Patriot-News columnist David Jones, who has covered Penn State football for 22 years, has written an eloquent column regarding a division that exists within the Nittany Lions fanbase.
His premise is simple. A vocal minority is blindly loyal and completely devoted to Joe Paterno. These “Joebots,” as Jones calls them, continually insist on re-litigating the past, and that has handcuffed current head coach Bill O’Brien when it comes to operating in the present.
Equally as interesting as the column itself are the comments that follow. Plenty of people are singing in the same choir as Jones. There are some who agree, but who think maybe Jones overstated his case; as there are those who disagree entirely, but do so respectfully.
Most interesting, though, are those who insist that:
They MUST wage WAR! on the LIES that ruined the reputation of a GREAT MAN! And make no mistake, Joe Paterno was a great man. In fact, it’s RIDICULOUS that Bill O’Brien makes more in salary than Joe Pa ever did. Especially when you consider that any success O’Brien has had is ONLY the result of his capitalizing on what JOE PA BUILT!!!! It’s a good thing that O’Brien is eventually going to BETRAY the school and its ideals by bolting for the NFL, because there are ANY NUMBER of BIG NAME! coaches who want to take over for him. While we’re at it, Happy Valley should GET RID of that HACK David Jones. He’s covered Penn State football for so long, he HAD TO HAVE KNOWN about Jerry Sandusky’s pedophilia. He’s the one who was REALLY covering up for a child rapist. And if you think otherwise? YOUR* a COWARD!!!!!!!
These are actual thoughts of some Penn State fans. Admittedly, they are paraphrased, sometimes crudely so, because I don’t speak fluent crazy. (Fluent crazy is inevitably written in all caps with multiple exclamation points for some odd reason, as if lack of sanity sounds better when it’s LOUD!)
What is amusing is they don’t realize they are proving Jones’ point.
They are calling for investigation after investigation after investigation, because no amount of digging has uncovered the “facts” they want. That this depletes the university of resources doesn’t matter to them. They so whitewash the past, they diminish the efforts of those working to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated. They find the idea of change so abhorrent, they undermine attempts at progress. They so revere Paterno they cannot, will not view O’Brien as his legitimate successor, even if they grant he is a good man and not a bad coach.
In short, they are so wedded to the past, they view any effort to move forward as blasphemy, which is exactly what Jones is saying.
Sadly, these fans believe they are being loyal to the memory of Paterno, when in reality, they are worshipping an idealized version of Paterno. And when you are devoted to someone who didn’t exist, you are faithful to nothing. David Jones is right. That is what’s keeping the Joebots from realizing they’ve really got something going at Penn State.
*I shouldn’t criticize anyone’s grammar, but this particular you/you’re infraction seems to be a staple of a certain class of zealots.