Vai's View: Vai's View: Penn State can keep records, but Joe Paterno statue must go

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  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 15, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Moderate, fixing the problems that led to the cover-up is obviously a much higher priority. Intelligent minds can differ on taking down the statue. I just don't see those who favor it, in light of all the facts, as a lynch mob.

    Wayne, conservatives have symbols as well. The flag is an obvious one. The point of a statue is to honor someone's legacy. The question is whether Paterno's memory should be honored in light of all the facts. I understand your argument but Vai has persuaded me on this. I don't see any valid excuse for turning a blind eye on the horrendous abuse that went on.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    July 15, 2012 10:40 a.m.

    @Heater has any other charges been filed against the President,or anyother of the higher up. A report has found evidence that wrong doing has happen. What I am saying one person convicted and more to come maybe. The tip of the iceberg has just come out, when I say Iam waiting and holding some. A report is just that and what it has found now the State need to see if enought evidence is in the repor to file more crimminal charges, who know what will come out as more is uncovered. It would be like you getting a ticket for speed, running a red light and an accident with loss of life and the cop telling your guilty and taking you to jail. Without all the facts are in and a trial of all person being done. I have written alot of cimminal reports and sometimes charges wheren't filed, because not enought to warrant charges to be file.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    July 15, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Shut the whole program down??? Do you think this was more that a recruiting violation?

    Joe Pa definitely should have his statue removed and any resemblance of him should go away including his family.

    When my kids started high school football, the first thing coach would do is warn them if they're caught drinking, smoking, or doing drugs- they are dismissed from the team. As as these kids are invited to recruiting trips- out come the kegs of beer, strippers, bongs for marijuana, initiations into the fraternity of 'higher learning'. Then you have these incidences of child abuse that plagues communities. It's rare for males to be the victim but very common for women.
    The culture is changing, and Joe Pa is part of that older generation. There needs to be an official stand by the NCAA on this and similar manners. If the school isn't given the death penalty, the presence of Joe Paterno needs to be remove from any resemblance of his being an icon in 'Happy Valley'.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    July 14, 2012 10:02 p.m.

    Liberals love symbolism. Taking down the statue means nothing. If you want to make real change, insure that university employees retire at 65. Joe had no business trying to run a big program at his age. Keep homosexuals away from children and athletic programs. These two simple changes would do a lot to prevent future problems. Do more?? Have campus police report dotted line to the local police chief. Don’t allow one person to travel alone with one child unless they are related. All the good that Joe did is still there. For some unknown reason, he failed to contact police in one case. Was he loyal to a friend? Did he fail to understand what had happened? Was he pressing to go to the police but was over ruled by the president? There are too many things about the problem that we do not know. What we do know is that he helped to develop the character of many young men. Let the statue stand. It has a message in being there that may help many more. That message…always do the right thing…no matter how much it hurts.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2012 8:27 p.m.

    SoCalChris says the facts are in. Louis Freeh did not interview Coach Paterno, nor was he able to interview anyone under oath.

    I still think tearing down a statue is an empty gesture, SoCal. Imagine this conversation:
    Victim: Did you get the guy that did this to me?
    LynchMob: Yes! Sandusky is convicted and serving time in jail.
    Victim: Did you break the Penn State culture that allowed this to go on so long?
    LynchMob: No, but we took down a statue!
    Victim: How does that help? This could still happen again.
    LynchMob: It might!

    I would rather see things change at Penn State so that any reported crime is acted upon. Maybe drop the campus police system in hopes that "real" law enforcement would have taken action.

    Penn State will continue to pay the price for their crimes. Penn State will still exist. They will still have a football team. Their fans will still cheer them on. I could care less if they keep a statue to honor their football past. The local community should decide, not an internet lynch mob.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 14, 2012 6:51 p.m.


    I would agree with you if a mob had decided to tear down the statue Sadam Hussein style when the story first broke. But as Heater points out, the facts are in. There is no rush to judgment. The question is whether it's appropriate to maintain a statue honoring an individual who clearly turned a blind eye on the abuse of children. If it remains, I believe the school is making a statement that football is more important.

    It breaks my heart to see a legend like Paterno have his legacy tainted this way. But making a statement that child abuse, or the tacit disregard of it, will not be tolerated is more important.

  • azresident Mesa, AZ
    July 14, 2012 6:17 p.m.

