On Friday, Joe Paterno finally admitted what we've known all along -- he probably could have better handled the fallout from a downtown apartment fight that ended with two Nittany Lions accepting misdemeanor charges and the university receiving a permanent black stain in the history books.
"I can't walk away from the fact that we had some kids that were wrong and that maybe I didn't do the best job I could have in the thing," Paterno told reporters Friday during the team's media day.
This statement would have been fitting last September or even November. This is August, 16 months after the fight at the Meridian II.
Paterno's hesitation to take this amount of responsibility in the situation shouldn't come as a surprise. There's been a lack of accountability from the start, stemming from the fact that Paterno failed to adequately discipline his team.
The 81-year-old coach said his team would clean Beaver Stadium following the Lions' home games.
He then announced the end to the cleanup Oct. 30, just weeks after he said his team was involved in another fight, later determined to be a tussle in the HUB-Robeson Center.
Paterno has asked that the media and public move on from the Meridian incident and several others. Let's talk football, he says. But with his recent statement, Paterno only further dragged out the story.
The players desperately want to move on -- "When are we going to drop it?" center A.Q. Shipley asked Friday, saying the team has faced its fair share of discipline. But has it?
Four players were temporarily expelled for the summer semester following the Meridian fight but were allowed back in time for fall football practice. One of those players, Anthony Scirrotto, is now a team captain.
To be fair, Scirrotto has apologized for his actions and has complied with legal sanctions, but what kind of message does making him a captain send?
It would have been a tough and maybe unpopular decision, but Paterno should have denied Scirrotto's captaincy. That would have proved some accountability.
Instead, all we saw was hypocrisy. When the football team gets in trouble, it's boys being boys. But when police said a 21-year-old student broke into the Lasch Building earlier this summer, Paterno told the Associated Press it was "unfortunate" and "unnecessary."
Nobody was a boy being a boy.
Only now does it seem Paterno might have a twinge of regret about what happened last April.
"The thing that bothered me the most about the incident, that was the most prominent, was the fact that nobody said, 'Hey, this is ridiculous. Let's get out of here.' " Paterno said Friday. "That's the only thing I feel bad about."
That weak apology is too little, and about a year too late.