Former George H. W. Bush speechwriter Curt Smith — the man behind the line “America needs a nation more like the Waltons than the Simpsons” — appeared to suggest in a Sunday editorial that the fierce media criticism of late Penn State coach Joe Paterno was in part because he was old school.
To paraphrase Richard Nixon, they won’t have JoePa to kick around any more — dead last week, at 85, of lung cancer, climaxing a tragedy redolent of Dreiser or Dostoevsky.
Many words describe how sport’s greatest teacher was treated in the last winter of his life: hateful, incomprehensible, cruel. The truest word is shameful — something Paterno’s critics would never grasp, incapable of feeling it. …
Puzzlement shrouds JoePa’s vicious treatment. Media bile was explicable, if indefensible. Famously unhip, Paterno was old-school and old-world from an Italian Catholic family. To ESPN, that made Joe declasse. Decent people saw a hero. Trustees were as culpable: Having dishonored Joe in life, the board now hopes to save itself by honoring him in death — penance on the cheap. It is untrue that trustees and the media killed Paterno — lung cancer did. It is almost surely sure that they lessened his will to live.
Paterno was fired as Penn State head coach in November in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He was diagnosed with lung cancer soon after and passed away last Sunday.
(Editorial from mpnnow.com)