He appeared at a GOP convention as a head delegate for Pennsylvania, nominated George Bush The Elder, and rah-rahhed for the cameras.
At the time, he was, of course, a publicly paid employee, which meant that the taxpayers of Pennsylvania were paying for him to use his celebrity in the cause of a political cause that they really might not have agreed to. There was some hue and cry about this, which Paterno more or less ignored.
You see, he knew best. And having known best, there really wasn't more to be said about it.
Around the same time, JoePa more or less left my field of possible respect when he directed his program away from independent status, away from any kind of fair play with neighboring programs, and into the loving arms of the Big Ten.
At the time, I actually cared a bit about college football, because I was going to school at Syracuse, and we had shook off a decades-long period of suck to more or less crush PSU in our home dome. JoePa clearly wanted no part of that thing, no part of a speed team within driving distance to the north that now had the ability to enact years of payback for the decades of jobbing.
So Paterno's PSU team stopped playing my Orangemen. At the time, I thought it was just that JoePa wanted to avoid losing to the new power in eastern football. But really, it was more about money. He knew best.
Last year, of course, he contributed to the circus, and this week, it was learned, he did a lot more than that.
So, to everyone who has joined the longstanding campers in the Joe Paterno is an untrustworthy tool camp... welcome. We've been building the foundations up for a while...