I haven't written (or even talked) much about the tragedy that occured at Penn State. It is such a horrific thing that I didn't quite know what to say. I spent two years working with sexual assault victims when I was in graduate school and I know the heavy toll that something like rape can take on a person. It can shatter a persons life.
Those close to me know that I am a die hard Penn State fan. I have loved Penn State since I was a little girl. My Dad was a Lions fan so I was too. Still am.
Now Joe Pa's statue has come down. And now Penn State is losing some of their wins. It makes my heart hurt. I have seen first hand the devastation that something like this brings. But what I also know is that removing a statue or forfeiting wins won't make it better. All it does is belittle the accomplishments of years of Penn State athletes. Who is thinking about them? Did those young men do anything wrong???
I'm not going to get into whether Joe Paterno was wrong. I think he (and so many others) bear culpability. But does that erase four decades of coaching. If the statue was of Sandusky I would say blow it up. But it wasn't. It just feels like historical revisionism to me. Something ugly happened so let's erase it. Who does that help? How does that help healing occur?
As a Penn State fan the decisions being made are making it harder and harder to root for them as a university. Who suffers from this? The students, that's who! How are Penn States supposed to hold their heads high and sport their college sweatshirts and hats? How do they not hang their heads in shame EVEN THOUGH they have nothing to do with what happened.
I fear that this is going to essentially run Penn State into the ground. So all of the good that the university does will be erased in history. The millions and millions of dollars that students have raised for cancer research. The THON event they hold every year. The wonderful things they do for their community. Erased by one evil person. It makes my heart hurt.
So I will keep wearing my sweatshirts. I will do my best to show the students of Penn State that they did nothing wrong. I will remember what happened but try to also remember that Penn State stands for more than this one horrible person. I won't let an abuser ruin something so important to so many people.