STATE COLLEGE (KDKA) — Sunset over Beaver Stadium didn’t stop the crowds of people from coming or ease the pain of fans missing the Joe Paterno statue.
“This man stood for greatness,” said William Bishop, a Penn State supporter. “He’s just not a football coach. How many hundreds of thousands of people that live in this country or around the world are better because of Joe Paterno?”
“I feel very sad today that they decided to take down the statue,” added PSU fan Jalelah Ahmed. “I think they picked a good time, students aren’t here. There weren’t any protests.”
Penn State University President Rodney Erickson ordered the removal of the statue Sunday morning. Within 45 minutes, the seven-foot tall, 900 pound, bronze statue was taken away.
“If you’re going to try to erase a man’s legacy when he built the program over 49 years and the stadium’s here because of him, and if you’re going to take down the statue, then take down the stadium,” said Harold Zeigler, a PSU supporter.
“It’s a slam in the face of everything he has done over the years,” added Gerrie McTaggart, another Penn State supporter.
But Erickson called the statue “a source of division and an obstacle to healing.”
The statue was taken down 10 days after former FBI Director Louis Freeh issued a report on the university’s handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
“Year after year after year, he’d known about this, it continued to happen and he did nothing else,” said Penn State supporter Terrence Holbrook.
Meanwhile, people in State College are now bracing for NCAA sanctions against the university. They are expected to be announced Monday morning.
“Bottom line is mistakes were made, penalties will come, but this is over the top,” said John Kaufman, a PSU fan.
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