Should Penn State take down Joe Paterno's statue?

After a damning report leaves little doubt that JoePa helped cover for Sandusky, many question why Penn State is still honoring the late football coach

The fate of a bronze statue of the late Joe Paterno outside Penn State's Beaver Stadium remains in limbo following new revelations in the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal.
(Image credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The late Joe Paterno used to be a near-deity at Penn State. But after a seven-month investigation conducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh showed last week that Paterno and several school administrators repeatedly covered up child sex-abuse allegations made against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the university is once again reassessing Paterno's already-stained legacy. (Sandusky, who was convicted last month of 45 counts of child sex abuse, is awaiting sentencing.) An artist has already painted over Paterno's halo on a campus mural, and many are calling for an iconic statue of the legendary head football coach to be pulled down, too. Some reports say that the university's board of trustees has decided to leave up the bronze statue, which sits outside Penn State's Beaver Stadium, but on Monday, the school denied that any decision had been made. For now, the statue still stands — with a security guard posted nearby. Is leaving it up a slap in the face to Sandusky's victims?

Yes. Leaving the statue up insults the victims: "What are they waiting for?" asks Canada's The Columbian in an editorial. Yes, Paterno did a lot of great things for the university during his decades leading the football program, but "those things are destined to be overshadowed by his culpability in this grotesque story." Leaving the statue up "would be a disservice to the victims and a blatant attempt to ignore the truth, something that Penn State apparently has perfected over the years."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us