The Joe Paterno statue that has been the source of so much controversy at Pennsylvania State University was taken down early Sunday. The 7-foot, 900-pound bronze statue was completely removed by 8:20 a.m. EDT by a crew of construction workers using jackhammers and a forklift.
The Freeh Report's revelation that Paterno failed to report and consequently help stop the child sexual abuse committed by his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had led for calls for the statue to be removed, an action Penn State officials initially had resisted.
However, Penn State President Rodney Erickson announced Sunday that the tribute to the late head coach had become a source of division and an obstacle to healing and thus would be taken down, according to USA Today.
Before Paterno's likeness was removed from Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa., the work area was cordoned off by fences and tarp, perhaps because of the polarizing symbolism of the statue. Its head was also covered by a towel.
When the Freeh Report was released with such damning evidence about Paterno's role in the Sandusky scandal, the statue was guarded by an armed security official. Since then, there had been widespread speculation that even if Penn State didn't take the statue down, it would eventually be vandalized. This week, a plane flew over Beaver Stadium trailing a message that read, Take The Statue Down Or We Will, as noted by Deadspin.
Days before Erickson's announcement, the SportsXchange reported via Yahoo that Penn State students had voluntarily guarded the statue from being defaced.
Members of the press in the area were able to capture most of the action in State College on Sunday morning with the help of some strategically placed cameras.
ESPN reported the statue was taken inside Beaver Stadium by a forklift, although its final destination is still unknown.