Statue of Joe Paterno


I suspect there will be calls for the toppling of Joe Paterno’s statue now that the public has a good idea that he was involved in protecting Jerry Sandusky. I know this will be an unpopular stance, but I think it needs to stay where it is…forever. If this statue was initially constructed to evoke pride and to glorify the popular coach, it now can serve a much deeper and higher calling, it can spawn a wave of contemplation on the complexities of life, the ups and downs, the decisions we make. This statue can remind us that no one is perfect, not the winning-est coach, not the president of an university. It can remind us that while the truth hurts, hiding the truth can hurt much worse. It can remind you that no matter how successful you are, you should never marginalize the strife of the poor, the young, or the vulnerable. When I look at this statue, I think about the power of accountability, how the tragic stories of abuse became diluted as they passed from janitor to supervisor, from assistant coach to head coach to athletic director, from athletic director to university president, the horrific action, went from first hand accounts of tragic abuse, to emails on amicably releasing an employee with compensation. You can look at this statue and say, “I would have stopped this.”, but you wouldn’t have, too many people from all walks of life had an opportunity to halt this tragic series of events and they didn’t, the sample size is big enough, you would not have stopped this from happening, whether you were the police (involved), the janitor (involved), the psychologist (involved), athletic director (involved), university president (involved), assistant coach (involved), or head coach (involved). This statue can remind us, that we need to be accountable, we have the power and responsibility to improve this world, no matter our role, we can do better.

One thought on “Statue of Joe Paterno

  1. U really made me see both sides of the statue issue. I say “erect” a status of RKDeem right behind JoePa re-enacting the shower scene.

    Like

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