It was a different time, or maybe it wasn’t. In 1986, Sports Illustrated dispatched the talented Rick Reilly to chronicle the life and times of Joe Paterno, already an iconic figure in sports. Paterno was to be named Sportsman of the Year, one of the most prestigious honors in our industry and one help by a list of luminaries that is its own Hall of Fame of men and women who shaped and elevate our games.
It was a different time. Now, Paterno must be stricken from that list.
In fact, I’m curious why it’s taken so long for my former colleagues (I worked at SI 1978-81, ’89-’94 and ’03-’05) to do so.
What else do they need to know? In fact, it should have been done even before the Freeh report outlined the conspiracy of silence that allowed young boys to be molested by Jerry Sandusky long after Paterno (and others at the university) knew Sandusky was a sick and dangerous man.
On Monday, the NCAA all but put the Not-so-Nittany Lions into the ground with a package of sanctions that will tame that program for a decade–$60 million fine, significant loss of scholarships, four years probation and bowl ban and the vacating of every Paterno victory since 1998, the year she should have gone to law enforcement officials and told them about the sick bastard that was attacking victims in campus showers.
By the time, NCAA president Mark Emmert had finished reading the package of sanctions yesterday morning, Paterno should have no longer been recognized as a Sportsman of the Year.
The statue is gone.
Paterno’s name was removed from, of all places, a child care center on the Nike campus.
And Rick Reilly now recognizes that he was duped.
Yet Joe Paterno is still listed as the 1986 Sportsman of the Year.