Removing Paterno's statue showed the right priority
The Kansas City Star
Sunday’s removal of Joe Paterno’s statue outside the Penn State football stadium shows the university finally has a sense of the right priorities.
They need to downplay the legend of Paterno, who was an excellent football coach but through his inactions helped allow a monster in Jerry Sandusky continue to sexually abuse young boys.
The university’s leaders had kowtowed to Paterno and the football team for decades, something the Freeh report indicated with its denunciation of not just Paterno but other key college leaders at Penn State.
All played a role in allowing Sandusky’s actions to occur.
Removing the statue would have been unthinkable before the Sandusky revelations came out last year and even unlikely until the Freeh report was released.
But its findings that Paterno knew about the 1998 allegations involving Sandusky, and that he did not act strongly enough to keep Sandusky away from young men after the 2001 shower incident, pressured Penn State officials into correctly removing the statue.
It’s a reminder of more glorious times for the school and for Paterno, times that weren’t so glorious for the young men assaulted by Sandusky with the complicity of Paterno and other university leaders.
Penn State’s decision also should be a warning to other schools - including the universities of Kansas and Missouri in this area - that too often glorify the head football and basketball coaches, especially, who get millions of dollars for leading excessively funded sports programs.
The next worry for Penn State: It might be dealing with NCAA punishment - scheduled to be handed down Monday, and which might include the so-called death penalty of shutting down the football program for a year or two.