Paterno has done far more good than harm in his career. But if you have been paying attention, you know that he has a bad habit of minimizing serious allegations.
When Penn State receiver Tony Johnson was arrested for driving under the influence a few years ago, Paterno said he would discipline him "just because I have to send a message to the squad that it is inappropriate to be out in the middle of the week having a couple of drinks."
Police said Johnson had a blood-alcohol level of .136, well above the legal limit.
Before a bowl game against Penn State in 2006, Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson was accused of sexual assault. Remember: This was not Paterno's player. He didn't have to say anything.
But he said this: "There are so many people gravitating to these kids. Maybe he didn't know what he was getting into, Nicholson. Somebody will knock on the door. A cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?
"Thank God, they don't knock on my door. I'd refer them to a couple of other rooms.
"But that's too bad. You hate to see that, you really do. You'd like to see a kid end up his career. And he's a heck of a football player, he really is. It's just too bad. That's all I can say. It's just too bad."
To sum up, we have:
1. An administration that feels it can't control Joe Paterno.
2. Paterno's habit of minimizing serious allegations.
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