Joe Paterno Statue: Penn State Removes Former Coach's Statue

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JULY 21:  The statue of former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno stands outside Beaver Stadium July 21, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. Penn State's president Rodney Erickson is expected to make a decision on whether or not to remove the statue in the wake of the child sex scandal of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. It's believed that Paterno had detailed knowledge of Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing children before and after Sandusky retired from coaching at Penn State.  (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Penn State University has decided to remove the statue of former head coach Joe Paterno from outside the school’s football stadium, according to the Associated Press.

BREAKING: Penn State says the statue of famed coach Joe Paterno is coming down from outside stadium.

— The Associated Press (@AP) July 22, 2012

Penn State has also released an official statement and says that the library will continue to bear his name.

The debate over taking the statue down started to heat up after the recent reports that Paterno was part of an alleged cover-up that allowed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky to continue sexually assaulting children.

The debate is over now. The man that has become synonymous with the tragic Sandusky case will have his statue taken down.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 22, 11:20 a.m. ET by Donald Wood

With the removal of the Joe Paterno statue from outside Beaver Stadium, the former coach’s family has openly questioned Penn State’s reasoning behind the decision.

Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News brought us the Paterno family’s official statement:

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Tearing down the statue of Joe Paterno does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State Community. We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth. The Freeh report, though it has been accepted by the media as the definitive conclusion on the Sandusky scandal, is the equivalent of an indictment — a charging document written by a prosecutor — and an incomplete and unofficial one at that.

The evidence against Paterno in the report is damning, but it is natural for those close to the coach to want to defend their loved one. After watching Joe build such a great legacy, only to have it destroyed by a despicable mistake, the family is fighting for their honor at this point.

There are no winners here; everyone loses.

---------End of Update--------

UPDATE: Sunday, July 22, 8:40 a.m. ET by Donald Wood

Penn State has wasted no time after making a decision this morning, and the removal of the Joe Paterno statue from the front of Beaver Stadium is already in full swing.

The Centre Daily Times shares a sad image that truly represents the whole Penn State situation:

UPDATED STORY — Jackhammers chip away at base of #Paterno statue, scene calm as dozens look on:…

— Centre Daily Times (@centredailycom) July 22, 2012

No matter what your feelings on the involvement of Paterno in the alleged cover-up of Jerry Sandusky’s actions, the statue would always be associated with that incident, and that is not fair to the victims.

Taking it down was the only option.

The whole Penn State situation has just become sadder by the day, which is a testament to the destruction that one man can cause and how no one should stay quiet.

----------End of Update----------


What It Means

Much of the talk since the Freeh report came out has centered around Paterno’s involvement in the possible cover-up. Paterno is associated with Sandusky’s crimes, and that’s what people will see when they see his statue outside Beaver Stadium.

With more children being sexually abused after the former coach knew of Sandusky’s actions, this is not something that can be ignored.

With that much of a black eye on Paterno’s career, it doesn’t matter what he did for 46 years because all anyone will think about when they see his statue would be Jerry Sandusky.

That’s not what the Nittany Lions want outside their stadium.

What’s Next?

As we have seen from the photos surfacing on the Internet, the school has already started removing the statue and it will be down by the end of Sunday.

PSU is not wasting any time trying to turn the page from this incident. This will help the school distance itself from Paterno and everything from the Sandusky era.

Check back for more on the NCAA football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s college football page to get your fill of college football.