    So, you are employed at an Urgent Care facility and you are going to lose your job when it closes. Or you are employed at Dr. Johnson's orthodontic practice and you lose your job when his practice is closed. Or, the Southwest EyeCare of Utah is shut down and you are out of work. All because someone employed there is sexually abusing children. The abuse of a child is horribly tragic (former foster parent of 35 children here...).

    But also tragic is punishing all of the innocent employees and their families. Their parent is no longer employed. And what about the people who depend on these facilities? Will your child understand why they have to switch doctor's.

    Sanctions against Penn State should not involve innocent athletes, students and employees.

  • CandaceSalima Orem, UT
    July 14, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    Great article, Vai. I was so angry to hear so many people knew of Sandusky's pedophilia and the countless numbers of child molestation that happened on the campus of Penn State. The cover-up was shocking to me. I believe Penn State should be banned from collegiate football for five years. I agree that Joe Paterno's statue has to go. And I think Penn State should fire every single person who knew and did nothing about it.

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    July 14, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    Trooper55: " waiting for this case to be finish before I condem anybody, the lawy state that innocent till proven guilty." Breaking News: 1) Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 charges and is awaiting sentencing. 2) The independent commission led by former FBI director, Louis Freeh, found Paterno and three other Penn St officials knew of Sandusky's crimes as far back as 1998 and covered it up after poring over 3 million documents and interviewing over 400 people.

    What else could you possibliy be waiting for Trooper, Paterno to personally return from the grave to admit his guilt? Keep us posted of any more info you may receive or uncover and we'll pass it along to Louis Freeh and the Sandusky judge.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    July 14, 2012 2:40 p.m.

    I am not defending anybody at Penn State, but I believe it's pretty easy to talk about and condem them once they are dead and yes some of you have a lynch mod attude, and you don't know any of the people, but what a some reports and a sport writer has to say. I have followed this case from the beginning and I am still waiting to see if anymore charges will be filed against any of the one that was fired for this child abuse case and to see just how much are still blaming Joe Paterno, or will some facts may clear him? The asst. coach Mike McQuery should have call the police and not gone to Joe P, I haven't heard any one of you all goning after him and I beleive that you just want to attack a man who is dead and can't asnwer all the charges that this report brought to life. I am glad that as a retired State Trooper from the south and is waiting for this case to be finish before I condem anybody, the law state that innocetent till proven guilty.

  • Alpine Blue Alpine, UT
    July 14, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    @ Trooper55/NoodleKaboodle

    If, heaven forbid, something as heinous as this ever happened at BYU-you can rest assured that the Board of Trustees would shut-down the entire athletic department in very short order. This may yet happen even without such compulsion.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    SoCalChris - Taking down a statue I call "lynch mob mentality" because it's the kind of stupid action a mob would take. "We are a mob! We are upset! We don't know what to do about it -- hey there is a statue over there! Let's take it down!"

    If I were a victim, I'd want to see Sandusky pay for his crimes, and I'd sue the very deep pockets of Penn State University. What is the value of taking down a statue? Does that bring justice? If so, should we melt down the statue of Brigham Young for the crimes committed at Mountain Meadow?

    I say leave the statue up, but with a new plaque "I should have done more." That would serve as a lasting reminder that none of us should ever look the other way.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 14, 2012 1:45 p.m.


    I'm fairly moderate myself and I speak out against a lynch mob mentality I see quite often on the net. There is no lynch mob mentality on this thread. It is precisely because the program has been tainted by acts and omissions of numerous individuals, including even a janitor who witnessed a child rape, that there are calls for the death penalty for the program and for tearing down the statue of a once revered coach.

    When corruption is so pervasive for the sake of football and at the expense of children, the death penalty is certainly appropriate. Sad for players and students, but better for the school and college football in the long run. 61Cougar is absolutely right.

  • 61Cougar Seattle, Wa
    July 14, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    SMU got the death penalty in 1987 (after a string of previous violations) for concealing a slush fund operated by boosters that paid players to play football at the university.

    Penn State coaches and administrators concealed the fact that one of their own was molesting children--actively working to keep it from going public and working to keep it out of the hands of law enforcement.

    While there has been no history of past NCAA violations by the football program, I still say shut it down with the death penalty for two years and then let the school rebuild.

