About the Paterno Statue

July 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm 38 comments

On Sunday, there was a steady stream of people posing for photos at the Paterno statue.

Just when we thought this whole sad mess couldn’t get any more bizarre, today an airplane flew repeatedly over campus and town, trailing a banner saying: TAKE THE STATUE DOWN OR WE WILL.

The Centre Daily Times reported that the plane is registered to an Ohio company, whose owner declined to say who hired him to trail the banner. He did, however, say, “I believe in freedom of speech.”

Is it free speech if you’re threatening criminal acts? I don’t have the legal chops to say. But I have a feeling that today’s incident doesn’t bode well for the statue.

Regardless of your views on Paterno and on the Freeh report, I suspect that the statue—which has stood since 2001—is rapidly becoming a safety concern.

There’s been a steady police presence at the statue ever since former FBI director Louis Freeh, hired by the Penn State Board of Trustees to investigate the Sandusky scandal, issued his report last Thursday. And today’s incident with the plane surely has Penn State police and others thinking about all of the possible things that could go wrong at that statue.

Picture the university having to have security at the statue 24/7 indefinitely. Picture the fights that could break out at the statue during home games. Worse yet, picture a bunch of fans posing at the statue before a game and some angry jerk deciding to drive a truck into the crowd. From a safety perspective, sadly, the statue is an incident—if not a tragedy—waiting to happen.

President Erickson told the Centre Daily Times today that a decision about the statue will be made in seven to 10 days. Here’s hoping someone comes up with a creative solution that, somehow, brings healing.

Tina Hay, editor

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A Freeh Report Reading List Joe Paterno Statue Removed

38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sharon Basile Freeark '83  |  July 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    I say: Penn State cannot and should not take down the statue because of bullies who hire planes trailing veiled threats. It’s ridiculous.

  • 2. Cynthia Hamlin  |  July 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Funny how some people will rail against hiding in the shadows…unless it’s them. If the plane owner and the sender of the message had any testicular fortitude, they would put their name to their actions.

  • 3. Naturewoman  |  July 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Yea, lets coward down to the criminals… that’s the answer! I say the statue stays!!

  • 4. Gwen Garber Davis '80  |  July 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Sandusky fooled a lot of people. I’m sick of everyone putting the blame on Paterno. The statue should stay.

  • 5. Rebecca Maxon  |  July 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Strength to you and all you colleagues at Penn State! Whatever decision is made, let it be in the best interest of present (and future) students.

  • 6. Mary  |  July 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    Here’s another scenario, far more likely than someone driving through a crowd: a sexual abuse survivor sees a bunch of people crowding around the statue, grinning for the camera with arms raised victoriously and realizes that nothing really changes. Put the statue in the sports museum where people who want to see it can do so. And donate the admission money to a survivors group.

  • 7. Steve '69 in VA  |  July 18, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Mary I appreciate your thoughts but Jerry Sandusky harmed kids, JS harmed PSU, JS betrayed his friends and family … NOT JoePA! He was deceived by JS like everyone else … if you want a villain to curse look no further than Harrisburg and the governor’s office … that man is at best taking his revenge out on JoePa & PSU … at worse he is covering up something by diverting the media mob!

  • 8. Naturewoman  |  July 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Thank You Steve!

  • 9. Bonnie '86  |  July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I believe it is premature to take the statue down. The real villain is JS, and he fooled many, many people over many years. The general public is angry, and JoePa has become a target for their wrath. This story is not over yet……….. Joe was too good of a man for too many years for the PSU faithful among us to believe the incomplete, slanted media frenzy. The “real” investigation (state attorney generals office) is yet to come. Freeh was not permitted to interview Curley, Spanier or Shultz and their complete testimonies regarding the context of e/mails is yet to be revealed. It is so easy for cowards to attack a dead man who cannot defend himself! Keep the statue up but protect it! PSU is paying millions of dollars in other costs related to this mess, they can certainly afford a creative solution to protect the JoePa statue.

  • 10. Amy J '82  |  July 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    My two cents: There’s so much pressure from outside to take down the statue; it is dividing us when we should be rallying together to restore our good name. No matter what decision is made, I’m worried about possible violence. I think now would be a good time for the Paterno family to step up, in light of the controversy, and advocate that the statue be placed in the All Sports Museum or the Library. If it comes from them, perhaps the students and alums would accept it easier.
    For the record – I’ve read the Freeh report in its entirety twice. I don’t understand how motive (protect football) could be ascribed to the actions/inactions of Paterno & Spanier, especially. Yes – It was a big mistake to not investigate the 2001 incident the same way, or more thoroughly, than the ’98 incident – but to assume, or say that “it’s reasonable to conclude” that it was to protect football, is a leap not supported by anything I read. Can someone show me the smoking gun/email? I look forward to hearing the rest of the story from Curley & Schultz.

