As of Friday’s Penn State Board of Trustees meeting, there was no official decision over what to do with the statue of former coach Joe Paterno (along with other likenesses).
Privately, though, a decision appears to have been made — reportedly — and I would venture a guess that most, if not all, people outside Happy Valley will shake their collective heads if it turns out to be the case.
According to ESPN”s Outside the Lines, the university’s trustees have decided to keep Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium standing, at least for the immediate future. However, some trustees hope to never tear it down.
From the report:
“You can’t let people stampede you into making a rash decision,” a trustee said. “The statue represents the good that Joe did. It doesn’t represent the bad that he did.”
Although some trustees said in discussions Thursday and Friday in board meetings in Scranton, Pa., they believed the statue eventually would have to be torn down, most quickly reached a consensus it should remain standing in the coming weeks and months, trustees and a person briefed on their discussions said. Some trustees went even further, insisting Paterno’s statue outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., never should be removed.
“It has to stay up,” said another trustee. “We have to let a number of months pass, and we’ll address it again. But there is no way, no way. It’s just not coming down.”
However, a PSU spokesperson later stated “Contrary to various reports, neither the Board of Trustees nor University Administration has taken a vote or made a decision regarding the Joe Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium.”
There have been numerous cries to take down Paterno’s statue in the immediate aftermath of the Freeh report. Among those in favor of a removal is former Florida State coach and a longtime friend of Paterno, Bobby Bowden.
But OTL reports that the request for patience by the BOT is a cover by some in hopes that, with the passage of time, the demands to remove Paterno’s statue will subside.
“They don’t get to tell us,” an anonymous source told ESPN. “This is a Penn State community decision.”
That’s true, and as I’ve said before, it’s a complex one given the totality of Paterno’s legacy.
Personally, though, I think it should come down.