ABUSE, COVERUPS, AND PATERNO'S LEGACY
Over the last week, horrible details of alleged child abuse and coverup have emerged from Penn State. Grand Jury testimony from the case describes unspeakable acts of abuse and manipulation. There is no defending the crimes -- not the abuse, and not the coverup.
The people involved have begun an epic downfall. Arrests, firings, and public vilification have all but ensured that their lives will never be the same. And perhaps the most shocking -- if something can be more shocking than the abuse of a child -- is the alleged coverup by one man in particular: Joe Paterno.
Coach Paterno has been a fixture of college football for 45 years and holds mythic status for his leadership, skill, and, ironically, his values. He is the most "winningest" college football coach ever, with over 400 career wins as a head coach. He is a father figure to hundreds of former players, and a voice of authority to tens of thousands of fans.
But, if the allegations prove true, his legacy is forever tainted by his involvement and coverup of the scandal. His coaching philosophy, his memorable quotes, and his familiar likeness will never be looked at the same again. And that is there we should begin our coversation on scandalous grace.
What becomes of a life's work if it is tainted by a tragic end? What is the value of a career's worth of wisdom if the wise man finishes as a villain? And where does that leave us, as relentless dealers of grace and second chances?
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