    As for the students and coaches that did not know nor were involved--so what. That's what happens when leaders of institutions go astray and the whole organization has to pay for it. It wasn't fair to the SMU football players who did it the right way to lose out on the chance to play for their school--just as it isn't fair to the innocent players of teams who are put on probation, handed bowl bans, and have victories taken away because of the actions of a few coaches and administrators.

    Penn State needs the death penalty.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 14, 2012 11:08 a.m.

    Get rid of the statue? Really?

    Vai was scooped by Bobby Bowden. Bowden's rationale was spot on w/o the need to claim moral high ground.

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    July 14, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    Moderate - I'd lead the lynch mob if it was my grandson who was abused. The Freeh Report was commissioned by Penn State as an independent body to find how such a heinous crime could've gone undetected and unreported for over a decade at one of the premier college programs in the country. Would you call their findings a "lynch mob" mentality as well? 'What a crock. Bottom line is... if the janitor or assistant coach Mike McQuery had walked in on Sandusky abusing a Paterno grandson, this episode would not have taken down JoePa's legacy because it would've ended right then and there.

    Feel free to be "moderate" with your politics but on this issue, there's no room for moderation. Paterno aided and abetted the abuse of at least 4 boys, maybe more, because Sandusky could've been stopped much, much sooner.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    July 14, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    Vai is right. We as a society love athletics so much that we are willing to abandon some of our most cherished principles for it. If ANY university can't clean up its own legacy, the NCAA and athletic community should step in and do it for them.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 14, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Wow. Lynch mob mentality.

    Joe Paterno was one piece in a very LARGE puzzle at Penn State. Unfortunately the average lynch mob member doesn't know any name other than Paterno, so they focus their hatred and anger at him. Many even forget that it was Sandusky who committed the crimes.

    You want to erect, then take down a statue of Sandusky? Fine, if you think it will make make things better. At least focus your frustrations at the right person.

    Taking Paterno's statue is silly. Talk of the NCAA stepping with sanctions on the football team is silly. Talking of disbanding the team is the silliest idea yet.

  • easternobserver Denton, MD
    July 14, 2012 6:33 a.m.

    I grew up about an hour from State College. When journalists write that Paterno was like a god in the region, they aren't exaggerating.
    Not to excuse the janitor and Paterno, but I honestly believe that their failure to personally contact authorities can be attributed at least somewhat to a generation gap. To some degree, they didn't "get" that these acts are not swept under the rug as in the past. I doubt they had ever heard the term "mandated reporter." Understandably the janitor thought nobody would believe him in a million years, and Paterno was probably, as many of us would be, thrown into a state of shock and denial, hoping it all would just go away... Again, this is an attempt to posit an explanation, not to justify them or negate the suffering of the victims. It was all very, very wrong.
    Yes, take down the statue. Rather than suspend the program, although recruiting is unlikely to be fruitful for years to come, force the University to direct the majority of recently acquired and prospective football-generated profits towards settling with the victims and funding community organizations that provide abuse awareness training, victim support, etc.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    July 13, 2012 11:16 p.m.

    I understand that Joe Paterno could have done more, but there are a lot of people that could have done more. Starting with the janitor, the man that discovered it was all going on, where was he 14 years ago? Paterno did pass along the information to his superiors, where were they? The athletic director and president of the school? Why didn't they take the necessary steps? I think a lot of people are willing to cast stones when they have really no idea what is going on. I also think that it is wrong to punish an entire program, school, and community because of the acts of a few people. People are also overlooking all of the good that Paterno did over the course of more than 40 years.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    July 13, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    What you are not acknowledging is that the Freeh report found that the university president, athletic director, head football coach concealed the child abuse and that the trustees failed to exercise diligence to uncover or stop it. This was not an isolated incident. The most senior people at the university were complicit. Shutting down the football program for a time would not be too extreme. Yes, innocent kids and fans would pay a price. But the culture at Penn State needs to change, and a one or two year break would help achieve that.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    July 13, 2012 8:46 p.m.

    There is no more heinous crime than the abuse of a child ... none whatsoever!

    Next comes the crime of allowing it to happen and simply stating, after the atrocities have come to light, to say no more than JoPa said: "I should have done more."

    Ya think???

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 13, 2012 7:40 p.m.

