FanDuel - WFBC

July 22, 2012

Penn State Removes Paterno Statue Ahead of 'Unprecedented' Punishment: Penn State removed the 900-pound bronze statue of Joe Paterno from outside the campus stadium this weekend ahead of "unprecedented" punishment due to be announced Monday against the school by the NCAA. "I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse," said Penn State president Rodney Erickson.

posted by grum@work to general at 10:37 AM - 23 comments

Paterno's statue to be removed.

The 900-pound bronze statue, outside Beaver Stadium, will be stored in a "secure location."

posted by grum@work at 09:18 AM on July 22

Hard to fathom the roller coaster ride that Bill O'Brien has been on.

Hired out of the blue to replace Paterno after the dizzying sequence of events of late 2011 and with Paterno still alive. Is immediately skewered as the second coming of Ron Zook.

Two weeks later, Paterno dies, and is temporarily elevated to martyr or saint status in some quarters.

Freeh report comes out, making the job both easier (not replacing a saint after all) and tougher (who is going to want to play for PSU now?).

Heavy NCAA sanctions now on the way.

Whatever fortitude O'Brien possesses, he'll need every ounce of it on 24 hour call.

posted by beaverboard at 10:32 AM on July 22

At this point PSU could not have kept the statue of Paterno up. Paterno's legacy is too tarnished. If folks saw the statue now, conversation would turn more to the Sandusky Paterno instead of the football-accomplishments Paterno. A reminder of a horrible time and shameful actions.

posted by roberts at 10:37 AM on July 22

Look at all the cops lined up today for security at the statue. If only one of them had been called in 2001 this day never happens.

posted by rcade at 10:45 AM on July 22

It's the right decision, though. As much as I felt the statue should be removed, at least it's not being destroyed. I also liked Rodney Erickson's explanation for his decision.

Sanctioned being levied tomorrow, that's a mild surprise to me. It's saying that Penn St. is essentially caving to public pressure to account for everything that's happened. But I don't say that like it's a bad thing, either. They need to deal with the inevitable, and the sooner the better for everyone involved. Now, if they can make restitution to Sandusky's victims just as quickly, Penn St. will have done all they can do up to this point. Everything else will now point to Curley and Schultz and their upcoming trials.

posted by NerfballPro at 10:45 AM on July 22

Rumor has it they're not getting rid of it entirely, just moving it to the library as a reminder to keep quiet.

posted by keylimeguy at 11:03 AM on July 22

Paterno's family says removing his statue "does not serve the victims."

posted by rcade at 11:04 AM on July 22

Paterno's family says removing his statue "does not serve the victims."

Nor did its installation, three years after its subject had decided that his program was more important than keeping kids from being raped.

posted by Etrigan at 11:20 AM on July 22

Paterno's family says removing his statue "does not serve the victims."

I find it strange that they think they're an authority on what serves the victims. Let them speak for themselves, especially considering Joe did such a poor job speaking for them in the first place.

posted by dfleming at 11:26 AM on July 22

Paterno's family says removing his statue "does not serve the victims."

"Plus, it absolutely doesn't serve us either."

posted by NerfballPro at 11:53 AM on July 22

It must suck to be his wife and children and watch him become a persona non grata at Penn State. But they seem to be utterly incapable of understanding how comments like that will be received. It is offensive for them to presume they can speak for the victims.

posted by rcade at 01:08 PM on July 22

Good riddance.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:43 PM on July 22

posted by rcade at 12:15 AM on July 23

Paterno was no child molester. He reportedly sank some $4,000,000 of his own money for academic purposes in Penn State, and was instrumental in raising the school from second rate to first. In gratitude for these efforts, the university, in its infinite wisdom, tore down his statue. Hopefully, alumni present and future will consider this meanspiritedness of this action when approached by school fund raisers.

posted by EEEEE at 01:58 AM on July 23

Look, man, we've been through this I don't know how many times.

The preponderance of evidence - including emails written by Paternoster - prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knew Sandusky was raping boys on the Penn State campus and actively tried to cover it up.

Through his actions (and inaction) he helped create the circumstances that allowed other boys to be raped.

Let's imagine you have a child. That child gets raped by his assistant coach of his football team. The head coach is your dear friend. When you find out about the rape, you call the police and in the process of the investigation, you lern that your best friend the coach knew the guy had raped a bunch of kids before but didn't tell the police.

Are you going to say, hey buddy, it's a shame you didn't call the police, thus preventing my child from being raped, but hey it isn't like you raped him yourself?

Or would you feel all right about your child getting raped if your buddy, the protector of he rapist, paid several million dollars to the Local library? How much money would he have to donate before it was all right that he protected the guy who raped your kid?

Would he be somebody you felt was worthy of veneration?

The evidence is in the report. If actual factual evidence doesn't convince you that Paterno did something monstrous here, I suggest you might be in a deep state of denial here. Think about the kids who would not have been raped if Paterno had turned the monster in to the police when he first knew. Then ask yourself if a statue of him belongs anywhere.

posted by Joey Michaels at 02:24 AM on July 23

The thing that I don't think get talked about nearly enough is that this could have happened anywhere. And only in this respect could anyone be said to be coming down "hard" on Joe Paterno.

At any college or organization that has an "internal" policing and judicial system that is meant to address problems on campus, but that is stewarded by those who primary goal is to protect the image of the university, this type of thing could happen.

I don't want to be confused with the apologist, but maybe Joe Paterno wasn't such a bad guy. To borrow a line from the idea of "systemic racism," maybe Paterno never did one thing that crossed the line, but the cumulative effect of his power on campus was to disable the system of review, or tilt it to his advantage, or to that of his players, or to those affiliated with his program. To such an extreme even, given his legacy at Penn State, that children could be molested under his watch and those inquiries would have to be shut down. Just look at Vicki Triponey's experience at Penn State as former VP of student affairs.

