It only takes a simple search of “Penn State” on Twitter to see that the cult surrounding the school is still alive. You can see tweets ranging from support of Paterno to complete denial that anything has even happened. The point being, the majority of the Penn State community still hasn’t learned its lesson and isn’t showing signs that it wants to. It’s really quite sad and disturbing.
Last week, I was able to speak to two somewhat “reasonable” (reasonable meaning they actually formulated ideas within our conversation) Penn State students on Twitter the day the news broke about the possible removal of Joe Paterno’s statue outside of Beaver Stadium. After I was first cursed at for even insinuating that a cult like atmosphere existed within the school, I was able to have a semi-intelligent conversation with them. I’m not going to give out their names or Twitter handles but a simple look through my tweets will deliver you the conversation.
One of the students told me, “I’m just tired of people disrespecting the school I love. It’s sickening. People outside of PSU have no idea.” This seems to be the most common argument among people in the Penn State community. It’s been used since the very beginning. Even to defend the riots. The student is right, kind of. Of course we can’t understand; we aren’t a part of your cult. However, your school wouldn’t be under so much fire if your leaders, especially the man who you essentially worshipped, didn’t cover up and try to protect a monster of whom they were all well aware of.
“It seems that everyone rather blame JoePa for Sandusky, than anyone else. You could blame Spanier, PSU police, jerry’s wife,” the same student went on to say. Yes, we would rather blame Paterno. He has (had) a statue in the middle of your campus. He was the one who was most powerful at your university, as outlined in the Freeh report. He was the figurehead of your university and when the most prominent people fail a community, they must be taken down.
There are even people out there who are still skeptical of the Freeh Report, if not completely denying the facts in it, saying that it is a mere smear campaign against Paterno and the rest. When your own school accepts the findings, you probably should too. The first step to recovery is accepting there’s a problem, folks.
“But that statue is there for everything good about Penn State…the man did 100 times more good than bad.” I agree that the statue was supposed to represent good. Of course it wasn’t supposed to represent the bad. But now it does. That’s the reality of it. Had it not been removed, people would immediately think of what Paterno didn’t do rather than what he did if they saw it. Paterno did some good things for the Penn State community. Unfortunately for him and for them, he did horrible things as well. It’s time that the cult realizes this.
Before the second student started bashing the university I attend, they stated, “no cult, just pride. We are the students, not the ones to blame.” No one is blaming you. We are criticizing you for supporting leaders and a school that failed you. And if it was me, I am not sure how I could have pride in my school if this is what they are now known for.
Yes. This level of intelligence in people exists…
When the news broke last week that the statue of Joe Paterno would be removed this weekend, a sense of relief came over me. Not only has it been taken down but the NCAA has handed down “unprecedented” sanctions, most notably: a fine of $60 million to fund an endowment for victims of sexual abuse, a ban from post season play 4 years, a cut in scholarships from 25 to 15 for 4 years, and forced vacating of wins from 1998-2011.
For most of us, the Penn State saga ended today. For some in the Penn State community though, they will go on saying that the sanctions are unfair and unwarranted. They can continue to be blind to what has happened but now we can at least ignore them. The penalties have been handed down and the statue is gone.
The first students last response in regards to Paterno’s good deeds was this: “After time passes, people will remember. I promise that! If it (the statue) does go down, it will be back there someday.” It’s these types of people who will just never get it. They will never get that what their idols and the school they love so much did was wrong. They will never be able to break away from the cult that is only hurting them. But we don’t have to worry about them anymore. The time for arguments is over. These people will just drink the Kool-Aid and fade away.