There’s an old saying in the theatre: “Don’t Be the Goat!

“Every production has a goat,” Dr. Stein would yell, “The goat gets the blame.  DON’T BE THE GOAT!”

Dr. Stein’s advice is timeless and excellent.  He wanted to make sure we were all appropriately trained to deal with anything and that we would always be able to work around any obstacle in a production so nobody could point a crooked finger us and say, “This is your fault,” thus making us, “The Goat.”

Sometimes you cannot avoid being labeled The Goat — it doesn’t mean you earned that title or that you did anything that deserves pointing — but the eternal fact in any production is that there must always be someone to blame.  Every show needs an unlucky totem.  Every show needs someone to kick when everyone is down.

Now that Joe Paterno is dead at 85, he will surely become in death what he never was in life:  The Goat.

It doesn’t make sense that Joe Paterno didn’t know anything about the child abuse scandal that plagues Penn State, just like it never made sense the Catholic Church had no idea its priests were molesting children for decades.

Yes, Joe Paterno was the Pope of Penn State, and now, in his death, the blame for everything that happened under his watch will be placed at the transom of his legacy because he can no longer speak for himself and he can no longer deny not knowing.  He’ll suddenly “know everything” in death that he vehemently denied in life.

Everyone accused of wrongdoing will now point to Joe’s headstone and say he knew everything that was going on — and he didn’t care — and if anyone wants to find redemption, they need to turn to the deep pockets of the Paterno bank account to get their payouts and retribution.

Joe Paterno will forever be branded with the molestation scandal and some might argue that branding was deserved because Paterno did not morally act in the aftermath of the allegations then, or before his death, and that he placed power and platitudes above the safety of children.  I’m sure he’ll agree with my argument if you don’t believe me, go ahead and ask him to deny it…

History isn’t written by the winners.

History is rewritten by those who outlive you.


  1. Exactly, Gordon!

    Even if Paterno didn’t care about the kids — even if he were trying to protect his legacy — he should’ve quickly tried to deal with the issue in public. Being ill should have been an even greater incentive for him to straighten out the record before he died. He had to know not directly facing the scandal in public would hurt him forever — even if it quickly killed him.

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