Again, my point is this could happen anywhere. And the reason I say that is because something like this has happened to me recently on a much smaller scale, and I've decided to speak out against some members of my community, and let me tell you it is very hard to fight against those who are older and more entitled from within the system when they've done something wrong.

posted by phaedon at 03:41 AM on July 23

Seriously, if you don't have time to read the whole Freeh report, look at the reports linked here earlier. There's a paper trail of evidence that Paterno knew what Sandusky was doing as early as 1998 and encouraged the administration to cover it up.

Unless the argument is that Paterno, as an guy from another generation, didn't know that child rape was that big a deal in 1998, I'm not sure how we can see this as a situation where he wasn't such a bad guy.

I admit, this is an emotional issue for me. I'm an educator. If I saw anyone doing anything to one of my students I would immediately stop it and call the police. If somebody came to me and told me somebody was doing something to one of my students, I would call the police. Indeed, if I heard somebody was doing something to a student I didn't even know on our campus, the police would be called.

So maybe I lack empathy for Paterno and don't understand the very good reasons why encouraging the Penn State administration not to call the police on Sandusky in 1998 was actually better, in the long run, for the kids Sandusky raped.

Phaedon, I'm not saying you are an apologist and don't think anything negative about you or EEEEE at all - just read the report - it really is eye opening to learn the degree to which Paterno both knew what was happening and was actively involved in encouraging a cover up. It certainly erased any doubts I had.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:16 AM on July 23

The preponderance of evidence - including emails written by Paternoster - prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knew Sandusky was raping boys on the Penn State campus and actively tried to cover it up.

I don't think there are any emails from Paterno. There are emails from the others referencing conversations with Paterno.

At any college or organization that has an "internal" policing and judicial system that is meant to address problems on campus, but that is stewarded by those who primary goal is to protect the image of the university, this type of thing could happen.

This is absolutely true. I question the wisdom of having university police and student disciplinary proceedings for crimes. Schools should report every crime to the city/state police and hand over all available evidence.

And the reason I say that is because something like this has happened to me recently on a much smaller scale, and I've decided to speak out against some members of my community, and let me tell you it is very hard to fight against those who are older and more entitled from within the system when they've done something wrong.

This is true as well. And, this is true for other individuals involved in this that weren't powerful (e.g., McQueary). This is not true for Paterno. He would not have faced any real pushback. He was the most powerful person on campus. The others involved in this scandal also included very powerful people on campus (the President even).

So maybe I lack empathy for Paterno and don't understand the very good reasons why encouraging the Penn State administration not to call the police on Sandusky in 1998 was actually better, in the long run, for the kids Sandusky raped.

Police investigated the 1998 case and they closed the case without any charges.

posted by bperk at 05:50 AM on July 23

$60 million fine, 4-year bowl ban, 13 years of wins vacated......they weren't kidding

posted by NerfballPro at 09:13 AM on July 23

Paterno was no child molester.

Paterno facilitated and enabled Jerry Sandusky's reign of abuse, molestation and rape.

Paterno talked about leadership and honour. He exhibited neither of these qualities in his (in)actions for well more than a decade with regard to Sandusky's actions.

He reportedly sank some $4,000,000 of his own money for academic purposes in Penn State, and was instrumental in raising the school from second rate to first. In gratitude for these efforts, the university, in its infinite wisdom, tore down his statue. Hopefully, alumni present and future will consider this meanspiritedness of this action when approached by school fund raisers.

Who cares about money that he donated to the university?

Because he took tax writeoffs, is that supposed to justify, or whitewash his ignoring the fact that he employed an child abuser, molester and rapist?

Paterno was a coward, and a piece of shit for not protecting the most vulnerable & innocent members of our society, our children.

May he rot in hell.

posted by tommytrump at 09:24 AM on July 23

Hopefully, alumni present and future will consider this meanspiritedness of this action when approached by school fund raisers.

I think most people, even in the Penn State community, will recognize that the loss of a statue is nothing compared to the suffering endured by the victims of a serial sexual predator.

posted by rcade at 09:42 AM on July 23

I'm not sure that something to this degree could have happened anywhere. A few places, perhaps. Paterno's influence within the university and presence in the region at large as a holy father figure was extraordinary.

I can think of very few other coaches who might have been able to conduct themselves and their program as Paterno did and gotten away with it.

Schembechler comes to mind. He was the be all and end all in Ann Arbor. John McKay at USC. Bear Bryant. Maybe one or two others.

But it is the suffocating culture of silence that Paterno presided over within the university and among area law enforcement organizations that is so remarkable. A scenario that includes everything from fearful janitors to missing and presumed dead prosecutors. You have to be a special breed of cat to make that happen.

Bob Knight was the lord and ruler of a whole state, but couldn't shake off the gathering clouds that trailed him around (throwing chairs doesn't help). Bobby Bowden became statue-eligible in Tallahassee, but couldn't keep his program from being dogged by a running stream of publicly splashed bad news.

Paterno not only ran an airtight institutional fiefdom, he also nurtured a myth so pervasive that believers became violent and disillusioned when the truth about it began to emerge. That is an accomplishment.

posted by beaverboard at 09:57 AM on July 23

When I was at FSU (early '90s), I worked in the office that handled student's punishments. Everyone knew that Bowden would never call the office, show up at a hearing, or in any other way involve himself in those cases. The word I heard was that he thought his mere presence would be too influential, which is probably true. It makes me wonder if that is the difference between the reputation of a stellar program (like Penn State) and a scandal plagued one (like FSU). How much of the dirt sees the light of day?

posted by bperk at 10:07 AM on July 23

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