others first: his team, his family, his friends.”



To her credit, the newscaster interviewing him did not react (actually, she was extraordinarily neutral, which I think spoke for itself).  She thanked him, and gave him her condolences.



I am nowhere near as calm or as classy as that.



I would have added something like: “Of course, Joe didn’t think too much about the children who might have been abused by Jerry Sandusky. Maybe they were being abused and maybe they weren’t.  So who cares, right?”



Or: “Man, I know what you mean.  You’re a saint, and you lead a perfect life, and then you just protect one child abuser from prosecution, and all of a sudden you’re a bad guy.” 






Tact will never be my long suit.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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