200 former Penn State players call for return of Paterno statue
200 former Penn State players have signed a letter to the school asking for the return of Joe Paterno’s statue to campus and a formal apology to the Paterno family.
Paterno, who coached at Penn State from from 1966–2011, had his statue removed from campus in 2012 in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. Paterno was fired shortly after Sandusky was charged with his crimes, as investigators asserted Paterno helped cover up the abuse with his actions.
Many Penn State fans believe Paterno was treated too harshly by the school. The letter was written by Brian Masella, who played tight end and punter for the Nittany Lions.
“We have been told during the last four-plus years that the board and administration are waiting for the appropriate time to repair the damage they created. Now is the appropriate time. Enough is enough,” Masella wrote. “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 deserve to have that respect reciprocated by Penn State and its leadership.”
Penn State responded to the letter, saying any plans to return the statue will be handled privately.
Paterno died in 2012 due to complications from lung cancer.