Joe Paterno’s Statue Taken Down
The image of Penn State’s legendary head coach Joe Paterno is proving too much for the faculty and students at the university. A statue of the coach, who brought the school to a monumental 324 football victories, has been taken down.
“I now believe that, contrary to its original intention, Coach Paterno’s statue has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our University and beyond,” said Penn State President Rodney Erickson. “For that reason, I have decided that it is in the best interest of our university and public safety to remove the statue and store it in a secure location. 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.”
Paterno was cast in a shameful light, after evidence revealed the head coach’s culpability in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. “I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Paterno,” said FBI Director Louis Freeh. “But the facts are the facts. He was an integral part of an active effort to conceal.”
Paterno choose not to inform the authorities after his assistant Mike McQueary witnessed an incident in the school’s locker room shower between defense coordinator Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy in 2001. After Sandusky’s arrest in 2011, one decade later, evidence began to emerge about Paterno’s role in concealment. Disgust and outrage erupted. Many accused Paterno of silently enabling a sexual predator, while others continued to back the honor-laden coach. Sandusky was arrested for 48 counts of child abuse from 1994-2009, and convicted of 45 counts in June 2012.
The statue that once honored a man that former President George H. W. Bush called “an outstanding American” and “a true icon in the world of sports” has been removed from the university’s campus.
Joe Paterno passed away from lung cancer in January 2012 with his legacy in ruins.
What are your thoughts? Did Penn State go too far? Is this the first step to right the wrongs that were done?