At least one Penn Stater is not in favor of the announced statue of Joe Paterno that is set to be built outside of the Tavern Restaurant.
An online petition started on Friday aims to display disapproval of the plans for “Joe’s Bench.” But it hasn’t been able to gain much traction as of publishing time, thus far gaining only one signature.
The opinions about the statue-to-be were predictably mixed when news broke last week; many Penn Staters commented that they were happy to see the still locally revered coach receive some recognition, while others, including the victim support group SNAP, said it was inappropriate.
With an inability to prevent non-Penn Staters from signing, it’s probably wise to take this with a grain of salt. Here’s the full text from the petition, which aims to reach 1,000 signatures.:
We, Penn Staters, including students, alumni, faculty, staff, football fans and members of the State College community, oppose the placement of a Joe Paterno statue in Downtown State College.
We believe that it’s appropriate to remember and appreciate the many contributions Joe Paterno made to Penn State and the broader community in his roles as a football coach, educator and philanthropist without the presence of a statue in downtown State College.
We believe that honoring Paterno for all the good he did in his life and career is a personal issue, not one that an entire community should be implicitly included in by the presence of a statue.
We believe such a statue is likely to be a lightning rod for controversy and possible vandalism.
We also believe a statue sends a wrong and inaccurate message to the rest of the country about this community’s priorities, especially as the decision to place the statue in a prominent public space is based on the opinions and means of a relatively small number of people.
The Paterno name rightly remains prominent in many public ways in this community, from the Paterno Library to Peachy Paterno ice cream to tee-shirts and bumper stickers seen around the town. However, we believe that Joe Paterno himself would see such a statue as an unnecessary. This was a coach who kept the names off his team’s jerseys for decades as a symbol of elevating the team over the individual. How is glorifying his individual likeness in keeping with that tradition? We don’t pretend to speak for the Paterno family, but we believe Joe wouldn’t want this, either.
Thank you for your support.