July 16, 2012 • 20 Second Timeouts94 FeetWinning Hoops

Remove Statue Of Delusional Paterno

Michael Austin

I’m confused why the statue of Joe Paterno still is standing on the Penn State campus. Maybe I’m delusional but glorifying enablers of child molesters seems like something a university might want to shy away from.

Paterno actually is the one who remained delusional until the bitter end about his involvement in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. Claiming in a December letter, which was intricately leaked to media yesterday by either a family member or former player, “This is not a football scandal.”

Based on the Louis Freeh report released today, yes, Joe, it was a football scandal. It happened in football facilities. It occurred under the watch of football officials. It tarnishes everything you and the program accomplished during your decades of power on the Penn State campus. The counter to this is to look at all the good accomplished during this time by the program. Paterno even claims in his letter, “During the last 45 years NO ONE has won more games while graduating players.” My contention is the graduation of players, the victories and the volunteerism among coaches and players are things to be expected of a national powerhouse program.

What shouldn’t be part of a football program? Let’s start with fostering a child molester and providing him the means to conduct his heinous acts. Sandusky is guilty of the criminal acts but Paterno allowed it to happen so his football program wouldn’t suffer. After today’s report, that fact cannot be argued.

People wanted to give Paterno the benefit of the doubt because he looked like your grandfather. He seemed likeable on the exterior. He seemed a fragile old man who once accomplished many great things on the football field. But, now we know deep down he was a conniving, plotting individual who cared more about the Penn State name than abused children. Immediately after his death, people were quick to claim he died “from a broken heart.” No. He just died. If you want to attach a superlative to it, maybe he died from guilt, or corruption, or exhaustion from attempting to cover up one of the most disgusting crimes in college football history.

Paterno’s sad letter nears a conclusion with the line, “Forget my career in terms of my accomplishments…” Done and done. Penn State football under the “leadership” of Paterno is long gone in the eyes of many. This letter provided proof of that and, especially, in that within its 719 words, not once does the dying coach mention remorse for the individuals abused or sorrow for the pain the program has caused so many.

I understand ripping down a statue doesn’t change anything. But in the mere hours since the Freeh report has been released, it seems like a logical step as Penn State must dissociate itself from the glorification of someone who ignored the abuse of children.

To view all 20-Second Timeouts, click here.