|Jenni Kahler, right, holds her daughter, Emma, 4, as they have a photo taken with the statue of Joe Paterno located outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., Friday July 20, 2012. (AP Photo)|
It needs to be made, though, and soon. The statue needs to come down.
For all that Paterno didn't do to stop child molester Jerry Sandusky, that statue needs to go. It is no longer a reminder of all the good that Paterno did. It is a symbol of the Sandusky era, too. The fact that Paterno is called a "humanitarian" in the words that are linked with the statue can either make you sad or make you furious when you think about Sandusky's victims, but it certainly doesn't make you think of Paterno's charity work.
I won't go into a long argument here for the statue's removal, as every time I write anything about Sandusky I feel sick inside. But if you're in the mood to read such an argument, CBSSports columnist Gregg Doyel (a former Observer colleague) offers a good one here.
Gregg and I have disagreed on a number of sports issues over the years. But he's undeniably a gifted writer, and on this point we are in total agreement. Former FSU coach Bobby Bowden has also opined that the statue should be removed (some Penn State students are apparently "guarding" it to make it harder to do so).
Bottom line: The statue needs to go. It doesn't need to be destroyed -- if the Paterno family wants it, let them have it. But it doesn't need to be in front of the Penn State football stadium, symbolizing an era that now turns people's stomachs.
(UPDATE: By order of Penn State's highest-ranking official, the statue was removed on Sunday, July 22nd, in the early morning and for now will be stowed in an undisclosed "secure location.")