Home » Opinion » Those who mocked Paterno during scandal shouldn’t be so quick to grieve his death

Those who mocked Paterno during scandal shouldn’t be so quick to grieve his death

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Admit it, you made fun of Paterno too.

I was shoving the largest Chipotle burrito known to mankind down my gullet and sipping a beer in Woody’s Tavern on Thursday, attempting to digest the usual scum being televised on the walls.

An episode of “Dr. Phil” featuring an anorexic girl who blamed her mother for letting her starve herself. Tears were tossed back and forth, while the madman from the deep South barked inanely at them. But something more pathetic and sinister than this awful scene was broadcasting on five screens simultaneously: Joe Paterno’s memorial service.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a lovely service. I would be honored to receive such a highly-attended send-off after I die. But seeing as how I’m revolted by politics and am an avid anti-sports fan, I feel it’s unlikely.

So, let’s recap what I know about the late Mr. Paterno, and bear with me, because the list is filled with subtle nuances that will likely blow your mind.

First, he was somehow connected with rumors of pedophilia — the details of said rumor were probably explained to me at some point, but my lack of interest usually impedes my hunger for sports knowledge.

Second, he died. Again, nothing else on this subject exists in my tiny mind to supplement this fact.

That’s all folks.

I want this column to speak from a place you aren’t used to hearing sports opinions from: a sports-ignoramus: me.

Sure, I’m completely unqualified to comment on the life and death of someone who probably was a “great inspiration” and all of the other niceties people have been saying about Mr. Paterno. But what you fail to realize is most of what people like me knew about the man before he died was what sports fans were saying about the scandal that led to his being fired from Penn State.

This reminds me of the pre-death and death of Michael Jackson, now hailed as a musical god, which for the record, I don’t necessarily disagree with. The thing is, you can’t go around talking smack about someone and then pretend you never did when they die — even if it is tragic.

The real tragedy is how you can’t even own up to it. You were a bunch of a–holes on the Paterno and MJ issues and, because I never turn down a good pedophilia joke, so was I. The difference between you and I? I still tell pedophilia jokes about good ol’ MJ.

I’ll always love “Smooth Criminal,” but it will also always remind me how he was so good at staying out of prison. And I won’t pretend otherwise. I want to honor the man for what impression he truly left on my life — not some fiction I write to make his friends, family and my own sick perception of mortality feel better. (Check out: “Michael Jackson Is Dead” by Jon Lajoie on YouTube.)

The only people who deserve to openly mourn the death of Paterno are his family and friends, and you, I guess, as long as you never once laughed at an underage locker-room joke aimed at Paterno or Penn State.

And the same goes for me. When I die, all the people who say terrible things about me after reading this column are not allowed to speak at my funeral or get soggy-eyed when my six-word obituary is read in the local “Penny Saver.”

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