A New Paterno Statue…Really?
And we wonder why our society and our children are all messed up. They’re going to put up a new statue of Joe Paterno near the Penn State campus. Remember back a few years, actually just remember back to 2012. in July of that year a construction crew put a fence around the statue of Joe Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus. The men took down the statue, that had stood for years as a tribute to the former Penn State football coach. The demolition was in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. At the time not everyone was sure who knew, outside of Sandusky, the long time Penn State assistant coach, what was going on with Sandusky and numerous young boys that he was accused of sexually molesting.
Former FBI Director Louis Freeh conducted an independent investigation and concluded that Paterno could have stopped the sexual abuse, ” If he wished.” Freeh went on to say of Paterno, “He was an integral part of the act to conceal.” The allegations clearly stated that “Joe Pa” was aware of what his former assistant might be doing with all the young boys that he mentored.
Now plans are in the works for a new statue of Paterno in State College. But Penn State isn’t involved, neither is Paterno’s family. A group of Penn State alumni and supporters are raising the money to build a new statue. It’s almost unbelievable. It’s going to be located outside of a tavern in the town and the group is banding together to raise the $300,000 needed for the statue. They asked if Paterno’s widow, Sue, wanted to be involved and she declined. Don’t you think that would give you some indication that it’s not a good idea when the women he was married to for decades doesn’t want to be part of the new statue? How much did this group raise for the numerous victims? I’ll bet $300,000 could have paid for a lot of needed counseling.
Just as some of the pain and embarrassment of the Sandusky scandal is starting to fade, these people think that Paterno still needs to be honored with a statue. The school ordered the first one taken down when they realized that Paterno could have done much more to stop the abuse, but didn’t. Is the message here, okay maybe he made a mistake in judgment, but look at all the football games he won? The football games trump the nightmare of the repeated actions?
That’s exactly what this group is saying. I’m pretty sure if you looked into the past of a lot of people who did bad things or turned a blind eye to the horror right in front of them, that you’d find a few honorable moments. Sandusky himself was defended by some who said he was always helping young boys from broken homes. That doesn’t take away from what he did. That’s like saying Bernie Madoff may have ripped a lot of people off of billions of dollars, but he gave money to his church every year.
Penn State fans may hate to admit it, but after coaching for 60 years and winning more games than any other coach, and giving money to his church, Joe Paterno’s legacy will forever be tarnished by HIS actions (or inactions as the case may be). Putting a statue up will never take that stink away and it says a lot about those who actually think it will.