Should Penn State take down the Joe Paterno statue?

Paterno’s family pre-emptively responded to the report.
PATRICK SMITH/GETTY IMAGES

Since 2001, a seven-foot-tall bronze statue of Joe Paterno has stood outside Penn State’s Beaver stadium, showing the coach triumphantly leading the Nittany Lions on to the gridiron. The statue fit with Paterno’s legend in Happy Valley: A goodhearted and decent leader of men, who inspired not only the players on his team, but the entire Penn State community.

But with investigator Louis Freeh’s report condemning Paterno for turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse carried out his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky since 1998, the statue now seems a symbol of something else — the lionization of a coach and his football program to such an extent that the Penn State brass agreed it was better to let child abuse go unreported than to risk damaging that program’s reputation.

With Paterno’s legacy tainted, presumably should Penn State remove the statue? Or would that be the same as sweeping the scandal under the rug? We took to Twitter to find opinions:

The Joe Paterno statue — The Twitter debate

As rumors of the Freeh report leaked out, national sports journalists weighed on on the topic of the statue:

Once the report had been officially released, Twitter wags unleashed some dark humor:

The reaction from the wider Twitter world so far, has been nearly unanimous. The statue needs to go:

Reactions from the Penn State community, though, are more ambivalent:


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