Dan Le Batard Credit: The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

For now it appears Penn State trustees have been thwarted in their efforts to name the school’s football stadium after disgraced former head coach Joe Paterno. But Dan Le Batard this week raised the alarm on the school’s motions to clean up Paterno’s legacy, urging fans to pay attention to the efforts by wealthy donors to undo Paterno’s troubled legacy and overlook the victims of the sexual violence scandal that undid him.

Speaking on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday, Le Batard railed against the university and fans’ capacity to forget or ignore tragedy.

“I don’t get offended by very much that happens anymore in sports, I really don’t,” Le Batard said. “But the money at Penn State, after the single largest scandal of any kind I can remember anywhere in sports, it’s such ancient history that we forget about it after three presidential cycles.”

News broke last week that not only were donors attempting to honor the late coach despite his troubled legacy overseeing systemic sexual abuse by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, but they did so in closed-door meetings that may have violated a state law. This week, Paterno’s son appeared before university officials and spoke against the motion, which was ultimately dismissed. However, Jay Paterno’s reason for going against the efforts to honor his father reportedly centered on Penn State’s president’s desires to instead focus on budgetary concerns, not the complicated memory his father has around campus.

Le Batard encouraged sports fans to be resolute in holding onto difficult memories rather than allowing money to rewrite history.

“It’s deeply offensive that this isn’t a bigger story, never mind that you’re trying to do it in private when public law suggests that that’s a violation and a crime in and of itself,” Le Batard continued. “But to do that with your money? When you think all along that Joe Paterno has been wronged, when you’re forgetting or maybe don’t care that the largest sports scandal of our lifetime, a patron saint of college football, an American hero, was overseeing one of his assistant coaches leading boys to horror that they will never undo. How does that happen quietly?”

The Meadowlark Media founder and longtime sports talk host acknowledged it’s not easy to sit with such deep-seeded crimes, but highlighted how bad actors will step in and take advantage of that.

“This is some shadowy cult s*** to be trying to circumvent government law to have private meetings where the money reinstates (Paterno),” Le Batard said. “We’re going to get that forgetful about that? We’re going to get that numb to sports controversy … that this is going to be allowed to happen in the shadows?”

Beyond the secrecy, Penn State trustees would also be undoing efforts to heal. The university removed a statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium in 2012, during the height of the scandal, shortly after the coach’s death. Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins, who conducted an interview with Paterno shortly before his death, deduced that the coach was more concerned about his legacy overseeing the football team than the pain he caused his community.

Le Batard believes any honoring of Paterno at Penn State would be a direct insult to Sandusky’s victims and the community of State College.

“You might as well name it f*** you stadium, like we don’t care that it’s the biggest sports scandal that anyone has ever seen,” he said. “That a saint in college football was overseeing the worst of crimes, that he was even tangentially involved.

“But then you’re putting his name on a stadium and resurrecting all of it the moment that you do that.”

For now, Penn State’s efforts to wash away the mistakes Paterno made are on pause. As Le Batard notes, it’s hard to say there will be enough public pushback if the university tries again in the future.

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.