For the past 10 days, JoePa supporters stood vigil by the statue, they laid flowers at the statue's feet, but in the end it wasn't enough to keep the iconic bronze statue of Joe Paterno in its place. Time of death: 8:20 a.m. ET.
“I think it was an act of cowardice on the part of the university,” Mary Trometter of Williamsport, told the Washington Post, while wearing a shirt bearing Joe Paterno’s image.
ESPN says that Penn State rendered its verdict to remove the 7-foot-tall, 900-pound bronze statue of Joe Paterno from its pedestal on the west side of Penn State football Stadium on Sunday morning.
And this is exactly the reason Trometter felt betrayed. She said university officials promised openness but said nothing about the decision until just before the removal work began at 6:30 am.
The statue’s early Sunday morning removal showed signs that administrators hoped to avoid a scene,Philly.com reported.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Penn State President Rodney Erickson sent out an email about 8 a.m announcing the statue's demise.
He said the statue had “become a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university” but did not identify its resting place, reports Philly.com.
“It’s like a whole part of me is coming down," said Angelo Di Maria, the statue’s sculptor, according to the Post. "It’s just an incredibly emotional process."
Penn State installed the statue in November 2001 in honor of Paterno’s record-setting 324th Division 1 win.
“When things quiet down, if they do quiet down, I hope they don’t remove it permanently or destroy it,” he said. “His legacy should not be completely obliterated and thrown out. ... He was a good man. It wasn’t that he was an evil person. He made a mistake.”
That depends on who you ask.
Sore reminder of Sex abuse scandal
An internal investigative issued July 12 by former FBI Director Louis Freeh found Paterno culpable with three other top Penn State officials — former Athletic Director Tim Curley, retired Vice President Gary Schultz and ousted President Graham Spanier — in an extensive cover-up surrounding the Jerry Sandusky. Freeh alleged that their failure to report Sandusky to child-welfare authorities in 2001 allowed him to continue molesting boys, the report found.
A jury last month found the now-convicted child rapist and former assistant football coach, 68, guilty on 45 counts of child sex abuse involving 10 boys over 15 years, many of whom were molested in Penn State football facilities.
“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,” Erickson continued in his statement. “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.”
Not everyone agrees. Take for instance, the Paterno family. In their own statement issued this morning, they said tearing down the statue “does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky’s horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community.”
They said the report from university sponsored investigation led by Freeh is flawed, incomplete and unofficial. In fact, the Paternos have initiated their own, independent review of the Freeh report and related materials.
“We believe the only way to help the victims is to uncover the full truth,” family members said.
“I fully realize that my decision will not be popular in some Penn State circles, but I am certain it is the right and principled decision,” Erickson said. “I believe we have chosen a course that both recognizes the many contributions that Joe Paterno made to the academic life of our University, while taking seriously the conclusions of the Freeh Report and the national issue of child sexual abuse.”