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Now that more of the story is coming out about the Penn State situation, I feel the need to say something about it from a leadership perspective–but it is hard to know what to say. I can't stop thinking about it for many reasons. Last year, I blogged about Joe Paterno being a sage and at the time I meant every word of it. There was a song by Brandi Carlile used with a clip on JoPa that I loved. Now every time I hear the song, I can't stop thinking about how his legacy is forever tarnished because of what Paterno did NOT do.
I don't have any wisdom to add to the story, but I have lots of questions that I keep asking:
- Why do good leaders go bad?
- How can so many smart people in leadership positions do the wrong thing?
- Why is it so hard to do the right thing?
- Why didn't Paterno do something about this?
- Why didn't he take the news as serious and act quickly?
- How could he stand for integrity and not do something?
- How can he care for players and not react quickly for this young boy?
- How could he stand to be around–even in the same space as Sandusky?
- Why would they fire Sandusky, but still let him have privileges on campus?
- How could they trust Sandusky about anything?
- Why weren't they all repulsed by even the "rumor" that he might abuse young boys?
- Why didn't someone think this is a serious crime?
- And …
Do you have any answers to any of the questions above? Please let me know.
I know why some good leaders go bad, but I don't know why Coach Paterno, who I considered a sage, did not do the right thing.
I know humans make mistakes and we need to forgive each other. But this is so hard to understand and such alleged serious crimes–for years. How could so many people in senior leadership positions cover this up and think it was OK? The questions for me just keep going.
This is a perfect example of how it only takes a nano second to have a legacy of integrity and respect evaporate into thin air. Even after decades of "supposedly" doing the right things, Paterno will now be remembered as someone who did not do the right thing when it really mattered the most.