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A legacy, gone

The iconic statue of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is gone, yet another victim in the ongoing child molestation scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

AP photo by John Beale, from boston.comThe art emplacement, which included a wall of football players following Paterno's leadership, was erected in 2001, just after Paterno set a record with 324 Division I victories as a coach.

In recent weeks, a careful investigation revealed that Paterno, along with some other school officials, knowingly covered up Sandusky's practice of molesting young boys, showing more concern for a colleague than for the children who were his victims.

Photo from, courtesy brobible.comA public outcry led to the removal of the statue on Sunday evening, which happened to be the six month anniversary of Paterno's death, and the night before the NCAA was set to release punitive sanctions against Penn State.

Those hurt most by the sanctions, however, will be the current football players, who had nothing to do with the scandal.

That is symbolized perfectly by the hauntingly empty wall behind the spot where Paterno's statue had been: vague stains of rust or tarnish mark the place where the players once stood. With his mixed-up loyalties and selective secret-keeping, Paterno led them not to victory, but to exile.


Reader Comments (2)

The NCAA did announce that Penn State players can transfer without having to sit out the normal year. However, transferring can be a hardship in itself and it is doubful that a player can transfer to another team in late July and expect to play somewhere this fall.

Jul 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave Stratton

One must always have concern for the victims. But sometimes bystanders can become victims as well.

It bothers me that the 1998 incident, apparently the first time that Paterno became aware of the problem, was reported, investigated, turned over the district attorney, and no further action by the prosecutor was taken.

If one takes the perspective of Paterno, he did what was right and nothing happened. But Sandusky was put out of the program by Penn State, in what seems like a negotiated retirement to get him out of the football program.

When next alerted to a problem, Paterno reported to his superiors. The only evidence that we have that he acted to cover up would not be admissible in court against him: an email from Curley to his superiors (and not to Paterno) that, after talking to Paterno, Curley decided against further action. That is hearsay at best, and an extrapolation from the actions of Curley as to what Paterno MIGHT have said. We do not know what Paterno actually said, or even if Curley actually talked to him. This might all be Curley using Paterno to bolster Curley's decision to cover up.

Dating penalties to 1998 seems out of line due to the fact that that incident was reported and the prosecuting attorney decided not to pursue charges. The PSU people did the right thing in that instance.

Jul 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAn Attorney

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