It is an impressive statue, prominently placed at Beaver Stadium on the Penn State campus.
On a nearby wall it reads:
JOSEPH VINCENT PATERNO
In the sky above Beaver Stadium Tuesday, a small airplane carried a trailing banner.
TAKE THE STATUE DOWN OR WE WILL
Happy Valley is not so happy these days. An independent investigation led by former FBI director Louis Freeh paints Penn State, its highest administration officials and Paterno, in unflattering light in the case of convicted sexual pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
The Freeh report basically paints Paterno as a King of the Campus who turned a blind eye, a deaf ear to the accusations that his longtime trusted defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was abusing young boys on campus, at a facility that Sandusky had free rein in after he had retired in the midst of rumors that he was showering and worse with young kids from his foundation.
The foundation was formed to help young boys from broken homes, the most vulnerable targets for a sicko sexual predator like Sandusky.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said he has “never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university.''
Emmert would not rule out any form of future penalties, including the ultimate “death penalty'' that would shut down the Penn State football program for lack of institutional control.
The Freeh report painted Paterno as the key figure in the case. He had the power to bring Sandusky's transgressions to light, to ensure that Sandusky could never sexually assault an innocent child again.
Retired Penn State professor George Enteen was quoted in a CBS Sports story that backed up the Freeh report.
“If he had said, ‘Report it,' they would have,'' Enteen said of Paterno. “But he said, ‘It doesn't negate all the good things (Sandusky) did.'''
Dozens of lives have been ruined, most important above all, the kids who were forced to submit to Sandusky's inhumane sexual assaults.
Civil trials await former Penn State president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz and former athletics director Tim Curley.
They face possible incarceration and financial penalties. They deserve the justice that Sandusky gave those kids.
They signed off on giving Sandusky the keys to not only an office, but the locker room and shower facility where a number of the attacks took place. They even gave him a reserved parking place. All this after the allegations were known all the way up the chain of command.
Paterno's once shining legacy is tarnished beyond repair. The good he did during his career, and it was considerable, is now a distant memory.
His name has been taken off a Nike child care facility on the corporate giant's campus in Oregon. The tent city outside Beaver Stadium where students camp out while waiting to score tickets for premium football games, was called Paternoville. It is now Nittanyville.
Officials are considering removing Paterno from the school's athletic Hall of Fame. All the awards and things he earned through football wins and charity giving are subject to the same decisions.
The reactions reach far and wide, away from the insulated Penn State campus.
It remains to be seen what decision will be made concerning the sculpture of Paterno at Beaver Stadium.
What is to decide? Do they leave it there to honor someone who chose to ignore mounting evidence that should have turned his stomach, someone who just could not break that old school tie that binds the football coaching fraternity?
No. Removing it will allow the rest of the Penn State family to move forward, never to forget the horror that gave the school worldwide publicity in the most negative of light.
The Paterno family needs to face facts and quit fighting the truth.
As much as they don't want to admit their beloved patriarch was guilty of protecting Sandusky and forsaking all those fragile children that suffered much more than the Paterno family ever will, the evidence is impossible to ignore.
Everyone needs to deal with it.
Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.