"Say it ain't so Joe", laments the little boy whose beliefs have just been crushed by the news of Shoeless Joe Jackson's involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Innocence shattered and baseball dreams obliterated, the dejected lad looks longingly at Jackson, only to see his hero walk away without an answer. Depressing huh? And this was only a movie...the 1988 baseball classic "Eight Men Out".
A shocking and horrific real life story continues to play out, as the Penn State sex scandal continues to reveal painful and disturbing facts about what revered ex-Head Coach and legend Joe Paterno actually knew regarding the sexual abuse of boys at the hands of Assistant Coach/Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
Last week an investigation conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh revealed the sad and disappointing news we all feared...JoPa KNEW!!
How could that be? Paterno had been loved and worshipped since 1966, when he took over the vaunted football program in Happy Valley. This was a man, God rest his soul, who built the program to be a perennial national power. This was a Coach who shaped and molded boys into men, productive men. Players have testified to the effect Paterno had on their lives and made no bones about the fact that without Joe's mentoring and leadership, they would not be the men they became.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive". Someone said that once...Penn State would have never expected to pull the weight of that sentiment, especially from the icon that was Joe Paterno.
Well...that's the true nature of man, isn't it? The Apostle Paul tells us in Scripture we cannot escape our sin nature while we're on this earth. It's sad to say that no matter how revered and loved you are, as a human you will sin and make mistakes. We can only rely on the grace of God to forgive us (provided we ask for it) and learn from our short-comings.
Even more disturbing is the fact that we're seeing sexual abuse in every area of society. From teachers to high profile Pastors, no one seems to be exempt from this practice.
Nothing really shocks me anymore. We've all been let down by people in our lives...Sadly we don't live in a perfect world. People will disappoint and fail you...it's sad but true...
Even a legend.