Today marks the third and final day of memorial services for former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who passed away on Sunday. For the past two days, Paterno’s friends, family, former players and fans, as well as PSU students and faculty, have shown their respect for the man that doctors say died of complications from lung cancer, while those mourning believe it was a broken heart. More than 12,000 people will fill the Bryce Jordan Center today for the final memorial service.
But of course he won’t rest peacefully, because we won’t stop talking about him. While we mostly loathe and detest them, the Westboro Baptist Church members will be protesting today’s service, as they apparently couldn’t sue enough people to afford hotel rooms yesterday, and they unfortunately represent the heated conversation about Paterno’s legacy that will undoubtedly continue for years.
I don’t have much of an opinion on that, though, as I’ve previously written. There are obviously many people who will overlook the last three months of Paterno’s life in favor of what he did for 46 years. And there are others who will do the complete opposite. If anything, these last three days have been a massive effort by the former to soften the criticism of the latter, but I really doubt it’s going to work. Judgment is easily passed by people who don’t have time to wait for answers.
It’s a good thing so many people were there for each other to mourn their hero, because they’ll need each other to get through the entire Jerry Sandusky ordeal and what he and his alleged actions will ultimately mean to Paterno’s legacy.