Monday, July 23, 2012


Pennsylvania State University has removed its statue of football coach Joe Paterno after evidence showed Paterno's role in allowing years of child abuse by defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to go unchecked. As expected, some in the Penn State community assert that removing the statue wipes away all the good Paterno did. I disagree.

I didn't attend Penn State and didn't know Paterno, but I have been inspired by several people about whom opinion was divided, some of whom were even later disgraced. While this taints their legacies and dims my view of them, it does not take away the lessons I learned from them, the values I made my own. Joe Paterno's failings in the Sandusky scandal led to removal of the statue, but they do not take away the good values and behavior Paterno inspired in generations. Part of a person's legacy is all the people he inspires, and all the people they inspire in turn.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Well... I see your point. Certainly in his long career he did a lot of good things, but at the end the bad thing he did was truly terrible. So he helped many, no doubt, but conspired to wreck the lives of others (since he allowed Sandusky to continue as a predator for years). In the end, I think "He knew how to win games even if it cost some children their innocence" is not a good epitaph.