How sadly ironic is it that Saddam's statue and Paterno's both feature right arms raised in the air. The myth of the all conquering hero comes to mind, with crowds cheering and the arm gesture showing appreciation. In the sad reality of both men, they were so out of touch with the truly heroic; one gassing his own people and oppressing them, the other being unable to appreciate or to care about the young men who were being savagely abused by Sandusky. Both Saddam and Paterno can be seen as monsters, and I do not know which one is worse, and that may be the saddest part of all.
For now, Penn State has done the right thing after years of getting it wrong. Unfortunately, Paterno's name remains on the school library. Erickson justifies this saying that it is because of "the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University." If this leaves a bad taste in your mouth you are not alone.
Reagan said to tear down the wall, and eventually it happened. People called for the statue to come down weeks ago, and it finally has. I am also predicting that the library should soon go by another name. It is just a matter of time. Paterno's only "substantial and lasting contribution" is a toxic one, tarnishing the name of his university and the reputation of his program. His legacy is one of horrific proportions, and it is fitting that his statue is where it should be, in the darkest of catacombs where it can remain for all time.
Photo Credits: paterno statue-AP; saddam statue-guardian.co.uk.