When the Freeh Report was released Thursday morning it brought back all the controversy that has surrounded Penn State since the news of Jerry Sandusky's molestations broke. The report, an internal investigation by the school that examined more than 3.5 million emails and documents and 430 interviews, mainly focuses on the failure of all-powerful Penn State football coach Joe Paterno to act on the knowledge he had of what his assistant was up to. Now that Paterno's legacy has effectively been shattered, critics are calling for the removal of his statue at Beaver stadium.
The New York Times picked up on the outrage Thursday afternoon. One of the most original tweets it published was from user Tony Basilio, who said, That Paterno statue needs to come down Baghdad style today! #PSU. Amy Lavoie suggested, How about taking down the Joe Paterno statue and putting up a Memorial Tribute to the Sandusky victims in its place.
A twitter user with the handle @janitasnead tweeted, #PennState needs to dismantle #PaternoStatue. Disgusting that there is a guard protecting a statue but not the #victims.
She was referring to the images that started popping up online Thursday afternoon of uniformed security around the statue. They were reportedly there because of an increased amount of foot traffic around the statue. See the above picture from @StateCollegeMom.
Perhaps the most damning evidence from the Freeh Report is the revelation that Paterno, along with Penn State's top administrators, knew about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky yet decided not to disclose any information to the school's trustees, according to Newser. It may not be much of a surprise to anyone who followed the case, but the confirmation is still cause for outrage.
Nike announced Thursday that it will change the name of its child development camp that currently is named in honor of Paterno. Meanwhile, Salon suggested that the university, which seems to have dragged its feet every step of the way through this process, should take it upon itself to suspend its football program instead of making the NCAA even consider the idea.
Such a dramatic step would call for Penn State to take responsibility for putting football over other interests, something powerhouse universities have rarely done. When the controversy is of this magnitude, though, it might be a necessary measure to save face. It will be hard for even the biggest Penn State fan to root for the team next season in light of all that has happened.
The Paterno family released a statement Thursday afternoon that mostly defended their patriarch.
It can be argued that Joe Paterno should have gone further, is as close as the family comes to faulting the longtime coach.He should have pushed his superiors to see that they were doing their jobs. We accept this criticism.
There was no mention of the Paterno statue in the statement.
In the report (you can find the whole transcript here) Louis Freeh, a former director of the FBI, wrote that Paterno showed total and consistent disregard...(for) Sandusky's child victims.
It's hard to picture a statue of a man like that being allowed to stand, whether it's removed by the school or concerned citizens.