If Penn State University has any courage, any character, or any integrity, the statue of Joe Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium will be brought down and put away, never to be seen again.
Typically, it’s a good idea to wait until the dust settles, when everyone has calmed down, to properly discuss the necessary measures that need to be taken after an unbelievable situation.
But we’re not talking about a recruiting violation. We’re not talking about players receiving monetary benefits for attending school.
We are talking about a much more despicable, unthinkable, and heinous crimes that happened under the watch of one of the greatest football coaches of all time.
This immediate reaction and insistence to take down Paterno’s statue at Penn State isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. It would be a small but relevant measure of justice for the victims who went through this difficult situation.
For the most part, fans of Penn State football and college football enthusiasts have been willing to give Paterno the benefit of the doubt. Today, no one can. Not now that the Freeh report has come out and explained that one of the game’s most prominent figures was as much at fault for enabling Jerry Sandusky as everyone else involved.
Now, the number of wins Paterno had as the head coach of the Nittany Lions doesn’t matter. Big Ten Championships don’t matter. National Championships are irrelevant. Even the time he spent serving the University is no longer prominent.
When you think of Paterno’s legacy, you will never hear the good without having to listen to the bad. And that’s how it should be.
All of the “character” that Paterno and his program supposedly had now seems like fabrication. When it came down to doing the right thing, he chose to protect his friend and colleague, and the image of his program, rather than innocent children.
This incident wasn’t about football, it was about humanity. Something we all thought Paterno believed to be the most important thing in life.
I guess we were wrong. He fooled all of us.
His dying words “I wish I had done more,” aren’t enough to fix the situation or provide comfort to the victims who have had to live under these appalling circumstances.
It shouldn’t be a difficult decision, or even much of a decision at all to bring Paterno’s statue down.
All of the money he donated to the school is a non-factor. Being a successful football coach shouldn’t overshadow his reluctance to take control of this situation.
It would be absolutely shameful if Penn State decides to leave Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium, as if this whole situation will blow over and be forgotten, allowing fans to rejoice in the on-the-field success of a man who failed at his duties as an authority figure.
For all of the victims and all of those affected by similar circumstances, let this little piece of justice prevail.
Bring Paterno’s statue down. Now.