  • 11. Naturewoman  |  July 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Can somebody please show me the smoking gun, about the emails Paterno was mentioned in, directly show he was trying to cover-up anything. No because it’s not there, just fabrications… And Amy, there’s no smoking gun anywhere in the Freeh report. Why can’t people understand that the report has no legality to it. In a court of law, it would be thrown out! We all need to wait for all the trials to happen…

  • 13. davidpsu  |  July 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “I wish people would stop talking about giving Penn State football the death penalty and taking down the statue of Joe Paterno. Yeah, I had to submit to Mr. Sandusky 11 years ago. At that time I had no idea what was happening to me, but I did know it was abnormal and strange. Now I would like to move on with my life. But if they take away Penn State football, or take down the statue, that would not make me feel any better. In fact, it would hurt me very much. I love Penn State, and I love Joe Paterno. He did so much good for so many people, and Penn State is such a great University with awesome traditions. It would hurt me every day for the rest of my life knowing that my testimony was responsible for all this. Can people please let Penn State and the rest of us heal?” –Victim #12

  • 14. davidpsu  |  July 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse. There are two reasons why a victim does not testify. First reason is fear that no one will believe you. Second is the fear of destroying something that you love. The penalties that people are insisting taking place at Penn State is just the type of reason that victims like myself do not testify. It would only make the scars much more deeper.

  • 15. Cindy Shingler  |  July 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    davidpsu – thank you so much for posting your comments. As one who suffered from abuse by Sandusky, I would hope your sentiments would carry the most weight. Please know that you have support of all of us who love Joe, his family and our university.

  • 16. Naturewoman  |  July 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    David, if you are on Facebook and if you would like, please join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ps4rs/

    You can stay anonymous about your past.
    Thanks!

  • 17. DACM  |  July 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Here’s a creative solution: the university leadership starts actually leading. Stop making cowardly statements to the media, the alumni, the students and the general public and START STANDING UP FOR PENN STATE!

  • 18. psuforever  |  July 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    PS4RS is a great group of alumni and friends who have been extremely supportive since the November incident. We would definitely welcome you!

  • 19. Naturewoman  |  July 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Davidpsu, can you make this statement thru a lawyer so it’s legal and no questions are asked to it legitimacy? If so, PLEASE do! Thanks!!!

  • 20. Michelle Anne Leonard  |  July 20, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    davidpsu- I would like to thank/commend you for speaking out. AS far as I am concerned you are a remarkable young man. Your words matter a lot. My heart hurts for what you went through and I am humbled by the strength you are demonstrating by your post. God Bless you.

  • 21. Bonnie '86  |  July 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    #13 post – davidpsu. God bless you young man for everything you have gone thru and I hope that someday you are able to heal and have closure from this horrific turn of events. The PSU faithful are so shocked by this ……… we went from the Ivory Snow babies of college football to something beyond comprehension, and THEN we have to endure journalists and amateur psychologists likening us to a “cult” and people unable to be objective about football culture/”worship” and real life. I admire your strength David, as well as the strength of all others who came forward to testify about what happened to you all. My hope is that PSU can move forward positively from this and be an example to the world. I agree with you that dismantling the PSU football team, etc. is not a way to heal or and hurts so many innocent people. PSU football players did not do this. PSU football “CULTURE” did not do this. One man who is very sick, and a few other powerful administrators who were misguided and trying to protect PSU’s mythic purity did this ……….

  • 22. Anonymous  |  July 21, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I think we should put John Cappelletti ‘s statue in place of Joe .

  • 23. AL'79'  |  July 21, 2012 at 12:27 am

    post # 22 I forgot to leave my sign in – AL ’79’ . He was our only Heisman winner, at least the spot would not look bare.

  • 24. Marc Mulay Mulé  |  July 21, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Creative? Move it elsewhere on campus. Indoors. Wherever the football team works out or practices indoors. Not a tough decision.

