Here we go. Again.
Four years ago this month, and following the release of the damning Freeh Report that pointed to many high-powered Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno, being actively involved in a cover-up of convicted serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky, Penn State removed the on-campus statue honoring the legendary but disgraced head football coach. Since then, calls of varying degree have gone out demanding the statue of the deceased coach be returned to what some groups consider its rightful spot outside of Beaver Stadium.
Tuesday, another rather large call went out.
In a letter sent to PSU president Eric Barron as well as the university’s board of trustees, more than 200 former Nittany Lion football players have called for Paterno’s statue to be returned to their former campus.
“We have been told during the last four-plus year that the board and administration are waiting for the appropriate time to repair the damage they created,” Brian Masella, former tight end and punter for the Nittany Lions, who spoke on behalf of the lettermen to the Philadelphia Inquirer and other media outlets. “Now is the appropriate time. Enough is enough!”
“[Franco Harris, outspoken critic of the university’s handling of Paterno,] told us, as players, as alumni, to remain fighting for the truth from the trustees because they haven’t been outwardly corporative and truthful in fighting for the football program, or its former coaches, players, etc., and the alumni in general, in this Sandusky matter; the players that signed on, none of us are guilty of any wrongdoing, and we feel like we’ve been thrown under the bus by the trustees circa the time Joe was fired,” Masella told PennLive.com.
In addition to calling for the statue to be returned to its original spot, the letter asks that the university “make a long overdue apology to [Joe Paterno’s widow] Sue Paterno for the way in which Paterno’s legacy has been unfairly tarnished in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky saga.”
“It is one of the great sorrows of my life… I wish I had done more,” said Paterno in a statement around his retirement/dismissal, referencing the victims of Sandusky’s sexual abuse. Just two months ago, reports surfaced that Paterno was aware in 1976 of sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky, the former Paterno right-hand man who was convicted of molesting at least 10 underage males victims during and after his long stint as a Nittany Lions assistant.