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Bob Lobel: Tear Down Joe Paterno’s Statue and Begin the Healing Process

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

 

Bob Lobel, GoLocalWorcester Sports Contributor

It has to come down.

Until Monday, I felt the right thing to do about the Joe Paterno statue was wait patiently until all relevant court cases were completed. Patience does not appear to be a virtue in all this Penn State chaos.

The statue of Joe Paterno that still stands at Penn State's Beaver Stadium has come to symbolize all the evil that has come to light in the past year. The statue is no longer a tribute to Paterno, but a reminder of what he, a supposed leader of young men, did not do.

Now the statue will no longer stand as tribute to "Saint" Joe Paterno, as it had for so many years. Rather, it will serve as a reminder of what happened under his watch at Penn State. The statue remains a dividing point. In the coming weeks it will surely be both spit on and kissed, and its whole reason for being there will be misunderstood.

I have come to the conclusion that the only reason it still stands is to stir up controversy. Statues, when they are erected, are usually done so with the idea they will stand "forever." This is an exception, much like Saddam Hussein's in Iraq.

If Penn State were to keep the statue, it would not promote healing, in my opinion. It serves no purpose anymore, except one of evil consequences. Take it down. Joe is dead, and Sandusky will never walk the streets of State College again. What is left now is the clean up and healing.

Should Joe Paterno's statue remain standing at Penn State?

Paterno's legacy is a part of that cleanup, and that is something his family will have to deal with as more information about what he did and did not know comes out. It remains to be seen exactly what the Four Horsemen of the Penn State Apocalypse (not my line), former school president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Shultz, suspended athletic director Tim Curly, and Paterno all knew.

But we know this, they all knew something.

Still, their trials (outside of Paterno's, obviously) will determine the collateral damage to those involved. Maybe Joe will be responsible for bringing them all down, who knows at this point? Maybe other facts will emerge that takes one or two of them off the hook. We shall see.

One thing I am sure about, though, is that the NCAA should NOT get involved in this. As a lawyer friend of mine said, "this is a big boy case." It is not a case for the bureaucratic, back-scratching organization that supposedly regulates college sports. The NCAA should stick to impermissible cars and tattoos, because they are way out of their league here.

And by the way, now resigned Penn State president Greg Spanier was a big player in NCAA rule making during his time in Happy Valley, often citing his own university as the "high and mighty" way to combine athletics and academics. What a joke that turned out to be.

So, take down the statue for the right reasons. Not out of anger, but so that the healing can begin. Let the truth come out. Finally, officials should try to find the boy Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky assaulting in the shower. As terrible as it is, his story is a part of this, and the whole truth should be a part of this investigation.  

 

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