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Penn State: What Should They Do with Joe Paterno's Statue?

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  A statue of  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno is seen outside of Beaver Stadium on November 8, 2011 in University Park, Pennsylvania. Amid allegations that former assistant Jerry Sandusky was involved with child sex abuse, Paterno's weekly news conference was canceled about an hour before it was scheduled to occur. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Collin KottkeCorrespondent IIIJuly 13, 2012

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

- Winston Churchill

The Freeh Report states that: "In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university -- Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley -- repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse.”

That was Penn State’s strategy. They didn’t want bad publicity, which they now ultimately got anyway. The strategy might have been beautiful in their eyes, but it eventually came out, and it hurt more innocent children.

The Freeh Report condemns legendary head football coach Joe Paterno for having knowledge of Sandusky’s doings and covering it up, ultimately helping tarnish Paterno’s legacy. Part of that legacy is the statue of Paterno right outside Beaver Stadium where the Nittany Lions play.

Penn State has three options in regard to the statue: Leave it, move it elsewhere on campus or get rid of it entirely. Each option has its positives and negatives. The one thing we must all remember is that Penn State will always be strongly tied to Joe Paterno.

Paterno coached 45 seasons at Penn State and led the Nittany Lions to two national championships. None of that really matters anymore. For a long time, maybe even forever, when Paterno’s name is mentioned, the first thing you think of is his cover up of Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse.

That being said, Paterno’s statue needs to stay right where it is. Right outside for everyone to see. No one will ever go to a Penn State game without thinking about Paterno, so why even move it? The university must live up to it.

What Penn State did wrong in the first place was cover up someone’s wrong doings—don’t do it again. All indications show that Joe Paterno did something terrible, but he also did great things for the university. Share both with the public, and let them decide.

All you need is two plaques in front of Paterno’s statue. One talks about the success he brought to Penn State: Two national championships, three conference titles, 400 plus wins and 37 bowl appearances. The other tells all about Paterno’s involvement in the Sandusky cover up. That he didn’t want the university in a bad light, and it ultimately led to the abuse of many children.

It might be vicious, but it’s what Penn State has to do. They can’t run away from this situation again, and it’s not going to blow over. Just put all the facts on the table, a plaque in this case and let the public decide.

Will Penn State lose fans? Probably, but they probably already have. Will there be a push to get rid of the statue? Probably. None of that should matter though.

Own up to your mistakes. Penn State’s reputation is already tarnished, but biting the bullet and putting everything out there for the public to decide is the only way to build back that reputation.

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