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Not even two weeks after the NCAA reinstated the Nittany Lions into bowl eligibilty so they can be a real college football team again, Penn State fans managed to make their way into the news–by trying to honor the coach who led them for more than 40 years before the child abuse scandal ravaged his legacy.
The plan is to have a “Joe-out” during the football game against UMass on Saturday. Students, alumni, and fans who want the school to honor former coach Joe Paterno will dress up like him, or do something that blatantly shows they support him.
Here is what the leader of the movement says, via Centre Daily:
He will forever stand as a great founder of our university, shoulder to shoulder with Atherton, Beaver, Pattee, Sparks and more. There will be other coaches, other presidents, other trustees and great men in Penn State’s future, but that does not mean we should forget this one man, who made Penn State great. My family and I eagerly await the future — but we will never forget to honor Joe,” said Susan Beck Wilson.
This is a tough one, Penn State fans. On one hand, it seems unfair to judge a man for one mistake he made in a tenure that lasted nearly half a century. On the other hand, Paterno fucked up. Bad. It’s worse than Ray Rice. It’s worse than Adrian Peterson. Paterno had an opportunity to curb the continued child abuse, but opted instead to do nothing. It’s, like, the one thing where you looked at media outrage toward Penn State and thought, “Yeah, that’s a pretty reasonable response.”
It’s hard to pretend Paterno isn’t a part of Penn State history, but you have to. All of Penn State’s administrational decisions to disassociate itself from Paterno are the reasons why you can give scholarships again, and why you are bowl eligible in the first place. Do you think the NCAA wants fans parading around Beaver Stadium in Joe Pa’s thick glasses, protesting to get his statue back? Hell no. The NCAA wants this shit to go away.
Can you imagine how awkward it would be for new coach James Franklin to have to deal with all this Paterno nonsense? We know Bill O’Brien hated it. That’s probably part of the reason he bailed. You never want to be the dude who follows a legend–especially a polarizing one.
So, Penn State fans, get drunk on Saturday. Throw on your favorite Pat McGroin jersey. Do all of the cool shit in Happy Valley I saw out of my hotel room one Friday night when I stayed there in eighth grade. Then go to the game, cheer on your team, and move the fuck on. It’s time.
[via Centre Daily]
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