More on the Paterno Statue (With Photos)

July 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm 9 comments

I stopped by the Paterno statue twice yesterday and again this afternoon, just to shoot some photos before and after the statue’s removal. I’ve put about about a dozen images into the slide show below.

I don’t know what to tell you about all of this. Emotions are running so high right now, and I don’t think too much useful dialogue goes on when that’s the case. On the one side, there’s been some pretty hateful stuff being said about Penn State and Penn Staters, especially since the Freeh report was released. As Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Rosenberg said in an excellent piece on Thursday: “The scandal at Penn State is so outrageous that any level of outrage seems appropriate. And as a result, any level of punishment seems appropriate. Fines. Firings. Scholarship reductions. Frogs. Hail. Boils. Locusts.” (Rosenberg goes on, by the way, to argue that the NCAA death penalty is not called for here.)

On the other side, there are many Penn Staters who loved and still love Joe Paterno, are unconvinced of his culpability in the Sandusky scandal, point out that the Freeh report is not necessarily gospel, and think the University is throwing Paterno under the bus. For them, today’s removal of the statue was painful, a punch in the gut.

The empty plaza this afternoon. Click to view larger.

For what it’s worth, I continue to think that the statue had become a safety concern, an accident waiting to happen. Why? Because, as I said above, emotions are running so high right now. All it would take is one really angry person who happens to also be unstable mentally and … well, I don’t want to think about what could have happened. There may well have been other reasons to remove the statue, especially with the NCAA news conference looming tomorrow, but it’s hard to argue with the safety one.

Among the more than two dozen comments so far on my previous post about the statue, there is this one that stood out for me. It’s from Barbara Morgan-Cicippio ’74, who writes:

The statue is just a thing. I seem to remember that Coach did not like it and did not want it displayed anyway. We need to move past caring about things. I do not need a statue or a football team for that matter to remind me of my alma mater, I have memories for a life time.

We are being crucified and called Pedophile University. We all know that is not true and I think we need to concentrate our efforts in more productive ways. The court of public opnion has convicted us to the man. Please let’s all expend our energy on more important matters concerning our Alma Mater. We still are, it should not matter what anyone else thinks says or does, we are Penn State and nothing they can do will take that away. Let’s put our collective heads together and find a way forward with honor.

I hope Penn Staters will give some thought to her wise words.

Anyway, below are some images from the statue yesterday and from the … non-statue, I guess you’d call it? … today.

(And, on a lighter note, one of the photos is of a woman taking a picture of her dog next to the statue. Extra-credit bonus points if you can name the breed. It’s one I had never heard of until yesterday.)

Tina Hay, editor

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Joe Paterno Statue Removed Hammered by the NCAA

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan Petrick Owens  |  July 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Tina,
    I think the thing that has made me personally the most angry in this (& there is plenty) was the (friend) who asked my daughter, a sophomore at the Behrend Campus, if she would now transfer to a good school! I agree with you on the safety issue concerning the statue. It was a matter of time before it was vandalized and someone was hurt in the process. Thank you for your insightful articles.
    For the Glory,
    Sue Petrick Owens ’83

  • 2. Susan Petrick Owens  |  July 22, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Oh, and the dog is a Clumber Spaniel. I’ve seen very few in person.

  • 3. John Page '80  |  July 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    The failure of leadership AT ALL LEVELS is the legacy of failure that I find most disturbing. I understand why the statue had to go. I’m sad. Angry. But ultimately deep down KNEW that was what was going to happen. I ill remember Joe in my own way. I believe he never cared about the statue and wouldn’t care that it was taken down.

    The process is what disturbs me most of all. And I suspect others feel the same way!

    The failure of the BoT to LEAD and not, seemingly, blow according to the winds of public opinion. And the failure of the BoT and the Governor to lead over the last decade. THAT is what they were supposed to do. The reason why they were given that responsibility. We entrusted them with the most sacred responsibility our university had. And they FAILED miserably. For that they should all voluntarily resign or be removed. NOW. As they, too, are lightning rods!

    I agree with Barbara Morgan-Cicippio ’74. WE ARE . . . and WE WILL. A bit sadder but still WITH HONOR!!

    I also feel that the rush to judgement by the media (and apparently the NCAA) in not even following their own processes and policies is appauling. We are supposed to be a country of laws and due process. We have ‘convicted’ people in the court of public opinion based on opinion and supposition and interpretation. That is a bad precedent for this country, and for that I think I am most angry. And sad!

  • 4. patrizia cioffi  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Beautifully written with great dignity.

    Thank you.

  • 5. Tina Hay  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Susan, “clumber spaniel” is correct! Nicely done.

  • 6. Stephanie Asalone '05  |  July 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I was out watering the flowers behind my house this afternoon and the thought came to me that, in the legal system, even the most guilty among us get to have their day in court if they so desire. They get a hearing. There is no sentence passed upon them without the set-forth steps being followed. The fact that the NCAA is handing down these sanctions tomorrow with no such due process is intensely bothersome to me. The legitimacy of whatever point the NCAA will try to make through PSU’s punishment will be severely hampered by this fact. ‘Breaking new ground’ in this case is such a bad, bad idea.

    So far as the statue goes, it needed to be taken down. There was no easy way it could have happened, but it needed to happen. That statue was not and is not Joe. He didn’t like it anyway. He did value the library, and if Pres. Erickson’s statement is to believed, the name will stay. That’s the important part to me, and, I think, what would be the important part to Joe.

  • 7. Al Haberbusch PSU "64  |  July 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    The statue had to come down for safety reasons as a minimum. I still don’t believe the full context of Joe Paterno’s involvement is captured and he is thrown into a heap with several others who are possibly much more culpable. Unfortunately a number of key individuals could not or would not be interviewed in the Freeh investigation leaving them to draw whatever conclusions they could from emails which can’t always be put in the proper context without more information. As for the NCAA they are “making it up” as things go along. They have no authority within their current regulations to do anything but they seem bound to act anyway. Penn State will recover from whatever is dealt to it because of the thousands of dedicated faculty, students and alumni — we have the world’s largest alumni association!!

  • 8. psumba  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Two points:

    #1 – Haven’t we just removed the image of the guy who FIRED the pedophile (after law enforcement decided to not prosecute in 1998)?

    #2 – In the original grand jury report, there was a section on Second Mile pimping young kids to wealthy donors. We haven’t heard anything on this in the media. Why not? PSU is a sideshow compared to this scandal!

  • 9. The Penn Stater Magazine  |  August 1, 2012 at 8:55 am

    […] can see more photos at a previous post on the subject, and if you haven’t seen Lori Shontz’s account of the statue’s […]

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