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Paterno Statue Removal is the Correct Call

 

Penn State President Rodney Erickson decided on Sunday to remove the iconic Joe Paterno Statue outside of Beaver Stadium. With all that has come out recently at Penn State, this is a decision that had to be made. The recently released Freeh Report implicated Joe Paterno and three other university administrators in playing key roles in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse cover-up.

Penn State merchandise Joe Paterno and his legacy has been the most polarizing aspect of the entire Penn State situation. As an alumnus and a season ticket holder, I have gone back and forth on my feeling towards Paterno. He was a great football coach who gave his life and money to make Penn State one of the best universities in the country. However, Paterno will now always been known for plotting to cover up one of the most horrific scandals in history. His legacy is forever tarnished.

It is for that reason that Erickson had to make the decision to remove the statue as soon as possible. If the statue were to remain outside the stadium, the public outcry would have only grown stronger. One could only imagine the hordes of loud protestors outside of every Penn State home game this year (assuming the program is not shut down).

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According to the Freeh Report, Paterno knew that innocent children were being victimized and did not do everything in his power to stop it. Because of that, the shrine that memorializes him could not remain outside of the most recognizable landmark on campus. Instead, I think it should be replaced by a Penn State Wall of Honor. This would be a shrine to the Penn State football program. It would feature plaques and pictures of past players and accomplishments. Because it would focus on the program as a whole, I feel that it would be appropriate to feature Paterno on at least a small plaque. After all, no one can deny that Joe Paterno made Penn State football into the great program that it is today.

Yes, Paterno made a grave mistake that is still difficult to grasp. However, erasing him completely from the history of a program that he built is also a mistake. Clearly, removing the shrine to Paterno the individual is the correct decision but, Joe Paterno the legendary football coach needs to always have his place somewhere in Penn State Football history.

By Barry Leonard
BigTen-Fans.com Staff Writer

 

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