July 24, 2012 — This week’s In the Post topic is one that I have contemplated speaking about for a few weeks now, and despite its controversial nature, I feel it is time for a serious roundtable.
On June 22, former Penn State Football Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of the 48 allegations of child sex abuse brought against him.
Descriptions of the horrendous crimes committed by Sandusky are of an unspeakable travesty, ones that we will not discuss here.
Today, we will focus on the sports side of this controversy.
Yesterday morning, the repercussions of the former assistant coach’s actions were felt as the NCAA hit Penn State with a four-year postseason ban, in addition to the loss of scholarships for a four-year period and a $60 million fine.
Perhaps the biggest blow felt by all of this was the legacy of the former face of the program, former head coach Joe Paterno.
The 409 wins that sat the iconic coach above all others in the NCAA football realm was reduced to 298, as the Nittany Lions were stripped of all wins from 1998-2012, including bowl victories.
This comes just one day after Paterno’s statue was removed from its location outside Beaver Stadium, leaving a dark and hollow space outside the now deceased coach’s former sanctuary.
The commemorative piece was removed due to reports that Paterno knew of Sandusky’s criminal behavior, yet chose to conceal information.
We would all like to believe coach Paterno had no knowledge about his assistant’s pedophilic actions, myself included. But with the former legend now gone, there is no way to know beyond a doubt whether he did or didn’t.
In regard to the scenario, it is difficult to believe that all of those years of abuse could have gone unnoticed by Paterno, a man with tremendous power on the campus of PSU.
Was it wrong to remove the statue and strip Paterno of his accomplishments?
In my opinion, no, because the statue may have stood for the legacy of Paterno’s work on the field, but it also served as a painful reminder to all of those victims who suffered the evil doings of Sandusky.
Of course, it is a very controversial issue, one that entails different opinions, difficult to justify one or the other as ultimately right.
But at the end of the day, the fact remains that the legacy of one of NCAA sports biggest icons has been forever tarnished, whether he was involved or not.
As a sports fan this saddens me, but as a fan of justice, I feel the right decisions were made.
Children look to adults for guidance and care, and to prey upon the innocence and trust they possess is an ultimate sin.
So, I would like to give my deepest sympathies to all of those who were victims of this terrible atrocity.
Although Sandusky’s true colors have finally been revealed and he will soon face justice, it most likely cannot make up for all the pain that he has caused.
I commend all those who stood up to this monster for the bravery they have shown throughout the process, it will forever be remembered, and I hope all who read this post do the same.
Grant Stevens can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.