(UNIVERSITY PARK, PA) -- The order came down in darkness, probably by telephone, which is the way things are done on the campus of The Pennsylvania State University. Probably a guy came to the door of the head of the grounds department with a dog-eared piece of scrap paper bearing only a scrawled phone number. The number might have been 814 238-75XX. Should one call that number, which is a listed number, he will reach the home of Rodney Allen “Irksome” Erickson, president of that hallowed institution known on these posts as America’s Brain.
And had that call been made as mentioned, the answerer might have said “put up a fence, cover the fence in plastic, block off the street and take down the statue of Joe Paterno,” whose family maintains he did no such thing as orchestrate a cover up of little boy rapist Jerry Sandusky’s merry pranks.
Meantime, in Queens, New York, another statue is coming down, maybe. It is called “Civic Virtue.” Civic -- forgive the use of the first name -- is an immense naked man seen standing on the bodies of a covey of naked women. Its first home in the 1920s was at City Hall in Manhattan. Women hated it. Women’s groups fought it. Mayor LaGuardia said he didn’t like being mooned in marble each day as he walked to work.
They moved the thing to in front of Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, Queens 60, 70 years ago. Civic is still immense and those women must have powerful backs because they’re still holding him up and he hasn’t yet managed to trample them flat.
Now, there is a move afoot to move the hideous stone gavone to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which is a beautiful and perfectly maintained place of burial where the dead can look out at the water... 600-thousand graves. A dead population larger than all the living today in Milwaukee.
No grave is big enough for Mr. Virtue and his harem. So they’ll leave all of them above ground.
In contrast, the Paterno statue is a mere seven feet tall. For now, they’re going to let it collect dust in storage. They have a borough hall to put it in front of, too. But it’s on one of the tiny pieces of land the school doesn’t own in the neighborhood and therefore an unlikely eventual landing spot.
Mr. Paterno is from Brooklyn. Mr. Virtue is moving there. Maybe they can share the space. What’s a little ugly garishness in a place people only visit occasionally? (Blog continues below)
Civic Virtue Statue Moons LaGuardia
Joe Paterno Statue: Smaller than Civic or Saddam
Meantime, the NCAA, which is the 102 year old American version of the inbred nose-in-the-air Eurotrash International Olympic Committee, has wreaked havoc by imposing a $60 million fine, postseason ban for four years and five years of probation.
The biggest smite of all (so far) is the grave robbing of all wins from 1998 to 2011... that’s more than 100 wins that everyone knows were wins. And while they will be taken out of the stats books or listed as “vacated,” they won’t just disappear for anyone who cares about such. Paterno is hereby posthumously dethroned as winningest big time coach. The guys who played those games don’t have the luxury of not knowing about it.
The biggest smite in the future has three heads:
1. Loss of football-fueled funding for other sports that are not self-supporting.
2. Loss of enormous football dependent revenue for business and the region.
3. Inability to field a team skilled enough to play at big-ten level along with a completely legal mass exodus of players who now are allowed to transfer -- not that the team for the upcoming season was anything to write home about in the first place.
With no way to punish the actual criminals in this case other than Sandusky, they’ve punished restaurants, hotels, students, the state liquor authority and the guys who have their life savings sunk into houses that are worth less today than they were yesterday.
Here’s a question for the NCAA, a question we used to ask back in the ‘hood: Who died and made you God?
So, thanks to Jailbird Sandusky, and -- at least for now -- the late coach Paterno, the fired former president Innocence Spanier, the retired former vice president Sgt. Schultz, the on-leave athletic director Curley. Your actions and inactions are what did this.
Spanier says his father regularly beat him as a kid so how could he not have reported a serial rapist of young boys? Only by not knowing about it. Spanier was by all accounts the king of all micromanagers. The report from Freeh, who is Whiplash Willie with white shoes, says Spanier did know; had to have known.
Thanks also to Governor Tom Corbett, stellar public servant and board of trustees member that he is, who when he was attorney general learned what supposedly was going on and launched a mighty investigation consisting of one lone cop, then did nothing.
And a special thanks to the current president Rodney Irksome Erickson for agreeing not to fight the sanctions. Asked why, he said “our backs were against the wall.” Well, better your back, Rod, than your hands with that old “big kid” Sandusky behind you. But what if the Freeh report is wrong or incomplete?
Since Penn State has money to burn, they’re remodeling the shower area where Sandusky “horsed around,” as he put it, playing games like “tickle monster” and defiling young boys. They don’t need a remodeler, they need and exorcist.
Money to burn? Maybe not for long. The bond rating agency Moody’s is about to drop Penn State from its near top of the heap status on about one billion dollars in debt, which will raise the cost of borrowing which will raise the cost of everything else they buy or sell.
To today’s students and faculty: Your “Great University,” so-called, has let you down in pursuit of fame and fortune, and in your name. And while it deserves your anger and scorn and derision, it does not deserve all of your anger and scorn and derision. Save some of that for your predecessors on campus who made football players into football heros and then into football gods, who placed athletics above academics while loudly claiming they were doing the opposite, and who manufactured personality cults where mere personality admiration at most was appropriate. And then they compounded the felony by knuckling under to some holier-than-thou snoot from Indianapolis who said “off with their wins... their scholarships and their bowl games.”
The student war chant on game days is a group shout: “We are... Penn State.” No you’re not. You’re transients, but as transients you still will bear the burdens heaped on you by what we used to wrongly call the “permanent university,” which isn’t as permanent as it once seemed.
Near his life’s end, Joe Paterno said “this is not a football scandal.” He wasn’t completely right. But he wasn’t completely wrong, either.
This is a scandal of deaf, dumb and blind men or men who chose not to hear, speak or see.
(Note to readers: this is the final full length post on this subject. Other developments -- and there will be plenty -- will be mentioned -- if at all -- only in the Shrapnel section.)
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2012