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Poll Shows Paterno's Legacy Has Been Tarnished, Compares to Lindsay Lohan, Jerry Springer

Joe Paterno's reputation has been smashed, according to a new poll that The Marketing Armhas exclusively released to CNBC.

Joe Paterno
Photo: Getty Images

In January 2009, the last time the company's Davie-Brown Index (DBI) polled America on the Penn State head football coach, less than one percent of the general population that knew him said they "disliked him a lot." But 23 percent now say they dislike the 84-year-old a lot, in a poll taken on Nov. 13, just four days after the school fired Paterno in wake of the child molestation charges brought on by a grand jury investigation of his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The amount of people that dislike him puts him on par with the likes of Jerry Springer, Kim Kardashian, Mike Tyson and Lindsay Lohan.

Once considered a great person to perhaps endorse a product, Paterno's endorsement ranking dropped 20 points and he's now on par with Pete Rose in that category.

The scandal has meant a jump in awareness of 26 percent, as 80 percent of Americans now know who he is, but of those that know him, nearly 43 percent "strongly disagree" that Paterno would be a good corporate spokesman.

Fewer Americans trust him as well. Considered his best attribute when the DBI last polled consumers, nearly 40 percent of people now strongly disagree that Paterno is trustworthy. In fact, former Indiana head basketball coach Bobby Knight, now an ESPN broadcaster and no stranger to controversy, now ranks ahead of Paterno in many categories, including trust.

Guys like Tiger, Roethlisberger and Vick can come back, win and recover 15 to 20 percent of what they lost," said Bill Glenn, senior vice president of The Marketing Arm. "It's going to be very challenging for Joe Paterno to ever recover, considering his age and the fact that he's a coach. Perhaps the best thing he can do is devote himself to charitable efforts."

Paterno was not criminally charged in the sexual assault case, as were his colleagues administrator Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley, who were accused of failure to report and perjuring themselves to a federal grand jury. Although Paterno expressed his desire to finish out his 46th season at the school, he was fired by the school's Board of Trustees on Nov. 9.

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