Joe Paterno No Presidential Medal

November 17, 2011 by staff 

Joe Paterno No Presidential Medal, Where to begin with the damage to the Pennsylvania State University brand?  For starters, Netflix no longer has to worry about finishing atop any 2011 “brand disasters” lists. Penn State has wrapped up that “honor” in a way only possible by associating your brand with “child rape cover up.”

While Penn State administrators struggle with the current day to day PR nightmare the university is managing, what is the future of the school’s brand? Which brand partners will stand with it and which are fleeing? That Penn State will recover is a foregone conclusion; time is always the best reputation rejuvenator.

But will it fully recover? That is not so clear.

The background of the Penn State case is this. In 2002, a football assistant witnessed another team assistant, Jerry Sandusky, raping a minor in a facility shower. He reported it to head coach Joe Paterno, who in turn kicked it up to the school’s athletic director. Nobody was fired. Nobody was suspended. Nearly ten years later, a grand jury indicts the alleged rapist and the story leaks out.

One week ago, at age 84, the legendary Paterno became the winningest college football coach of all time. ESPN Sportscenter was flooded with clips of him humbly accepting the congratulations. He was a football god, one of the most famous names in the sport. Penn State was practically synonymous with the football program the man known as “Joe Pa” built. Some said he was the most powerful man in Pennsylvania. He was recommended for America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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