Regardless of one’s personal feelings towards Joe Paterno and their individual opinion on how much the findings contained in the Freeh Report should affect his legacy, the fact remains that the longtime Penn State coach’s name undoubtedly has been tarnished in light of the developments of the recent weeks and is worthy of discussion. It is likely that some people’s feelings about Joe Paterno have been irrevocably changed forever and one such person in that camp is sports cartoonist Rob Tornoe.
Tornoe, who does sports cartoon work for the Philadelphia Inquirer, drew the above cartoon shortly after Paterno’s death in January which features legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant welcoming JoePa into heaven.
But since then, as is his right, Tornoe has had a change of heart and has updated his original cartoon to better reflect his opinion of Joe Paterno. Tornoe details his reasoning behind his decision to update his original Paterno obituary cartoon as follows:
The cartoon was enormously popular, and spread across Facebook like a wildfire. My inbox was stuffed with thank you notes and warm wishes from Penn State alums across the country. Someone even printed it out and put it on display next to Paterno’s statue as a tribute. And you know something – I was wrong.
With the release of the Freeh report, it’s clear to anyone but his kids that Paterno, along with other top Penn State officials, covered up the child sex abuse allegations against assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky out of fear of bad publicity.
Covered up child rape. For more than a decade. So it wouldn’t harm the football team. I’m not a religious person, but this man doesn’t belong in heaven.
The updated cartoon follows.
Cagle describes the evolution behind deciding to do the updated cartoon further:
So I have the opportunity not too many cartoonists are afforded – to redress my mistake, to call myself out for taking part in a pity party for someone who decided that a child’s well being was only valuable if they were wearing his team’s football uniform.
So like Mitt Romney and Bain, I’ve retroactively updated my obituary cartoon and redrawn it to expel Paterno from paradise and send him plummeting downward. Like Sandusky in prison, Paterno is now in a place that knows how to deal with people who allow children to be raped.
I guess we know where he stands on the legacy of Joe Paterno. Whether or not you agree with his change of heart and how he chose to express it is up to you.