Coming up on five years after the Jerry Sandusky scandal hit Penn State and the Nittany Lions football program, a large group of football alumni want to see steps taken to restore the legacy of former head coach Joe Paterno. In a letter signed by over 200 former players from the 1950s to Paterno's final years in Happy Valley, the lettermen want to see Paterno's statue returned to campus.
We, the undersigned, are united by the common bond of having been a member of the Penn State Football Team. We state, unequivocally, that our program has always been one of integrity, honesty, and respect. Under Coach Paterno, we strove for academic excellence and made an ongoing commitment to becoming better men.
We remain saddened that the Penn State Administration and the Board of Trustees thrust our program and coach into an undeserved negative media frenzy in 2011. Nearly five years after the firestorm, they still have not defended us or corrected the false narrative. Our legacy and our university deserve better. Penn State’s leaders should take two steps toward repairing the damage that they created.
First, restore the statue of Coach Paterno and the players’ wall to where they stood previously outside Beaver Stadium. These testimonies to “Success with Honor” should never have been removed.
Second, a formal apology from the University to Sue Paterno needs to be issued. This is a common act of decency, which is both warranted and long overdue.
The university’s leaders have repeatedly stated a desire to restore unity to the Penn State community. We hope that they will not waste a great opportunity to do so.
Penn State has responded to the letter, saying that Paterno's legacy and contributions to the school will be addressed at an appropriate "time and place."
">July 5, 2016
Many PSU fans have called for the return of the statue over the last few years. Now, they are backed by some pretty influential voices within the program itself.
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