For parts of seven separate decades, Joe Paterno built a legacy like few others.
Over the last eight and a half months, that legacy has been - at least to many - irreparably tarnished.
Early this morning, the latest in a long line of events that have forever changed the way people view the former head coach of Pennsylvania State University's football team took place when the school removed Paterno's statue from its pedestal outside Beaver Stadium.
The statue, constructed in 2001 to honor one of the all-time great coaches in college athletics, stood seven-feet tall and weighed nearly a half-ton, but it is no longer there, having been moved to what has been termed a "secure location" according to Penn State president Rodney Erickson.
The decision has understandably been met with varying reactions, but until I sat down to write this piece, I honestly hadn't thought much about it.
After giving it some serious contemplation, I have come to this conclusion: Penn State has gone too far.
I can understand how difficult it might be for some people to look at the statue the same way as they did before, but as an old saying goes, "Time heals all wounds."
That adage may be a bit of a stretch, but I honestly feel that over time, negative feelings toward Paterno would have diminished. To be honest, I think most people are ready to stop slinging his name through the mud right now.
In my opinion, taking down the statue may actually do more harm than good.
I'll admit that Paterno should have done more, but hindsight is 20/20 and it's time to let the man rest in peace. It's also time to stop slandering his family, which has been through more than enough since numerous accounts of child sexual abuse against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky were made public last November.
Let's get one thing straight: Sandusky is the perpetrator here, not "Joe Pa" and most certainly not his family.
Although I initially disagreed with firing Paterno, which is what Penn State did just days after learning of the allegations against Sandusky last November, at least I could live with that decision. But removing the man's statue six months after his death? That's a decision bordering on ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the deed has already been done and now all I can do is hope that the university one day reconsiders and returns Paterno's statue to its rightful place.
Josh McKinney has been an ardent supporter of Joe Paterno for many years now and considers him to be one of the greatest leaders in sports history. You can follow him on Twitter @SuperJMac32.
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