Last Modified: Friday, July 20, 2012 7:38 PM
First they want to bring down his statue, now some want to wash away his record.
Joe Paterno can no longer fight his enemies or even defend his actions.
He passed away earlier this year with any demons he had left in his soul.
Still, some seem ready to continue to kick him while he’s in his grave.
Rumors say Penn State will take down soon the statue of Paterno, its legendary and record-setting football coach.
Last week we found out that the little city of Grambling, right here in Louisiana, has petitioned the NCAA to do away with some of Joe Pa’s wins.
No doubt the city would like the record cleared of just enough to make Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson once again the career record holder when it comes to coaching victories in the NCAA’s top level.
Both actions seem more than a little self-serving.
I don’t hear anybody from Penn State talking about giving back any of the money Paterno raised for the library which bears his name. Nor is the school willing to give back any of the dollars earned by the wins his football team posted or bowl appearances they earned.
And not one person has suggested that the school give back either of the national championship trophies won by Paterno’s Nittany Lions.
But the statue, well let’s just bring that down. And his name, can we wipe it from the record book now? It all seems like we are willing to claim the good and toss away the bad.
The simple fact is Paterno, like many others around us, was flawed. We tend to want our world to be in black and white, but it is not. The world is covered in shades of gray.
That may not sit well when it comes to things like the Penn State travesty, but it is true.
Nobody is perfect.
Paterno, while clearly no hero in the mess, is also not the ultimate villain. The real crime was committed by one man, Jerry Sandusky.
He has been convicted and has been sent away for the rest of his life. We don’t have to deal with him.
And while it now appears Paterno may have not done enough, we only can hope now that the rest of us would do better.
But let’s face it, few of us will ever be confronted with anything like this. If we are, not only should we have learned from Paterno’s mistakes, we should promise to do better.
That doesn’t mean all the good the man did should be washed away. It, along with the negative, is not going to be forgotten by pulling down a statue or changing some number in a book.
The statue should stand. Perhaps it should be changed some, but it could easily remain as a reminder of not only what can be good in college sports but also what can be bad.
It should be a place where all can go to remember a man who helped so many, and forget about the few who needed him the most.
It could serve as a memorial to the victims of all child abuse cases. Paterno’s lips are not the only ones to have stayed sealed over the years, just the most legendary.
The statue and new memorial could become a place where folks gather to discuss such topics that are often left unsaid at our own dinner tables, where we can see what happens to a man when he lets his own image get in the way of the truth.
It should be made a place to heal, not one to leave an everlasting scare.
As for the record book, we should not even start going there.
We have left alone the numbers and names of men who did far worse than Paterno but were also accomplished on their fields of games.
Changing Joe Paterno’s win total doesn’t make him any less of a football coach, or any more of a villain. And it doesn’t help the legacy of Eddie Robinson either.
We put numbers and statues up to call attention to the good in people. We can also do it to remind us of the bad.
Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: Silvin On: 7/22/2012
Title: Tax payer
You are so right !! Some people do not know what forgiveness is??