Penn State Removes Joe Paterno Statue
Penn State students, athletes, alumni and officials have apparently wrung collective hands enough. The now-infamous statue of late head football coach Joe Paterno that stands outside the school's stadium will be removed, an inevitable tragedy of Paterno's reported role in covering up former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's years of sexually abusing children using University resources.
A Paterno family spokesperson didn't immediately return comment requests, but Penn State officials made their announcement early Sunday morning, ESPN and The Associated Press reported. Debate over whether it would be appropriate for the university to keep the monument standing in light of former FBI director Louis Freeh's investigative report finding that Paterno and three top Penn State administrators abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago, in the name of protecting the university's football program's legacy.
"I believe that, were it to remain, the statue will be a recurring wound to the multitude of individuals across the nation and beyond who have been the victims of child abuse," said Penn State president Rod Erickson in a statement released at 7 a.m. ET.
The statue reportedly has been barricaded by construction vehicles and a chain-link fence, with police standing guard. A blue tarp conceals it from view. The Centre Daily Times of College Station, Penn. has started an online live feed of workers preparing for the statue's removal.
A blue tarp removing Paterno's tribute from sight - perhaps that's fitting.
Erickson added that because Paterno's name on a wing of the school's library "symbolizes the substantial and lasting contributions to the academic life and educational excellence that the Paterno family has made to Penn State University," that honor will remain.
The bronze likeness standing outside Beaver Stadium, leading a bronze pack of Nittany Lions, became a sort of worshipful shrine for students and alumni, first in anger that gave way to rioting following Paterno's firing almost immediately after Sandusky was arrested Nov. 5, then in grief following the 85-year-old's Jan. 22 death.
As former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz await trial on failing to report child abuse and lying to a grand juy charges, Paterno's family has joined with attorney representing the two and former president Graham Spanier in denying willfully protecting Sandusky from investigation or charges.
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