Tuesday, July 17, 2012
PENN STATE AND STATE OF THE STATUE
I can almost hear Allen Iverson now, "We're talking about a statue, not a person, but a statue.
We ain't talking about a living, breathing person, but a 7-foot, 900-pound piece of bronze.
No, no, no. We're talking about a statue, not a person, but a statue."
The look of disbelief that blanketed the former NBA MVP's face during that wildly
entertaining press conference in 2002 where he talked about practice vs. actual games, is
now washed across the faces of millions of people throughout the world, including mine.
Less than a week after the Freeh Report stated that Joe Paterno took part in a massive cover-up
that tried to shroud the most despicable crime in the history of college sports, a spokesman
for Penn State professed the university will decide in the "next 7-10 days" whether or not
the statue of the "legendary" football coach will stay up or come down. Well, thank you.
I guess I can sleep better now.
In essence, Penn State was just hoping the controversy surrounding the Paterno statue could
be swept under the rug, just as JoePa and the leaders of the university had prayed the
child-sex abuse scandal would be camouflaged, as well. School officials seemed to be hoping
for a quick rinse of the news cylce so they wouldn't have to make a difficult decision that
would have made them unpopular with a good majority of Nittany Lion Nation. They are
turning out to be just as cowardly as Paterno, who instead of doing the right thing, tried to
do what he felt was the right thing for his reputation and coaching "legacy."
This is so unbelievable that it's almost comical. Children were sexually abused on campus,
Paterno and the Penn State hierarchy tried to cover it up, and the football program might be
on the verge of the death penalty, and everybody in State College is worried about a statue.
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
I've heard people say that Penn State is nowhere close to what it is today without Joe Paterno.
Boy, isn't that the truth? Yes, he put a cow college on the map, leading the football team to
409 wins and two national championships. Every student and alumnus took great pride in
screaming, "We are... Penn State!" But Paterno also helped put the university in the predicament
it's in today. When Penn State is mentioned, those students and alumnae now say, "We are
not proud." This scandal has disgraced the university and ruined the lives of many children,
forever. Kids were raped on campus and all people are concerned about is some statue
outside the football stadium. What is wrong with this picture?
Nike gets it. As soon as the Freeh Report was released, Joe Paterno's name was ripped off
the child care center that's on the campus of the shoe company. A student organization that
runs the tent village outside of the football stadium gets it. They dropped "Paternoville" and
re-named it "Nittanyville". Not as catchy, but smart. A plane with a banner saying, "If you
don't remove statue, we will," has been doing flyovers in State College.
The statue of Paterno shows him leading his players with his right arm raised, his index
finger pointed skyward. It suggests that Penn State is the best, but it sure feels like
Paterno, is just looking out for number one. Paterno did a lot of good things for Penn State University, that's for sure. But he helped bring it down, as well. He lied. He looked away.
He didn't help those who couldn't help themselves. He always told his players to do the
right thing and have "success with honor," yet, he couldn't live by the laws that he laid down.
It's a sad, sad story. But there are a lot more important things than football, like protecting our children.
Paterno didn't do that and he shouldn't have a statue. It's a terrible reminder of evil, the
evil that he was a part of, and the evil that he tried to cover-up. The statue should come
down, because after all, we're talking about a statue.