You’ve likely noticed that the MotSaG crew has been rather restrained on the PSU Scandal. Last year, we addressed our outrage in our Failures of Courage column, and left the sordid situation alone to ferment on its own.
Today the (in)famous Paterno statue was torn down. If you listen to most PSU fans, the removal is an overreaction and a kowtowing to the MSM’s unfair scapegoating of Paterno for the scandal. But these fans aren’t thinking big-picture: the removal had nothing to do with that at all.
The Paterno family jumped on the opportunity to draw more attention to themselves by issuing a statement. Paraphrasing part of that statement:
“Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims… Despite this obviouslyflawed and one-sided presentation [of the Freeh report], the University believes it must acquiesce and accept that Joe Paterno has been given a fair and complete hearing. We think the better course would have been for the University to take a strong stand in support of due process so that the complete truth can be uncovered… It is not the University’s responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board and other key players is far from complete.”
Leaving aside the obvious smoke and mirrors (‘hey everyone, forget that Freeh released emails proving Paterno perjured himself and lied to everyone for 12 years, look over here! something shiny!!’), it misses the entire point of why the statue HAD to be moved to a “more secure location.”
The statue wasn’t torn down to serve the victims. It wasn’t torn down to “keep Paterno from due process.”
It was torn down for PR purposes only.
Had the statue remained, it would have required security officers to guard it 24/7. Otherwise, it would have been vandalized, abused, and had funny and/or obscene pictures hung on it for eternity. It’s really that simple.
It was a lose-lose situation: Leave the statue for the angry mobs to deface, with imagery forwarded through the Internet at can-has-cheeseburger speed and on TV every Saturday; or guard it and suffer the negative PR of metaphorically defending a man who covered up pedophilia just to win football games. Lose-lose.
Also, keep in mind the context: the statue was removed one day before the NCAA hands down its “unprecedented” sanctions against PSU. You don’t think the administrators weren’t worried about the statue’s well being in whatever wake of anger will flow through State College this week?
The BOT removed the statue because otherwise, the statue becomes Paterno’s legacy. They’re doing the same thing they did when they fired him – protecting PSU’s brand, not Paterno’s.