For years, Joe Paterno's persistent retirement controversy has been focused on football. It's been focused on what Penn State owes in return to its legendary coach. It's been focused on a man who has done so much good for such a proud university.
Now, it may be focused on what Paterno didn't do.
Bob Ford has a cutting piece in this morning's Inquirer, detailing what he believes to be the football coach's unforgivable negligence in failing to follow through on what he knew to be unreported and uncharged criminal activity. The article draws a sharp contrast between the Paterno we thought we knew, and the Paterno we really don't want to know.
Ford not only concludes that Paterno has lost his opportunity to walk away on his own terms, but goes on to ask, "If Penn State athletic coaches and administrators could look the other way when a 10-year-old is assaulted on campus by a prominent coach, what wouldn't they do?
While it seems easy to reach for the classic "Say it ain't so, Joe," it doesn't really apply.
Joe said it was so. Now it's just a matter of what he really knew. That's something we'd all like to hear.