  • 25. rob  |  July 22, 2012 at 9:41 am

    It is amazing to me that ps alumni are so intent on keeping a statue of a man that had knowledge of a haneous crime…how much knowledge we will never know.if leaving the statue hurts one sexual abuse victim…what is their precious university…then obviously nothing was learnt from said school

  • 26. Barbara Morgan-Cicippio  |  July 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

    The statue is just a thing. I seem to remember that Coach did not like it and did not want it displayed anyway. We need to move past caring about things. I do not need a statue or a football team for that matter to remind me of my alma mater, I have memories for a life time.
    We are being crucified and called Pedophile University. We all know that is not true and I think we need to concentrate our efforts in more productive ways. The court of public opnion has convicted us to the man. Please let’s all expend our energy on more important matters concerning our Alma Mater. We still are, it should not matter what anyone else thinks says or does, we are Penn State and nothing they can do will take that away. Let’s put our collective heads together and find a way forward with honor.

    Barbara Morgan-Cicippio, PSU ’74

  • 27. Joe Paterno Statue Removed « The Penn Stater Magazine  |  July 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    […] people—students, and a guy from Bellefonte with his son and his son’s friend. After after days of speculation and news coverage, a pile of tributes left by other Penn Staters at the statue’s feet, including white roses, a […]

  • […] what it’s worth, I continue to think that the statue had become a safety concern, an accident waiting to happen. Why? Because, as I said above, emotions are running so high right […]

  • 29. Penn St to take down Joe Pa statue - Page 8  |  July 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    […] About the Paterno Statue The Penn Stater Magazine Comments 13 and 14. […]

  • 30. Marc Mulay Mulé  |  July 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Actions have consequences. A FIFTEEN YEAR ACTIVE COVER UP was an ENORMOUS series of actions involving many people. The consequence has been in the offing all along. Adult life.

    Wise decision to eliminate the Paterno statue. Football games are attended by massive alcohol consumption. Add in emotions, ignorance/stupidity and the 2nd Ammendment to the US Constitution. At minimum, you’ve got the makings for yet another “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” complete with funerals, media circus, lawsuits etc., Penn State Flush ROUND II.

    Marc Mulay
    B.S. Penn State, ’81

  • 31. Cindy Shingler  |  July 22, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Any cover up lies clearly at the feet of our former AG, now governor. Not all of us 1)attend the football games; 2) consume massive amounts of alcohol; and/or 3) are stupid. The fact is that Sandusky was arrested, tried and found guilty. There have been no other convictions, to date. There is a massive rush to judgement without any legal findings to support these actions. The Freeh Report is not a legal document. It was bought and paid for by the Board of Trustees, four of whom sat on the Freeh “independent” team.

  • 32. Naturewoman  |  July 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Marc Mulay Mute… yea right. You make a lot of sense… not.

  • 33. Marc Mulay Mulé  |  July 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Naturewoman, aka anonymous- you have every right to your opinion. Shrug. Cindy Shingler- This is about those who DO attend, DO do get drunk, and ARE stupid. All it takes is ONE armed, out of over one-hundred-thousand, the stadium seats. In less than a worse-case scenario of the former magnitude, noone needs the potential for fist-fights, hurled epithets, revenge fighting etc. All it takes is a tiny minority of people to make for an ugly scene- or worse, a disaster.

  • 34. Marc Mulay Mulé  |  July 23, 2012 at 12:38 am

    USA Today: PSU Football -No Death Penalty

    “…Penn State’s punishment likely will range from postseason bowl bans and scholarship reductions for the football program to other non-traditional sanctions that the NCAA has the authority to impose. In a statement Sunday, the NCAA said it will impose “corrective and punitive measures.”

    “…The NCAA penalties could be just the beginning of sanctions for Penn State. The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education are conducting investigations into the school’s actions in relation to the scandal…”

  • 35. Marc Mulay Mulé  |  July 23, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Ah, to hell with college business $$$$ football. Here’s to Cael Sanderson’s phenomenal Penn State NCAA DIV I, Big Ten WRESTLING TEAMS! mm psu ’81

    http://​www.gopsusports.com/sports/​m-wrestl/recaps/​031712aac.html

  • 36. Any Name I Choose  |  July 23, 2012 at 11:26 am

    To people quoting #13 and #14 … Anyone can post as any name and put it online.. I would be interested to know if the victims truly feel that way with quotes attributed to them.

    However, they probably would rather stay private, which they obviously have the right to do. — Joe Paterno

  • 37. Janell Westrick Holtz '61  |  October 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    OK, the prominent placement of the statue had to go. My suggestion is to place it in the sports museum where it can still be recognized/respected but not be so “out there”. After all, Joe was a very special part of PSU history for many, many years.

  • 38. Marc  |  October 28, 2012 at 3:45 am

    In time, all good things.

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