Sports Opinion & Analysis

Sell It For Scrap

In College on July 13, 2012 at 9:30 am

There’s been a lot of talk about Joe Paterno’s legacy lately. How will history view him? What should Penn State do about a man whose image has been synonymous with the university? What is his legacy?

What should be done with his statue? 

Paterno’s statue, located at Penn State University.

This shouldn’t even been a discussion anymore. After the Jerry Sandusky verdict and the Freeh Report, it is clear history will view Paterno more for the events of last year (and since 1998) than anything he ever did on the football field. His legacy is now of a man who willfully and knowingly enabled evil and horrendous acts on children.

Penn State should wipe clean any image of his 61-year tenure as assistant and head coach.

The statue should be torn down and sold for scrap.

If any of you think this is harsh, let me remind you that there are things larger than football, and Joe Paterno is not a victim. Paterno and Penn State officials Graham B. Spanier, Gary Schultz, and Timothy Curley are not victims. While Jerry Sandusky abused children, Paterno and the rest showed, as mentioned in the Freeh Report, a “striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety.”  When Assistant Coach Mike McQuery brought Sandusky’s crimes to Paterno’s attention, Paterno now famously told McQuery, “You did what you had to do. It’s my job now to figure out what we want to do.”

There is no defending Paterno. There is no justifying. While Sandusky abused young boys, Paterno and the rest closed the door, turned around, and walked away. For all the fame Paterno brought to the university, he destroyed it by his actions, or more appropriately, his inactions. For every young athlete’s life he changed as a coach, there are ten innocent lives he destroyed by not doing anything. Ten lives which outweigh the rest.

There is no defending this. There is no justifying, and every attempt by ESPN analyst Matt Millen, who continues his inexcusable attempts to salvage Paterno’s reputation, needs to stop. There is no excuse.

This article may be short, but like what Penn State should do with Paterno’s legacy, there is nothing more to say.

  1. I completely agree with you, man. Paterno’s failure to take action when he knew that young boys were being repeatedly sexually abused is unforgivable. I am not a football fan, but I hope that even those that are understand that there are most certainly things more important than sports, and turning a blind eye to the defiling of innocent, impressionable young boys whose welfare you have an obligation to protect is one of them. You are quite right. Paterno’s callous disregard for the boys under his care, and his desire to shield the university from negative publicity rather than do what is right, moral, and just, is a stain on the university that should and must be expunged. I hope that this experience serves as lesson to those who would seek to put profit over principle in the future that this country can and should not stand for this behavior. As you write, there is nothing more to say.

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