Dear Penn State,

Please… PLEASE stop with the Joe Paterno honors. Your impeccable inability to make reasonable and prudent decisions involving your beloved former coach is mind-boggling to those of us on the outside looking in. As an offering of love, I present to you a free litmus test to utilize at any point you feel compelled to honor a man that remains tied to CHILD MOLESTATION as more and more people come forward connecting Paterno to convicted sexual predator Jerry Sandusky in more than an innocent “we just coach together and I don’t know what he does in his own time” kind of way.

Keep in mind that I understand Paterno built you a library, so you may feel his good was greater than him conveniently having his his back turned at every conceivable moment he could have prevented the next victim from becoming another tickle buddy for Sandusky in his basement waterbed and the locker room showers.

joe-paternlo-shrine
Some people won’t let go. A shrine is erected to honor Joe Paterno in front of Beaver Stadium on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Penn State honored Paterno’s memory during the game versus Temple Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first game as head coach. (Matthew O’Herron/USA TODAY Sports)

Who am I to say Paterno doesn’t deserve this tribute? How many bad people would buy nice things for others? Ike probably bought Tina roses… each and every time he punched her. Should Tina focus on the mental and physical pain and lasting effect of that abuse or should she quit complaining and realize Ike bought her some pretty flowers? Come to think of it, did Jerry Sandusky not use free gifts to earn the trust of innocent boys just looking for a father figure?

Maybe this test will help us answer some of these oh-so-tough questions.

PENN STATE PATERNO TEST

Here are two questions you can ask yourself at the first inkling of shining a positive light on Paterno and throwing him back in the face of the general public and those pesky adults who were sexually assaulted as children that just don’t seem to understand what football means to everyone in Happy Valley.

  1. Did you ever feel compelled to remove a statue bearing Joe Paterno’s likeness that stood in front of the very stadium where you wish to celebrate the man during a game that will be nationally televised and played in front of 100,000+ spectators?  
    • Did you answer “Yes.”
    • You should answer “Yes” because you did remove a statue of Joe Paterno due to a child molestation scandal that went on under his nose for three decades.
    • After answering “Yes” to the above question, you immediately conclude that NO, we should not honor Joe Paterno at a football game this season.
    • Oh, but wait. This is the 50th anniversary of when Joe Paterno became the head coach? Then, by all means, honor the man. If you agree that the 50th anniversary of him becoming coach is good enough reason to make an exception, find the nearest pencil. Sharpen that pencil. Hold the pencil with eraser down. Bring pencil toward your eye at an accelated speed and just go to town until you change your mind.
  2. Is the person you are considering honoring named “Joe Paterno”? 
    • What this question should do is to immensely simplify the decision making process for you.
    • If this question does not help make your decision easier, see the fourth bullet in Question 1 regarding the sharpened pencil.

If none of the above seems to resonate, allow me to point you in the direction of the Temple fans who attended the HAPPY 50th ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR FIRST GAME celebration this past Saturday. As you pressed the Play button in the control booth and showed highlights that resembled more of a defense attorney’s effort to create a positive image for his client than it did “honor” a man who did so much for the university, Temple fans held signs that read “He turned his back, so we’ll turn ours.” And they did just that.

Sadly, your back remains turned.  I can only assume that you can justify such a spectacle because Paterno’s back is technically no longer turned because he lies on it in a six-foot hole. Maybe you should dig two additional holes while the truth is facing your own backs. In one hole you can bury the ugly past and pretend it doesn’t exist. No instruction booklet should be required in Happy Valley for that one. In the other hole you can plant your head firmly inside and cover it with dirt so you can also avoid hearing the truth or seeing the light. We all know you haven’t bothered looking for either in the last five years.

If you keep pretending it doesn’t exist for 25 more years, I’m hopeful that someone will erect a shrine and play videos in your honor as we bury the old and blind Penn State Football program six feet under where it belongs.

Sincerely,

Eric and Everyone Exhausted By Your Overinflated And Idealistic View Of Penn State Football

P.S. Listen to the voices of today and tomorrow and you won’t be forced to bury the entire program. You can learn from the past and move on. This editorial from your own school newspaper is what can save you from yourself. Save yourself and the school and get out of your own way and, most importantly, get out of the way of those who want to look to the future rather than live in a past that is now tainted at best.

Keep fighting the good fight, Penn State students.