Saturday, January 21, 2012

Observations on JoePa

Speedy, near instantaneous, information is a blessing of the age we live in. It makes possible something like Wednesday's SOPA blackout or the organization of protests worldwide. Tonight I saw how it also can be a curse.

All day I had been hearing rumors about Joe Paterno's declining health. How the family had been called to his side and the Penn State Catholic chaplain had visited him. When I got home tonight I checked and at 8:45 PM Onward State, a Penn State news organization, reported Paterno. had passed away. Seconds later the phone began to ring, texts flew, and emails were sent back and forth as the Penn State diaspora began to grieve the passing of our legendary JoePa. Minutes later the report was picked up by CBS Sports and quickly spread everywhere.

The problem was the initial report was wrong. Devon Edwards, managing editor of Onward State, wrote in an apology, "I never, in a million years, would have thought that Onward State would be cited by the national media, and today, I sincerely wish it never had been." I have no idea what happened but as always I have a pet theory. Twenty minutes before that initial report an email had been sent to Penn State football players probably explaining coach Paterno's condition. Now even at Penn State football players aren't always the smartest chicken in the coop so maybe one of them read it wrong and told somebody who told somebody who ran with it.

Sadly, whatever it was, it happened. Enough said.

But I also have another reason for writing this, call it a study in human nature. I have somebody I currently follow on twitter, currently being the key word, who endlessly tweets about liberal causes. Equal rights, economic equality, an end to the death penalty, health care for all, and on and on. Tonight this person reveled in the reported death of an 85 year old man whose only failing was that when needed most he was all too human. And that is what I'll always remember her for.

Again, enough said.

update - Joe Paterno died at 9:25 am Sunday, following complications related to his lung cancer, according to a press release from Mount Nittany Medical Center.