Halls of Fame are for the living. Bronze statues are for the dead.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the aura of a worshipped living human that we forget how fragile heroes are to the ongoing slaughter of anyone’s reputation from the fallout of outrageous human affair. There never should have been a statue of Jo Paterno while he still breathed the air of this often rancid planet. All he had to do was look the other way from a situation that should never have been ignored and his prematurely placed physical likeness was destined to come down. It had become a reminder of betrayal – and not a monument to trust.
And so it has. Come down. Taken down. As it should have been. Removed. Because it never should have been there in the first place.
Sadly for Joe Paterno, the penalty for not doing the right thing to the fullest degree and, perhaps, consciously or unconsciously, conspiring with others at Penn State to cover up the Jerry Sandusky violation of children until the problem “went away,” was this dismantling of the glory that previously had been wrapped around his name.
And now the innocent are thrown under the bus with the guilty. All the young people on football scholarship at Penn State that had nothing to do with the actions (or inactions) of their university, must choose between transferring elsewhere, playing for nothing, or not playing at all. Once again, life rises up to remind us that, even when the hammer of justice lands, life isn’t fair.
Tags: Joe Paterno Statue essay