Thursday, December 15, 2011

Back to this living person thing again (from Sports Illustrated)

Remember my post from December 7 which talked about the dangers of naming things after living persons? The link talked about the Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Facility, named after a former sheriff; years later, Sullivan found himself there - as a detainee.

Sullivan isn't the only widely-honored living person who was later called into question.

The December 12 Sports Illustrated included a letter to the editor from Robert Steckel of Amherst, Virginia. The letter addressed the reputation of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who has been accused of not doing enough to stop former assistant coach and author Jerry Sandusky from molesting boys. (Of course, Paterno is not the only one who has been faulted in this episode.)

Two sentences from Steckel's letter stand out:

Is the Paterno we saw before this scandal the real one, or just an idealized front? I don't know the answer, but the fact it seems appropriate to ask says a lot.
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