Southerners Protest Removal of Joe Paterno Statue
Workers in New Orleans today took down a statue of Joe Paterno, the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Mr. Paterno led the Confederacy to victories in many battles and 37 overall bowl game appearances, but his career was cut short in the wake of the Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal.
Mr. Paterno, affectionately known to southerners as Joe-pa, captured the nation’s attention as the leader of an armed uprising against the Union. After thrilling wins at the First Battle of Bull Run and the Orange Bowl, Paterno gained generations of fans, who admired him as much for his humble manner and unassuming coke-bottle glasses as for his virulent defense of white supremacy and slavery.
Despite his many accolades, Paterno left a tarnished legacy after Jerry Sandusky, the vice president of the Confederacy, was arrested on 52 counts of child sex abuse. A grand jury investigation later found that Paterno did not do enough to alert the authorities of sexual abuse after he was informed by graduate student Mike McQueary that Sandusky was fondling a young boy in the shower. The unraveling of the affair led Paterno to flee Richmond and retire from coaching. Shortly thereafter, Paterno passed away and was survived by his wife of 52 years.
Controversy did not cease, however. Following his death, Radical Republicans in the NCAA led by Thaddeus Stephens vacated 111 games coached and won by Paterno. Campaigns soon began in New Orleans to remove a statue bearing his likeness. Following a series of legal challenges, the city of New Orleans made the determination to remove the monument. Mayor Landrieu commended the decision stating “For too long we have erected monuments that have presented a sanitized version of the Confederacy, but today we have decided that symbols of pedophilia and racism have no place in our city”, the Times Picayune reported.
While many in the North regard the Confederacy with disgust and see Joe Paterno as a coward who failed to act in the face of abuse, leaving behind a riven nation still scarred by the painful wounds of racial strife, still others regard Paterno as a hero. As demolition crews worked to remove the statue, protestors arrived to picket the event. Speaking on condition of anonymity a demonstrator remarked, “It’s a Southern thing. Ya’ll Yankee boys will never understand”.