The death of Joe Paterno today, essentially, gives the former head coach of Penn State football a Get Out Jail Free Card. Over at CNN you can read about the "outpouring of emotions" as Penn State students rally around the statue of Paterno.
Yes, I'm not from Penn State, so I can't see all the good Paterno did for the college, but I can also see reality far better than these students. His accomplishments as the coach, no matter what, will now always be overshadowed by the Sandusky sex scandal that happened under his long watch at the college. Is that fair? Perhaps not, but he had to know something about some of the allegations against former coach Jerry Sandusky. I mean, seriously, could he be that egotistical (and, hell, they have a statue of you, so maybe he could) that he simply ignored some of the assertions? Maybe, as it appears he chose to ignore what was probably right in front of his face, so not only would it protect his job and his reputation at Penn State, but also the financial stakes of a college as well.
Joe Paterno turned the other cheek, and by doing so he allowed someone like Jerry Sandusky to abuse more children, and for what? So he could die with the fan's crying their eyes out, touching his statue and telling the world what a good man he was? Maybe he was a hero, maybe even a great man, but in the end, he was a bad leader. And while his epitaph in Pennsylvania will always be the greatest coach in history of Penn State, outside the state, he'll always be remembered as the coach who help hide a dangerous soul.