In the case of Paterno, it’s a tragic waste of an otherwise stellar run. But I don’t have much sympathy, for him or the people he chose to have around him. This week I’ve been trying to imagine a scenario where I’d witness a senior citizen having his way with a 10-year-old, and I can’t quite see how you just mention that to the boss and go home to supper, conscience clear. But that’s what Paterno’s guy did. Then Paterno himself did the same thing, evidently hoping it would all just go away. Stuff like that reveals character in a way that 409 career wins does not. Football’s a game. The rest of it isn’t.As for Rick Perry, there isn’t much I can add. Anybody can slip up, but this isn’t the first time for Rick, is it? Or even the second. Here we have a loose cannon who keeps hoping his looks and swagger might carry the day, and then seems surprised when it doesn’t.
During my newspaper career I occasionally had to hire people. The most important thing I learned from that is that when you’re interviewing somebody for a job, that’s the very best they’re ever going to be. If they seem lazy or inattentive when they’re seeking employment, they won’t suddenly get better when they actually have it. I think of that when I watch video clips of Rick Perry. The man’s interviewing for the biggest job of his life, and he can’t be bothered with the fundamentals.
The good news is: occasionally, the truth will out. Paterno’s career is now a giant asterisk, and Perry’s will conclude in Austin. I’d say I’m disappointed, but I’m not. You want to go down in history, you have to do the hard stuff. Not just what you’re good at.