The Paterno Statue Needs to Come Down

Joe Paterno was a good man. The Freeh report cannot change that. I refuse to let one dark cloud, even if it is of the blackest kind, define the decades of service and good deeds he has done. Jeopa insisted on his players going to class; his graduation rate was far above that of nearly all division-1 NCAA football programs. Coaches these days rarely have the character Coach Paterno had. I once heard him say if he could not make his ball players better people, then he failed as a coach. He was the longest tenured coach in football, and the most successful up to the day he was fired. Even with all that success he lived in a modest middle class home. His football program gave to the University, rather than the University give him millions of dollars. As a Wildcat I would be elated to see Coach John Calipari live and give the way Joe Paterno did; for all but one event.

He was the last of a dying breed. One who put his integrity, his family and his community first. Joe Paterno had a great heart. There is a reason the people of College Town love, and somehow try to defend him to this day. That, above all, should send the message if his character: the very people whom he allowed to be victimized still revere him. He was more than just football; he was a hero–for all the right reasons. The people of University Park are not stupid, they are not letting a villain off the hook as some have suggested, nor are they enablers. Those labels imply that they do not care about what happened. Of course they care! This is their town, their team, and their tradition decimated. They still love Joe PA because they lived with him; they saw first-hand the caliber of his life. They are sensible enough to know this one terrible lack of judgment does not change the man he was. His statue was erected for more than just winning. His coaching was focused on more than just winning.

Edmund Burke wrote that “All that is necessary for the triumph of is that good men do nothing.” Never have we had a more tragic example one of the best men in sports somehow, tragically, selfishly, xxx doing nothing. Because he did nothing dozens of innocent children had their lives changed, many of them ruined forever. The good man stood by idly while his assistant repeatedly committed the crime even Jesus found worthy of capital punishment. I have already called his life good, serving, charactered, honest, humble, giving, and charitable. These things are all true; which is exactly what makes the Freeh report so hard to tackle. For one event in his life he was bad, selfish, immoral, dishonest, arrogant, secretive, and manipulative. I said he put his character, integrity, family and community first; that coaching meant more than winning. Yet for one event he punted on his morals, putting his record, his legacy, his wins, and himself first; but I refuse to let that re-define every bit of good he worked so hard to achieve.

Michael Wilbon, and ESPN host and analyst, reminds us of the reality of the situation. Enough people want to see the statue come down that it will come down one way or another. Vandalism will be a constant threat, and it is unreasonable for the university to have to guard it full time. It could be removed, and taken to a museum, where it can be put in a case and protected, where his legacy can be honored like the statue. In front of the football stadium this will never happen. If it is not destroyed it will be decimated and defecated. It needs to come down.

Coach Bobby Bowden, who has more wins than any coach save Joe Paterno, makes an excellent point. The statue would just remind everybody of this tragic event. Joe Paterno, the University, and the people of University Park, Pennsylvania deserve better. Penn State, their fans, their students, and that town will never be able to rebuild if the statue stays. Every Saturday in the fall will be mired by the memory; the focus will never again be football. Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger, Ray Lewis, and Michael Vick were all able to rebuild their public image after felony accusations, some of which were centered on murder and child rape. Were Coach Paterno still here he could make amends the way others have after such terrible events; but he is not, and he cannot. The University owes it to his family. The University owes it to the innocent football players whose own games and livelihood will always be overshadowed by events out of their control. Most of all the University owes it Joe Paterno. Let him rest in peace.

Joe Paterno was a good man. That, above all else, is why the statue needs to come down.

–Matt Young

15 July, 2012


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I am studying to achieve a double major in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky. I am married to a wonderful woman named Sierra. I am starting this blog because I feel the political climate in Washington is carving deep canyons for our children to climb out of. Our representatives, on both sides of the isle, do not represent us, they represent the lobbyists.This blog is not to give answers, but to make people think. I believe the more we think about our ideas the better they will become; as opposed to becoming more and more intrenched in far left or right wing brainwash, where it seems nobody thinks anymore. I hope y'all enjoy.

Posted on July 16, 2012, in Patriotslog Articles, Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. The grand jury looked at all the evidence, much much more than what has been made public, and they found no reason to accuse him of attempting to cover it up. Your right he dropped the ball, and your right that a terrible lack of judgement led to terrible decision making. Even still, none of that makes him a bad man. From the details Joe Paterno was given it is possible to think that Jerry Sandusky was not raping a child in 2001 because he only knew what Mike Mcqueary told him. He gave his good friend the bennefit of the doubt, which he should not have done, and he did not go to police when the people he reported it to didnt do enough, which he should have done. Everyone of us has a friend that has done something we could not believe they could have done; if this is how Paterno felt about Sandusky, and given the lack of the credibility of the witness Joe could have (even though it certainly was poor judgement) truly thought Sandusky was innocent. Again, it was terrible judgement, terrible decision making, and Joe dropped the ball. You speak as though you think he knew all along that this was happening, and he did not care at all. What I am saying is that there is absolutely no evidence to support that hypothesis; if there was the grand jury would have accused him too. Because there is no evidence to say that he did know i use the 60 years of great works and character to support my opinion that he did not know. It was terrible decision making and terrible judgement, but those dont make him a bad person. If more evidence comes out that shows he did know, I would agree with you 100%, but until that happens I cannot look at the evidence we have now and conclude he was a bad man. What we have right now shows he was a good man who tradgically failed in this situation.

