Joe Paterno's famed statue on the Penn State campus will remain standing - for now.
According to ESPN.com, the Penn State Board of Trustees have voted to leave the statue in place despite cries for it to be torn down in light of Paterno's role in a university-wide scandal to protect assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was sexually abusing young boys on the Penn State campus.
"You can't let people stampede you into making a rash decision," a trustee told the website. "The statue represents the good that Joe did. It doesn't represent the bad that he did."
Despite allegations that Paterno willfully covered up Sandusky's actions, there are many who revere the late coach and want his Penn State legacy to stand in bronze form.
Although some trustees said in discussions Thursday and Friday in board meetings in Scranton, Pa., they believed the statue eventually would have to be torn down, most quickly reached a consensus it should remain standing in the coming weeks and months, trustees and a person briefed on their discussions said. Some trustees went even further, insisting Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., never should be removed.
"It has to stay up," said another trustee. "We have to let a number of months pass, and we'll address it again. But there is no way, no way. It's just not coming down."
This decision will no doubt be construed as another example of Penn State's inaction in a time of crisis. Even former players and Paterno's coaching friends have stated their case for the statue to be removed so the university can begin the healing process.
"Should his statue be removed? In my opinion, yes," former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden said in a radio interview with Cory Giger. "Now the reason is, Penn State's job now is to try to forget this thing. But every time somebody walks by and sees that statue, they're not going to remember the 80 good years, they're going to remember this thing with [former assistant coach Jerry] Sandusky.
"Just think, every time you go to a ballgame at Penn State and they shine a camera on that statue, that's going to be brought up again. So if I was Penn State, if I was Joe's family, I'd say, move on from all that stuff."
Added former Penn State All-American linebacker LaVar Arrington: "I think the best thing is anybody who had any type of knowledge about it and it's connectable to them, they should be gone immediately."
It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction is sparked by this inaction. Paterno has become such a polarizing figure for the university that the mere mention of his name incites a plethora of emotions that run the gamut. Paterno did have some amazing feats on the football field and his former players would defend him and the way he taught them to be men. However, the way he ignored the cries from the young men who weren't his players — the ones who needed his help the most — will be hard to forget.
That statue is a constant reminder of both the good and bad of Penn State and the man who will forever be linked with the university. Perhaps it's also a national reminder of the perils in holding coaches in such high esteem.
Despite the report, Penn State officials say no decision has been made on the fate of Paterno's statue.
"Contrary to various reports, neither the Board of Trustees nor University Administration has taken a vote or made a decision regarding the Joe Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium."
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