How many of you believe in fidelity but once cheated? Or believe in not stealing but have stolen? Believe in honestly but have lied? I could go on with a list of sins that would eventually encompass everyone on this blog and on earth. We have all failed at one point to live up to the standards we champion and would wish to communicate to others.
When we fail to live up to our standards and are caught violating them, does that invalidate the standards themselves? Does that mean our lives have been a lie? Does that mean, as Six Zero wrote today:
"Learning that the ethical standards that went hand in hand with Joe Paterno were not only inaccurate, but has also cost him his immortal job status? Well, it's like waking up one day and finding that the United States is secretly run by a Communist dictator."
Or, as Brian wrote: "Should we forget all the good Paterno has done in our "rush to judgment"? Yes, and yes. This is a failure so massive it wipes out every positive thing about JoePa, of which there were many."
I don't think so. When honorable people fail to live up to the standards they have set for themselves and for others, they don't reveal themselves to be hypocrites. They reveal themselves to be human. And I don't believe they lose the ability to be called a good person. Nor does that invalidate the standards that they tried to live by, despite a massive failure.
Joe should lose his job. He should have this as part of his legacy. He will suffer in private and public, and that is as it should be. His non-action should be condemned.
I can see how many of you are willing to disagree. To say that this wipes out all the good he has done. To condemn him as a person. To say that the standards were a lie. I just hope you have more understanding friends and famiily around you when you fail.
EDIT: After carefully reading every reply, none of which agreed with me, they seemed to all add up to two points. 1- that not reporting this to the police is worse than any other moral failing, and 2- That we should judge Patero harshly for what he didn't do. I had already made the second point explicitly in my OP above. The point is I'm willing to say that reporting it to his superiors but not the police deserves universal condemnation--but that it doesn't erase all of the good he did for literally thousands. But I'm clearly in a group of one there. As to the first point-I agree. But I stand by my greater point.