Joe Paterno and Penn State Football: Let the Statue Stand for Something

Todd PatakyCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JULY 21:  Items are left in front of the statue of former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium July 21, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State's president Rodney Erickson is expected to make a decision on whether or not to remove the statue in the wake of the child sex scandal of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It's believed that Paterno had detailed knowledge of Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children before and after Sandusky retired from coaching at Penn State.  (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

To tear down the statue or not tear down the statue? That is the question.

The answer can be as different as the various people you might ask.

Here is what I think: Leave it up. Let it serve as a reminder that even someone as revered and worshiped as Joe Paterno can make horrible, tragic mistakes or errors in judgement.

Why tear down the statue and try to forget that Paterno allowed a despicable monster to operate under his watch? Why do we always try to run away from our pain and bury it as if it never happened?

Just this once, let's face our pain, learn the lessons offered and grow as a society from this.

Did Paterno make multiple mistakes in handling this situation? Absolutely, but tearing down the statue will not undo those mistakes. On the contrary, leaving the statue up will remind us that we all have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think we can all agree that it takes a community to protect children from a man who used his position to feed his depraved appetites.

When people look at that statue, they will be reminded that a man can do any amount of good, but it will be for naught if he cannot or will not do the one thing he should do (must do) to help people who are being preyed upon under his nose.

In Berlin, there is a bombed out church called the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It was nearly destroyed during World War II. Now, it is a beautiful and moving memorial, a reminder to the world of what can happen if one man is allowed too much power.

The statue of Joe Paterno could be a similar reminder.

That is, if it is left to do so.