Paterno Follow-upJuly 19, 2012
I do not think a death penalty at Penn State is the answer. I know the university certainly should pay for its gross negligence. But to me, NCAA justice is too late and punishes the wrong people. What do the current players (or coaches for that matter) have to do with what Jerry Sandusky did to boys in the shower years ago? I think Penn State’s reputation has been decimated enough. Without ever forgetting the past, maybe moving forward can help heal the campus community.
Joe Paterno had many supporters when he was alive. Now that he’s dead and the Freeh Report cast him in such a bad light, popular opinion has understandably shifted. But I don’t respect the people who lauded him when he was here totally turning into critics now that he’s not here. They just want to be seen on the “right” side of the issue. I’m not saying they should defend him, just be quiet and go away. Don’t try to enhance your status by trashing Paterno when it’s fashionable.
If Penn State is allowed to continue playing football, I would suggest that athletes would be safer there than just about anywhere else. Having been through hell, they will be more vigilant than anyone else to put in safeguards to prevent a reoccurrence.
Finally, I would bring the Paterno statue down. The victories he posted and the money he gave the university should be part of the total picture of what he left behind. But he is not a god and never was. Bring it down respectfully as a sign that the days of hero worship are over.