Sujatha Bagal

Stories and essays on food, travel, culture.

Paterno’s Statue: Once a Monument to a Man, Now a Reminder of a Society’s Failing

A brilliant column by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the New York Times today argues for not removing Paterno’s statue from the prominent place it now occupies at Penn State:

Arguing  for the statue’s removal, the legendary coach Bobby Bowden said he wouldn’t  want Sandusky’s crimes “brought up every time I walked out on the field.” That’s  the point. Sandusky’s crimes should never be forgotten, nor should the crimes of  the broader community. It is shameful to deify men who put nationalist ritual  before children. But it is more shameful to pretend that this elevation was  achieved by Joe Paterno’s singular hand.

Removing the Paterno statue allows Happy Valley to  forget its own compliance in a national crime, to expunge its own culpability in  its ruthless pursuit of glory. The statue should remain, and beneath it there  should be a full explanation of Sandusky’s crimes, Paterno’s role and some  warning to all of us who would turn a pastime into a god and elect a mortal man  as its avatar.

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2012 by in Blog and tagged , , , .
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