Author Malcolm Gladwell speaks downtown, says Paterno statue should be put back up

Story posted February 3, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Maddie Biertempfel

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Journalist, podcaster and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell stopped in State College Wednesday to talk about his latest book, “Talking with Strangers,” and take questions from Daily Collegian staff.

While answering a question regarding a chapter of his book that rehashes the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Gladwell said the Joe Paterno statue should be put back up.

“Having read everything that I think there is to read on this case, it’s not clear to me that he did anything wrong,” Gladwell said. “I think he did what he was reasonably expected to do under the circumstances and what was called for by the university’s own procedures. ”

Gladwell’s assertion received applause from much of the crowd at the State Theatre.

“I don’t know on what basis you would take down a man’s statue for following the procedures of his own university,” Gladwell said.

The Paterno statue was removed in 2012 following the Freeh report that found the head football coach covered up sexual abuse allegations.

Gladwell also talked about his views on electing presidents in America, even suggesting that the country would better off if voters didn’t know any candidates’ physical characteristics.

“We’d be better off if all the information was taken away from us and all we knew was how this person responded to thoughtful questions about what they believe and what they would do in the event of certain kinds of problems,” Gladwell said.

The hour-and-a-half event attracted hundreds, and was hosted by the Centre Daily Times and Daily Collegian.


Maddie Biertempfel is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. To contact her, email