Penn State: No decision on removal of Joe Paterno statue
Penn State released an official statement Sunday night saying that neither its Board of Trustees or administration had come to a decision on whether to remove the statue of former head coach Joe Paterno at Beaver Stadium.
“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,” the statement reads.
The university was responding to an ESPN report earlier Sunday that, citing sources with firsthand knowledge of the trustees’ deliberations, said that the university had decided to let the statue stand.
The perception of Paterno’s involvement in the Jerry Sandusky scandal swung in recent days. First came a report from former FBI director Louis Freeh, which purported that Paterno had an active role in concealing Sandusky’s child abuse. SI’s Michael McCann reported on the scorn Paterno received in the Freeh report:
Paterno received particular scorn in the report, which alleges that he actively discouraged Penn State officials from reporting Sandusky to law enforcement. Freeh’s report also implies that Paterno perjured himself while testifying before the Sandusky grand jury. In his testimony, Paterno claimed to only know about the 2001 shower incident purportedly witnessed by graduate assistant Mike McQueary. Freeh’s report says that Paterno also knew about the 1998 investigation.
Then on Saturday, The New York Times reported that Paterno began negotiations to sweeten his retirement deal in January 2011, the same month that he testified before a grand jury about Sandusky’s abuse. Members of the Board of Trustees were not aware of the new contract before the scandal hit the university in November.
Still, ESPN reported that the Board of Trustees was prepared to let the statue stand at least temporarily, for fear of “offending alumni and students who adore the late coach.”
“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.”