Through the controversy surrounding the Penn State football program in 2012, the college’s board of trustees has decided that the statue of late coach Joe Paterno that stands on campus will remain standing despite some public outcry that the statue should be removed. The decision isn’t 100% permanent, but for the time being Joe Paterno’s statue is not going anywhere.
Despite the damning evidence provided by the Freeh report that showed that Paterno was involved in a cover-up for convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, the board of trustees has agreed that for the time being it would be in their best interests to leave the statue of the legendary coach standing for now.
“It has to stay up,” a trustee said regarding the decision. “We have to let a number of months pass, and we’ll address it again. But there is no way, no way. It’s just not coming down. They don’t get to tell us. This is a Penn State community decision.””
I think that AOL’s sporting news said it best in regards to the statue controversy:
The trustees do not want to succumb to emotional outcries and media pressure to have the bronze statue taken down. They also are sensitive to the many alumni and students who hold on to adoration for the man who was a part of the program for 61 years.
Since the Freeh report revealed Paterno’s role in covering up Jerry Sandusky’s numerous instances of child abuse, everyone from former coaches like Bobby Bowden, commentators and a good portion of the public have demanded the Paterno statue be torn down as soon as possible. Some have also called for the removal of Paterno’s name from the university library even though the Paterno family has donated more than $4 million to the university in the over 60 years that the Paterno’s have been involved with the University.
Personally, I agree with the board. While I totally understand that Joe Paterno’s reputation and legacy are irreversibly tarnished, a lot of times people call for things like this out of pure emotion brought on by the situation. Over time, as high emotions and tension die down, it will be much easier to make a decision regarding what legacy Joe Paterno should have on campus. I think that so many people were simply shocked when these allegations came about that instead of thinking clearly, they let their emotions take over. As time passes, people will realize that Joe Paterno made a big mistake, and that it was one of his life’s biggest regrets. Despite that, he dedicated over 60 years to the university of Penn State and its football program and even though his legacy is damaged pretty badly, the good that he did in his lifetime should outweigh the bad.
Only time will tell on this one. In a few months the board of trustees will deliberate again and the legacy of a once admired, now questioned legend of the gridiron will be cemented. All that I ask, just as the board of trustees has, is that fans of Penn State and football in general be patient. Decisions will be made, but to jump the gun would be a bad idea.
Yes, he made a mistake.
Yes, his legacy is damaged beyond repair.
No, he doesn’t deserve to have his entire life and career torn apart for a mistake he made.