Sometimes ideas are just so bad that it’s absolutely mind-boggling that human beings actually conceive them. The plan to erect another statue honoring the late Joe Paterno in State College Pennsylvania may be among the kings of those bad ideas.
The argument behind this preposterous plan is that the State College community and Penn State alumni wanted this to be done. They felt Paterno needed to be honored for all he had done.
“There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli, one of the project organizers, stated. “We wanted to come up with a way to honor Joe for all that he did for the State College community. It wasn’t just the university he impacted — it was the whole town.”
Ted is right in one repsect – Paterno did indeed impact the whole town, and it’s unfathomable to think that the whole town is actually in support of this statue being erected.
The arguments can go on for days about who said what to who, and how long this person knew what happened in those shower stalls inside the Penn State athletic building, but there are certain facts that are undisputed — even by the late Paterno — that make this an amazingly inappropriate thing to do.
Former Penn State and trusted Joe Paterno assistant Jerry Sandusky is guilty of molesting young children, and using the facilities at Penn State, as well as his Second Mile charity foundation, to further his horrific guise.
And Joe Paterno knew about it. He didn’t deny that.
The most powerful man in one of the most powerful universities in the nation knew that young boys were in danger, or even had already been violated, and he did little to nothing to change that. He did the bare minimum. That is Joe Paterno’s legacy.
It doesn’t matter how much “good” he did for the school or the community. His transgression wasn’t texting potential recruits, or using video cameras to tape practices of opponents, or even income tax evasion. Just about any other wrongdoing could have been overlooked and outweighed by all the positive impact Joe Paterno made throughout the years.
But Paterno left children — children who had no way of defending themselves against a monster like Jerry Sandusky — in danger.
And the “whole town” wants to continue to honor this man? They want to erect another statue to give a constant reminder the victims and their families of the man who left them to be preyed upon by Sandusky? It’s unlikely that we’ve heard from all sides on this issue.
No, the blame doesn’t fall completely on Paterno, and those who assisted in creating the murky details that we all now have to attempt to sift through should (and will) receive their due punishment as well. But Paterno’s part in this string of atrocities can’t be overlooked – and certainly shouldn’t be celebrated.
If each and every one of Sanduky’s victims and their families came forth and said they are fine with a monument to Paterno being placed in the middle of their town, and that they were in support of the movement, then it would be fine. But as long as a single one of those victims feels uncomfortable or even further abused by seeing a tribute to secrecy and cronyism placed in their faces, then the idea shouldn’t even be discussed.
You want to erect a statue worthy of being in the town of State College – how about 10 headstones, each marking the death of trust and innocence by a defenseless child at the hands of Sandusky, with Paterno kneeling in front in tearful prayer, and the words “I’m sorry” inscribed on a note being clutched in his hand.