    What a bunch of overreaching statements. Calls for Penn State to abandon football because of this are absurd. No more than should the church abandon seminary because a Utah Valley teacher took liberties with one of his students. How many years did the US turn a blind eye what was going on in Nazi Germany? How many of our own "founding fathers" turn a blind eye to the institution of human slavery - which many including Jefferson acknowledged at the time was a wrong practice.

    How the school reacted to one of their own doing wrong was not acceptable. BUt it does not take away from those people, who are by far in the majority, did the right thing, and represented their school honorably. To tarnish an entire school, where thousands have come and left without an incident, because of the actions of one man, is a really bad president for society to take. It would be morally wrong to punish those young men on that team today, to punish those students enrolled in that school today, for the sins of another.

  • azresident Mesa, AZ
    July 13, 2012 7:34 p.m.

    So then, if something similar was happening at one of the high schools or universities in Utah then the program at the high school or university needs to be shut down? If a teacher at one of the charter schools was molesting children then the whole school should be disbanded? If some other heinous behavior occurred in a family then the whole family should be.......?

    Are you throwing the baby out with the bath water?

    Those athletes, those students, those family members are innocent of any wrongdoing.

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    July 13, 2012 6:45 p.m.

    I read another suggestion with regard to the Paterno statue, that I thought was a good one: Keep it, but turn it around, to represent how he turned his back on Sandusky's victims.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    July 13, 2012 5:35 p.m.

    The entire football program at Penn State needs to be shut down. The only issue to resolve is for how long. Yes, this will harm student athletes currently in the football program at Penn State, but in my opinion there is no other alternative. Every single school out there needs to know that if you don't report, your program is going to get shut down. Perhaps some damages should be paid for the students currently in the football program,although I would question the thinking of any student who has entered the program after this entire mess became public.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    July 13, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Dear Marksman have you not been following this whole issue. Joe Paterno was told it was taking place and he simply passed it up the food chain and did not take the matter into his own hands. He is culpable with all the others.

  • DC Alexandria, VA
    July 13, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    I'm not sure PSU football should be disbanded - seems a bit harsh and punishing those that had nothing to do with the crime or hiding the facts. But, anyone that had any part of these terrible events should at the very least fired, then held accountable.

    Taking down the statue seems appropriate - if this is in fact true.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    July 13, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    Trooper55 - Programs have lost their teams for a lot less than what has gone on at Penn St. I get it, you don't want us to judge people. I'm not judging a person - I'm judging the lack of regard for protecting young children by an entire public institution - all in the name of their beloved football program. So what is the best punishment for a group of people who regard their football program above the safety of children? Take the football program away.

    Absolutely if this was going on at Utah or BYU, they should do the same thing. Who cares what school it is? A child is a child - and their protection is more important than football.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2012 4:01 p.m.

    Ya, I'm a huge BYU fan. Season tickets for the last 7 years. Only missed one game. Although it would be horrible and leave a huge hole in my heart. If it was discovered that an assistant coach was molesting kids and the President, Athletic Director and Head Coach covered it up for 14 years and allowed it to happen continue to happen, on campus I would call for a 1-2 year ban on football, the immediate removal of ALL items related to the legacy of those administrators and coaches. I would hope that the NCAA also would blackball them the same way that they blackball coaches with recruiting violations. Except unlike recruiting violations I would want them blackballed from the NCAA for life. I love football, I love my team. Stopping child molestation is more important than that. Period, end of discussion, NO doubt in my mind.

  • RepresentBlue West Jordan, UT
    July 13, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Sadly, Vai, I must agree with you. If the Freeh report is accurate then Paterno is fully complicit in the horrible and disgusting abuse of children that went on at Penn State and his legacy is damaged beyond repair. Penn State should act quickly and decisively to condemn Paterno and all who were involved in the cover up to not only save their football program, but also the reputation of the entire university. This means that the statue must come down. There will be some dark days ahead for Penn State, and I feel very badly for Nittany Lion fans, but there is no other way to come back from something like this. They will be lucky if the NCAA doesnt hand down a death sentence on their program, and the other Big Ten universities dont vote to kick them out of the conference.

