Penn State University reportedly took down the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley.
Students reportedly draped the Joe Paterno statue in a white sheet and set it aflame last night.
And then today, the University removed the statue from Penn State campus. There were cheers from many onlookers, but a number of Penn State fans were irate. “We should just leave it up as symbol of how one incident can change your whole life.”
This is where the statue used to be:
Bobby Bowden, the longtime coach for Florida State, thought it was good idea for Penn State to take down the statue.
Bowden knew Joe Paterno for more than 40 years and said he still loves the late Penn State football coach. Bowden believed the statue honoring Paterno outside Beaver Stadium should be removed.
“Every time they show that statue on TV, people won’t remember the good years,” the former Florida State football coach said Thursday. “They’re only going to remember the things with (Jerry) Sandusky. I still love Joe, and I still love his family, but Joe made a mistake, like all of us do. But this was a big one. I’m so sorry it happened.”
While fans in Penn State Nation digested special investigator Louis Freeh’s report concerning the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, they were also debating Joe Paterno’s legacy. There is an on-campus library named for the coach. The university has donations has had no major NCAA violations over the 46-year coaching career of Joe Paterno.
Freeh specifically said he wasn’t singling out Paterno in the 267-page report. However, Paterno is the only one of the four with a statue dedicated to him on campus. Former players, university officials and those who knew Paterno all said Thursday that the coach’s legacy, though blemished, needs to be viewed in full.
“To me, this shows that he was fallible,” analyst Matt Millen said on ESPN. “He made a mistake. … Is (his legacy) spoiled? Yes, absolutely it’s spoiled. But there’s still a lot of good there.”
Board member Kenneth Frazier cited the “inexcusable failures on the part of Joe Paterno and others to protect children” but added that Paterno “did a lot of tremendous things in his life.”
But Penn State fans made the decision. They gathered around Paterno’s statue and demanded that it be taken down. A crane was brought in this morning. One Nittany Lion fan blew a whole in Paterno’s statue with a shotgun.
After the crowd calmed down a bit, workers took the statue down and took it away. Rumors are that the statue is headed for a landfill in New Jersey.