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Going overboard

A few days have passed now since they laid Joe Paterno to rest, which means a lot of the whitewash liberally splattered around that day has dried. And I have a couple of thoughts.

1. The media did not do in Paterno.

That was a theme that recurred in the flaying of those responsible for scapegoating Paterno, chiefly by Nike honcho Phil Knight. Like so much of what Knight said, it just doesn't play. For all his good works and (by and large) his good and accomplished life, Paterno let down the victims of a likely sexual predator by doing what you wouldn't expect him to do: Pass the buck.

Everyone seemed far too willing, even eager, to ignore that the other day, and to excoriate anyone who had pointed it out. Yes, Paterno was a great man who did great deeds. Yes, the university's treatment of him was shameful and gutless. But, yes, ultimately he was just as guilty of trying to protect the brand as the university officials who made him the fall guy.

The bottom line is, Paterno let a man he knew had already been investigated once for sexually molesting minors continue to have access to the football facilities, when he should have taken his keys and thrown him off the premises. And, yes, he had the authority to do that. He was, after all, Joe Paterno.

Blaming the media for point that out doesn't change anything.

2. Speaking of Phil Knight, just how loudly did the fact that he was of the speakers at Paterno's memorial service speak to the values of college athletics these days?

I mean, really, the university's apparel dealer/sugar daddy gets this high honor, simply because (let's be honest here) he makes it rain all up in here?

Money talks, everything else walks in college athletics. Including the simple human impulse to protect prey from predator if doing so threatens the brand and the brand's revenue stream.

Home truth.

Ben Smith's blog.