OK, one more from a PSU alum on Joe Paterno.
I didn't think I could get more incensed. Penn State is a public university. You can argue that the glory that Paterno helped bring to the football team (also giving credit to the unpaid athletes who actually played the games) was a factor in elevating the institution over the years. But you can also say that Paterno himself benefited even more, with the platform of a large public university in circumstances where huge appreciation -- and love -- was granted to a guy who ran the football team. If Joe ever went pro, he would have been just another coach -- not even paid as well -- and one whose job was in danger if he didn't produce every year.
In recent years, PSU like other public institutions was under massive pressure to reduce costs and raise tuition, to take higher paid students in favor out out of staters. And what was Paterno doing? Using the esteem he had earned over the years as a bargaining chip, a chip that trumped even the increasingly certain knowledge that a cancerous blight on his squeaky clean image was about to be revealed. He even wanted post-retirement access to the fucking private plane! That galls me the most. With millions of dollars in settlement -- getting paid to step down in a way that didn't portray the PSU establishment as insufficiently grateful for his service -- he still wanted to use university funds to fly around like some Saudi prince.
Well, they paid him. But of course, they had to fire him anyway, and the students (unaware of the depths real story as Freeh would tell it) rioted to support Good Old Joe.
And now that they bought him off, what is the legacy Paterno left to Penn State, my alma mater? It is now the nightmare example of a corrupt, soulless, child-abuse-enabling perversion of an educational institution turned whore for big football.
Until today, I felt that, in terms of history, that statue should be kept up, with the addition of a big plaque which explained why he was fired. Now I'm thinking it should be melted down and sold for scrap, with the money going to help pay off the gym fees for the Paterno family.