  2. The problem with this is that people are not reading all the facts. First, the Freeh report could not obtain all the facts because they had no power of subpena; therefore, they could only look at the emails and interviews Penn State provided them with. They could not interview anyone connected with the actual trial due to legal regulations. In the 1998 incedent an investigative team, the police, and the district attorney all concluded (especially since the child’s story mathced Sandusky’s, though im not naive enough to think that could not have been pre-fabricated) that there was no evidence of any crime. If police and law enforcement concluded this, what was Joe Paterno to do more than they? Penn State employees have said showering together was a regular thing in the locker room (that does not make it right, just that it would not have alarmed Joe Paterno) so why asume there was abuse? As for “coach being anxious” to know where the investigation stands; this can just as easily mean that he is shocked by it, and wants to know if Sandusky is guilty or not, as it could tht he was trying to cover it up. Both are possibilities to any objective observer. Given Joe Paterno’s (at this point) 50 years of good works, i happen to believe it was the former.
    In 2001 we run into the Mike McQueary problem. He has changed his story at least 4 times. First he saw nothing sexual, only them showering together (which, again, was a common, though questionable activity) saying he thought he heard something. Then he says he was not sure he saw intercourse, but sure he say something sexual. Then he says he saw intercourse. Also, first he said he went to his father, and his father went to Coach Paterno. Then we were told he went to Paterno himself. Then we were told he went to police.
    Given his own timeline (and using either scenerio, him or his father going to Paterno) his report to Coach Paterno would have been along the lines of “hey coach, i cant be sure of this, in fact i didnt see anything at all, but there is a small chance that Sandusky could have possibly been involved in a sexual activity.” Hearing that, and being given no evidence, or even a credible witness, it would be sensable for Joe to do what he did, go to the AD and school president. I see no evidence of coverup by Joe Paterno, only the other Penn State brass, and a grand jury agreed, which is why they did not acuse Paterno of anything, but they did the other three. I am not saying Sandusky is innocent, i thuroughly believe he guilty. However, with the evidence given I cannot asume Paterno was actively covering it up. Yes he should have done more. He should have talked to Sandusky, he should have followed through with the brass, he should have gone to he police, and he should have known that two accusations in three years is more than just coincedence. That is why he made a terrible mistake, he had a horible lack in judgement; he should have done more. That is why what he did is terrible, but Joe Paterno was a good man. We cannot judge him the same way we do Sandusky, it is a different set of circumstances and evidence; an honest person would consider those independantly and unbiased of Sandusky. The grand jury did this, which is why they did not acuse Paterno.

  3. Donna Mattingly

    Oh come on!! Seriously? First his home may have been meager but what about his $3.5 mil beach home? Which he sold to his wife for $1.00 right before the Sandusky scandal broke? But really? Who cares? Let’s not get bogged down with petty facts.

    He KNEW that Sandusky had molested a child and did NOTHING. He was not a good man. He should not be given a pass in this situation. This is not a circumstance of him making a mistake. We all make those. It’s a matter of him keeping quiet for 14 years. FOURTEEN !!!! And if he could have prevented one child from being abused and didn’t, then he is a horrible, heinous man. A good man protects the innocent. A good man challenges evil. A good man puts helpless children before his career. He did none of these things. He KNEW. And he kept quiet. End of discussion.
    And people are worried about his statue??!!! Poor little statue may be defiled??!! But wait! Oh. Police have been called in to protect it? Thank goodness. Because its very important. It’s someone’s legacy. Not like the children he defiled. Because obviously they were not as important.

    • Donna Mattingly

      As an adult, a leader, and a coach it was his duty to protect those children. ANY suggestion of impropriety should have been followed up on. By the police. And people who are trained to do this. He dropped the ball. Plain and simple. He refused to protect innocents. That makes him a bad man. That makes him guilty. I’m tired of people excusing themselves for lack of character. Man up. He should have told. And he should have made sure there was an investigation. Children need to be protected. By everyone. I’m sure if the situation were reversed he would have wanted someone to speak up for his child. And as far as that man changing his story – I’m sure he was trying to cover his own butt. This is a horrible case of I need to make sure I’m good and to heck with everyone else.

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