The family of deceased Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is unsurprisingly unhappy about Penn State's decision to remove a statue in his honor.
"Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth. The Freeh report, though it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal, is the equivalent of an indictment — a charging document written by a prosecutor — and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.
"To those who truly want to know the truth about Sandusky, it should matter that Joe Paterno has never had a hearing; that his legal counsel has never been able to interview key witnesses, all of whom are represented by lawyers and therefore unavailable; that there has never been an opportunity to review critical evidence which has not been made public; that selective evidence and the opinion of Mr Freeh is treated as the equivalent of a fair trial. Despite this obviously flawed and one-sided presentation, the University believes it must acquiesce and accept that Joe Paterno has been given a fair and complete hearing. We think the better course would have been for the University to take a strong stand in support of due process so that the complete truth can be uncovered.
"It is not the University's responsibility to defend or protect Joe Paterno. But they at least should have acknowledged that important legal cases are still pending and that the record on Joe Paterno, the Board and other key players is far from complete."
Yes, well. Paterno might well have ended up being tried, had he survived. The decisions currently being made about him aren't of a legal nature, though; they're questions of whether the university ought to continue to celebrate Paterno when nearly all available evidence suggests that, at the bare minimum, he didn't do nearly enough to stop Sandusky from using the Penn State football program to abuse children. Having a statue of yourself on display is not a legal right.
The Paterno family's recent statements to the press have taken on an increasingly sad, desperate quality. That's understandable, since Paterno's remarkable fall from grace has to hurt his family more than anyone.