Sports cartoonist updates his Joe Paterno obituary cartoon (pics)

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.

[reddit, The Cagle Post]

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  1. freddie

    July 20, 2012 at 10:05 am


  2. Ponsonby Britt

    July 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Assuming JoePa was saved in the first place.

  3. ken

    July 21, 2012 at 8:44 am

    wow,sure is easy to blame everything on a dead man that can’t defend himself and then a cartoon with no class at all. God bless his family in dealing with the people who all got together and decided to blame everything on Joepa and nobody else,after all they have so much to lose and did nothing wrong even though they new everything too..

    • jw

      July 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

      umm ya using Joepa and the idea of protecting those that cant defend themselves in the same sentence is pretty dumb.

      maybe you should ask your imaginary friend to bless all the kids that got molested because Joepa didnt do anything about it MULTIPLE TIMES

      “who all got together” oh do you mean the police and the people charged to investigate it….. oh yes a vast conspiracy

      “Joepa and nobody else,” ya cause theres not a guy sitting in jail for this is there?

  4. Doug Hawkins

    July 21, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I cannot understand these people who refuse to accept the truth and who refuse to let go. Paterno was no saint, if half of the Freeh report is accurate he was the worst of the worst. Harboring and protecting a child molester. He is as guilty as Sandusky of these crimes. And, sweetening his deal with PSU while the investigation was ongoing – how could he think about his money at a time like that. Take down the statue, blott his name from the records and move on. Those poor kids have gone on with their lives, somehow – why can’t these morons let go of the lie that was Joe Paterno and face the truth. Somehow, a few half-price tattoos and a couple used cars don’t look so bad now. By the way – excellant redo on the cartoon. Actually, they kind of go together as side by side panels.

  5. Alvin

    July 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Despite what Joe Pa did or didn’t do, I don’t think it’s ok to make something like this. Whether he goes to heaven or not is between him and God. Just my humble opinion,

  6. Maryjo Foshee

    August 3, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Yep this one is CLASSIC.I’m surprised this one wasn’t on here sooner.

  7. Volumecorps

    September 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I always considered the first cartoon rather sappy to begin with. The funniest thing to me in both cartoons is the idea of Bear Bryant being in heaven to begin with. The guy won a lot of football games, but he was definitely no saint.

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