With his legacy in the minds of myriad people already in tatters, the physical remembrances of legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno are beginning to be shuttered as well.
According to multiple media outlets, and in one of the sane moves the school has made in this whole sordid saga, the statue — as had been rumored — honoring Paterno outside Beaver Stadium has been removed and will be placed in storage for the foreseeable future. Work on the statue’s removal began at around 6:30 a.m. ET this morning, and was completed roughly two hours later.
A small throng of people witnessed the tearing down of the 11-year old statue, which stood seven-feet tall and weighed nearly half a ton. Some of those gathered to witness Paterno’s legacy literally being torn down in front of them were, as the Centre Daily Times wrote, visibly upset.
“It’s just another crime being committed,” State College resident Susan Lamey laughably told the paper. “It’s just like what they want to do with the football team. They keep punishing the innocent. This is not solving the problem. This doesn’t fix anything.”
While it may not “fix” anything, the removal of the statue, new PSU president Rodney Erickson said, will help the school in its healing process.
“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,” Erickson’s statement read. “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.”
The removal comes less than two weeks after the Freeh report pointed to many high-powered Penn State officials, including Paterno, being actively involved in a cover-up of convicted serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
Paterno’s family has yet to comment on the removal.