The iconic statue of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is gone, yet another victim in the ongoing child molestation scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
In recent weeks, a careful investigation revealed that Paterno, along with some other school officials, knowingly covered up Sandusky’s practice of molesting young boys, showing more concern for a colleague than for the children who were his victims.
A public outcry led to the removal of the statue on Sunday evening, which happened to be the six month anniversary of Paterno’s death, and the night before the NCAA was set to release punitive sanctions against Penn State.
Those hurt most by the sanctions, however, will be the current football players, who had nothing to do with the scandal.
That is symbolized perfectly by the hauntingly empty wall behind the spot where Paterno’s statue had been: vague stains of rust or tarnish mark the place where the players once stood. With his mixed-up loyalties and selective secret-keeping, Paterno led them not to victory, but to exile.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.