“This has nothing to do with football,” stated Joe Paterno referring to the now infamous child molestation cases last November. Since his death however and the subsequent release of Freeh Report, we have learned that coach Paterno was right in a crude manner. The sex scandal was about much more than football. In the last few days, we all shirked listening to how Paterno and Penn State officials helped a sexual predator molest children for over 14 years. The conspiracy detailed how the most powerful men at Penn State turned their backs on helpless children. The fallout from the tragedy has polarized fans of college football. There is talk of Penn State deserving the death penalty and the Nittany Lions possibly not being eligible for bowl games. I contend there is, however, three solid reasons why the statue of Joe Paterno should be demolished immediately.
Fans and Hero Worshipping
First, thousands of Penn State and sports fans believed Joe Paterno was Godlike and the good he had done is represented by his statue. I woefully disagree with their shortsightedness and insist that the statue should be removed immediately. The only remembrance of this sordid calamity should be the sexually abused children at the hands of the Penn State Football organization. Sports fans are misguided and soaked in the mist of hero worshiping way too much in America. College sports and men’s sports in particular have made Gods of men just because they win games. This is foolishness of the highest order. Our obsession with sports figures is out of whack. how do you argue to remember a man who organizes a cover up of child rape?
I contend nothing is lower than hiding a child sexual predator and Paterno did just that. Let us be in agreement, we have a warped affliction with men like Paterno. After all, we see the All-American man when we see these men, our John Wayne of college sports. We believe so much in these mythical figures that we lose our ability to think critically. Nonetheless, the fans of Joe Paterno needed his persona like an addict needs a fix. The hyperrealism of sports figures allow us to argue on their behalf regardless of their ills. In the end these men are human after all. Paterno demonstrated this by making the worst mistake of his life i.e., hiding the crimes of a sex offender. Why give him a statue for that?
Joe Paterno Had the Power to Stop Sandusky
Joe Paterno was the most powerful man on the Penn State campus. Yet, the report indicated he thought nothing about the victims but only about the Penn State brand and his image. Jerry Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator, was provided free reign even after the 1998 sexual rape allegation. Shockingly, this sexual predator was given keys to all the athletic facilities. Coach Paterno could have had Sandusky arrested on the spot. His passing the buck is inexcusable and reeks of cowardice. He had the power to insure this man would never hurt young boys at least on PSU property ever again. Yet, again, he did nothing.
Why did he allow his friend to have access to accommodations used to molest boys? What was Paterno thinking? We must color it correctly the buck at Penn State stopped with Joe Paterno. Sadly, we now know the greatest scandal in college history happened on his watch. I suggest the remembrance of the victims is the only worthy cause from this catastrophe and not the man who should have stopped it: Joe Paterno. Take it down now.
What about the Children
93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker. Coach Jerry Sandusky was allowed to frequently bring young boys on the Penn State campus after the football and school officials were aware of a prior sexual abuse allegation. The Freeh’s reports indicated that Coach Paterno as far back as 1998 was aware of his friend’s crimes and he did nothing to secure the children. And let us be frank, Sandusky was a friend of the Penn State football organization. I ask you, would a professor, janitor, or athlete with matching allegations receive such clemency? PSU football officials held Sandusky secrets only until the Freeh report shined the light upon the depth of their evilness.
As a former college football star I understand athletic privileges. Athletic programs get away with a lot, trust me. With that said, Penn State football was given special treatment in other areas I assure you. All the same, what must we do as a society to never see something like this happen again? First, stop worshipping men as Gods because they coach a sport. Second, although the child abuse victim of the PSU Football Organization may never recover the excavation of Paterno’s statue is a step in helping with closure. The victims are being lost in the fight to save a legacy of a man who failed them. They deserve the statue, so we can remember, never again.
In closing, Paterno fans believe he was a God and he was not. Not surprisingly, he was flawed like the rest of us. Unfortunately, however, he may have relished in his hero status thrust upon him and became blinded by its glare. Nonetheless, his legacy and Penn State’s is tied with the worst sexual scandal ever to take place on a college campus. Now we must never allow this to happen again. We must remain critical of our heroes for who else watches them on earth? “This had nothing to do with football,” stated Joe Paterno. Sadly coach you were right and so drastically wrong. Remove the statue and return him to his humanness posthumously.