While I am happy to see that Penn State President Eric Barron has decided to do the right thing by honoring Joe Paterno during the Temple game, some feel the optics are bad, and they may have a point.
It seems willfully circular to honor someone who the Penn State leadership played a direct role in demonizing. In the void of leadership after dismissing Graham Spanier, Penn State trustees were silent for days allowing a false media frenzy to fester. They followed that silence with a cowardly midnight firing of Paterno.
Since November 2011, after the board of trustees threw Paterno under the bus, the trustees have done nothing short of plead guilty on behalf of Paterno, the football program and the university’s culture through word and deed, most notably through the commissioning of the Freeh report and willing acceptance of NCAA sanctions.
Now that Penn State has decided to honor Paterno, the public will rightfully be asking, “What has changed?” Honoring Paterno will bring more ridicule unless it is preceded by a loud and clear apology to the Paternos and the community, as well as a repudiation of both the Freeh report and the NCAA’s sanctions. Penn State’s leadership can’t have it both ways. When you finally decide to do the right thing, do it completely.
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Chris Morris, Nashville, Tenn.