Hundreds of Penn State fans have flocked to Beaver Stadium to get one last glimpse of the bronze statute of former head football coach Joe Paterno.
University President Rodney Erickson is making his decision whether or not to take it down.
“I watched football games and cheered for JoePa on my father’s lap as a little girl,” Kristi Parthemore told The Patriot-News.
For some, the statue honors a legendary football coach who won more games than any other in Division I college football. For others, it’s a sick reminder of a man who — through his inaction — allowed children to be raped in the football locker room by former assistant football coach and convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky.
Twenty-four-year old Tyler Johnson-Hall wore his cap and gown so his mother could snap a graduation picture of him by Paterno’s statue.
“We were afraid Penn State is going to take it down,” said Tyler’s mother, Terry Johnson. “And they will. They’re cowards.”
“He could have stopped it,” said Tom Provins. “How does anyone forget that?”
“I think Joe wished he would have done more, and I think everybody here wishes that he would have done more, too,” 1982 alumnus Jim Rudeau said. “We’ll all learn from that.”
“I feel like I’m at a funeral,” said Kathy Astrab, a class of ‘84 alumna from McKeesport who wiped tears from her eyes.
“But they can’t erase him,” she said. “They’ll never erase Joe Paterno from Penn State.”