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Sunday stew: Joe Paterno statue must be removed

Penn State president Rodney Ericksis expected make decisiabout Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium soon. | John Beale~AP

Penn State president Rodney Erickson is expected to make a decision about the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium soon. | John Beale~AP

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Updated: August 23, 2012 10:45AM



We supposedly will know in hours whether Penn State president Rodney Erickson will order the removal of the Joe Paterno statue near one of the entrances to Beaver Stadium.

I’m saying it goes. It has to.

If left in place, the metal casting of the big-glasses coach running in front of his team, tie flying and right index finger joyously waving in the air, will be a sort of hideous ground zero of continual conflict.

Stunningly, with the knowledge that Paterno was only a sports coach, his field of expertise no more or less than victory against athletes from other colleges in a game that didn’t exist until the late 1800s, the ground zero could symbolize pro-pedophilia vs.
anti-pedophilia.

Of course, the issue isn’t so simple. But former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and his perversions cast a grotesque, complex and long-tentacled shadow over ‘‘Happy Valley.’’

Yet a statue is a simple thing. It orders respect from those who observe it. It orders obeisance from those who allow it to exist.

One of the lines from the recently completed Freeh Report, an investigation of the decades-long Penn State sexual-abuse mess and its coverup, is telling. Of Paterno and other school officials, the report says, ‘‘They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims.’’

This is noteworthy because football itself isn’t about empathy; it’s about shutting up and getting up.

Rub some dirt on it.

Cut that sumbitch at the knees!

Don’t be a crybaby!

The process of denial, of subjugation to a larger cause — winning — means injuries are meaningless. The only injury that matters is the one that puts you in a cast or on an operating table.

Mental wounds are no different from physical wounds.

Get your ass up!

So little boys who have been tormented but look just fine need to play by the gridiron rules: Empathy is weakness. Buck up!

Even little boys aren’t allowed to cry.

If left where it is, I can see the Paterno statue defaced, mutilated, maybe holding a handmade sign with the number of Sandusky’s victims on it.

The statue will go.

† CUBS RIGHT-HANDER Ryan Dempster’s name comes up in every report about a team looking to acquire a quality pitcher.

This has been going on for weeks, with the Cubs having hoisted the white flag in, let’s see, mid-May.

It just makes you wonder how Dempster could have done this season for another team, one with possibilities, and how Theo Epstein is going to make some team pay the Cubs for the trade.

These kinds of deals can be sneaky good for the future. Or just good for money management.

† WITH THE 2012 Olympic Games in London set to begin in less than week, I just have to wonder about the U.S. men’s basketball team.

The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade has said NBA players should get paid to play in the Olympics because . . . well, because they’re stars and don’t do diddly for free.

Fine. But Wade is injured and won’t have to worry about playing for the United States for free.

And maybe he has a point. Now that every country has pros playing Olympic hoops, it might be nice to put an age limit on men’s basketball and make it for guys 22 and younger with no NBA experience.

Because what we get with these ‘‘Dream Teams,’’ now that Michael, Magic and Larry can’t dominate countries that barely have baskets within their borders, is a lot of pretty bored athletes going through the motions, waiting for their pro bling to kick in.

† FINALLY, HOW CAN you not be impressed by the fact Dennis Rodman met his dad after 42 years of separation? According to an Associated Press report, Pops lives in the Philippines and runs a restaurant called Rodman’s Rainbow Obamaburger in the town of Angeles City.

The elder Rodman, 71, has a unique first name: Philander. It seems he felt compelled to live up to its meaning and has acknowledged fathering 29 children by 16 mothers.

Maybe the oddest thing about the event was that aging Dennis Rodman was playing on an NBA alumni team that included, among others, former Bulls Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen.

It was probably all just for fun. I just hope Pippen wasn’t doing it for the money. That would be scary.



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