BOSTON (CBS) – As you’ve probably heard by now, there’s a lot of justifiable outrage over a report documenting the role the late Joe Paterno played in covering up the pedophile scandal at Penn State.
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And some of the anger is being manifested in a bizarre way.
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There’s a chorus of voices calling for the university to remove a statue honoring the now-disgraced coach from in front of their football stadium. Someone rented a plane to fly over the school Tuesday with a banner reading: “Take the statue down or we will.”
Meanwhile, a Penn State student group changed the nickname of the place where they line up to get Nittany Lions tickets from “Paternoville” to “Nittanyville.” Paterno’s alma mater, Brown University, dropped his name from an athletic award.
And a mural of sports heroes in a Connecticut middle-school gym is being repainted to remove Paterno’s image.
“We need to impress young minds,” explained a local official.
Really? Then, instead of hustling to remove images of Paterno, why not actually “impress” young minds and old by letting them stay right where they are, and using this whole sordid affair as a teachable moment?
I say, let everyone see and learn from the evidence of the way we lionized Paterno, let those who don’t yet know it hear the truth of what he did at Penn State, and let all people come to a better understanding of how and why child abuse still thrives in our culture.
It’s understandable if people are ashamed at having been duped by Paterno and his alleged “values.” But the only lasting shame comes if we don’t learn from that mistake and share its lessons with others.
My advice is, keep the statue.
Let it be a permanent reminder to everyone who sees it how corrupting fame, money and vanity can be, and how vigilant we all need to be to keep our basic values – like protecting children from abuse – from slipping away.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.