  • Trooper55 Williams, AZ
    July 13, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    You all are quick to judge people and what should be done. So far they have just touch the tip of the iceberg in the cover up at Penn State. There still need to be an investagtion done by NCAA and leave them meet out what punishment Penn State should suffer for the years child abuse that fell by the wayside in light of the football program. I also wonder if you people from Utah would be as quick to take the football program away from BYU if a child abuse ever happen there. I could may some statement of some child abuse that has happen in Utah and the person who did wrong never pay any price. I also will remind you that you who is without sin cast the frist stone. That is what the bible says by Jesus himself. I am not defending Penn State or any of the people involed. Joe Paterno did do good and has paid the price for not doing more about the child abuse that happen on the school property. I at this time has no real responce about the statue. NCAA has to say on this matter.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2012 2:44 p.m.

    Anyone out there who is abusing a child or protecting an abuser is a huge menace to society.

    We all should be outraged. Tear down Joe's statue. He did not step up when the moment counted.

    I wish so bad that the Janitor would have had the courage to blow the whistle on Sandusky.

    How many other programs around the country have that same culture of fear going on though? We need to stop treating football players and coaches like they are untouchable. If they are a clown then call them out!

    Good Job Vai! Thanks for being bold and having an opinion and being willing to share it.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    July 13, 2012 2:39 p.m.

    Paterno is Penn State football. Removing the statue is the very least that should happen. The NCAA should disband PSU football program. If they won't, the Big 10 should kick the Nitany Lions to the curb and every Division 1 school in the country should refuse to play them...forever more.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    July 13, 2012 2:13 p.m.

    Penn St. should not have a football program after this.

  • silveraspen South Jordan, UT
    July 13, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    Nothing is more important than protecting the welfare and innocence of our children.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    July 13, 2012 1:17 p.m.

    Not only should the statue of Paterno be taken down, but it should be melted down the scrap be sold to help a worthy cause.

    Paterno loved being head coach. Fans loved having him as head coach. As Head Coach the buck stops at your door. Paterno was negligent and lives were ruined. Yes, fix the problem but Paterno was one of several to blame -- and in our system of jurisprudence blame MUST be affixed and punishment delivered. Penn State will be greatly damaged for decades as part of their punishment. Their brand is ruined now. Their former President and AD who were co-equal in the failure to report a terrible crime have lost their job and future employment and will have criminal charges brought against their actions. If Paterno were alive today he too would have seen criminal charges and jail time. He's dead so the only punishment left is he must become a non-entity in Happy Valley.

  • No U Won't Reality, UT
    July 13, 2012 12:56 p.m.


    Are you seriously trying to defend Paterno? If you read any of that report, you would have read that his first thought when he heard about the assault was the football program. His last thought was on the child that was assaulted. No way that he deserves his statues or adoration. He may have been a great coach, but he was a terrible person due to his failure to act in defense of a child.

  • jpjazz Sandy, UT
    July 13, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    Long before current events came to light, I recall hearing a sportscaster who was familiar with Paterno stating that Joe would never retire. He related that JoPa had no hobbies, interests or activities beyond Penn State Football, and would die quickly if he were to leave the Happy Valley. At the time I thought if this is indeed true, what a sad indictment for this man to have nothing beyond football.

    Now that we are beginning to peek behind the Paterno Football Legacy, I see that it's true, he was a shell of the man we thought he was.

  • MarkMAN West Columbia, TX
    July 13, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    I have read several articles including these types of opinions. I guess we need to help people learn to read and understand. The independant report was nothing more than blame. Each organization has to decide and how and what they chose to act on. Penn State choose to lay the decisions on it's internal leadership. If we blame anyone, it is those who choose the direction and those who had the power to do so. Leave Coach out of it. And then I ask the question so hard to anwser by many, should we find blame or it is better to just fix?

    What Coach did so far out weigh anything he might have missed. And maybe his inflectous desire to see good, clouded is ability to see evil. I myself so wish that there were more that saw good, even more like him. The macro effects would be huge.


  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 13, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    As usual Vai is the best thing about the Deseret News.

    I don't know how any entity, whether it is a Church, a University, a Business, or a Charity, can turn its back on a child in danger. Apparently Joe Paterno knew a sexual assault against a helpless child occurred and decided to protect the institution over the child. The student athletes who won Penn State's honors are not to blame for this, but their long time coach certainly is. It is with great sorrow that I have to agree that statues and honors for Joe must go. Anyone who thinks that football is more important than protecting children clearly doesn't deserve to be immortalized.