Penn State Has No Defense

In failing to stop a predator, did JoePa put football first?

J. Meric—Getty Images

Joe Paterno, 84, sets a high moral standard for his players. But his passive approach to an abuse case fails his own test.

The Penn State University football motto is "Success with honor," and no coach seemed to live up to that credo more than Joe Paterno, the Nittany Lions leader for more than 45 years. Paterno, known simply as JoePa in a place in central Pennsylvania called Happy Valley, has won 409 games--a Division 1 record--and two national championships. His players usually graduate, no small feat in major-college athletics. "Coaches have the same obligation as all teachers," Paterno, 84, wrote in Paterno: By the Book, his 1989 autobiography. "Except that we may have more moral and life-shaping influence over our players than anyone...

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