Jeez. I thought it would be a peaceful Friday. Went out this morning to try out a couple of kayaks. Wound up buying two. Had a nice lunch with AS. Came back home. Read the news. What? The statue is coming down? The statue isn’t coming down? People thinking they know what they’re talking about not knowing what they’re talking about? WTF?
Some are saying that the issue has already been voted on. Others say that only Erickson is involved, not the BOT. Erickson said that he knows nothing about no steenking statue comeen down.
Well, if I were Erickson, I would do two things. First, I would decide to take the statue down. The reason is simple: appease the NCAA. For if Penn State doesn’t jump through enough hoops before the beginning of the football season, the NCAA is liable to ensure that there will be no football season. Second, I would swear everyone to secrecy. It seems that secrecy is an ambiguously implemented concept on the Penn State campus. A child rapist can be kept secret for 16 years, but at other times the ivory tower seems to leak like a sieve. This is one instance in which a leak to the ever hungry media could be dangerous.
If the statue does come down this weekend as the leaks suggest, you can be sure there will be an organized protest. That’s a good enough reason for secrecy. Hell, we students used to guard the Nittany Lion shrine all night to protect against marauding Orangemen from Syracuse. I think we should expect that if the approximate timing — or even the date — of the statue removal is known, there will be a contingent of students to conduct an “over my dead body” vigil on the statue site. It could get ugly.
The argument in favor of removing the statue is that it will be a show of earnest intent by the sitting administration to absolve itself of the sins of the past. Coupled with the resignation of former trustee Steve Garban, the gesture might be enough to avoid the so-called death penalty. Or not. But Penn State has to make some visible progress beyond the sordid past of the Sandusky scandal.
Garban was chairman when the Sandusky scandal broke, so his resignation is a logical step. He still holds the title of Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations/Treasurer Emeritus at Penn State. His term would have ended in 2013. Garban was captain of the Nittany Lions football team in 1959 and worked for the university for 33 years. He was senior vice president for 12 of those and he was elected trustee in 1998. Many thought that he and Paterno were good friends.
Back to the statue, to leave it stand is to send a message of defiance to the NCAA. That’s perhaps the last thing Penn State needs to do right now. While this Turkey had recently advocated keeping the statue and moving it to a proposed Paterno exhibit in the All Sports Museum, it occurred to me that the NCAA might be specifically looking for this kind of symbolic “sacrifice” to appease the gods on high.
Will a Garban sacrifice and a posthumous Paterno defilement, along with implementation of the recommendations of the Freeh report, be sufficient as a show of good faith for the NCAA? This Turkey thinks that with a little more housecleaning on the board of trustees, it just might be.
Somebody needs to caulk up Old Main to plug those damn pesky leaks. The statue take down needs to happen under a cloak of secrecy to avoid a riot similar to that which occurred after Paterno’s dismissal last November. Students really don’t need much of an excuse to riot, but the statue removal would be a definite trigger.
Still, Penn State can’t allow itself to be held hostage by the threat of a student revolt, so it must act as Rod Erickson decides, and not change course in mid-stream.
Decisive leadership is essential at this juncture.