Former Pennsylvania State University football players are calling for coach Joe Paterno's statue be restored to its place of honor in a letter sent to Penn State President Eric Barron and the board of trustees.
Paterno, a beloved figure who led the team for decades and racked up the most wins of any NCAA school, was fired in 2011 after former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was accused of child abuse. Paterno was dismissed amid allegations that he helped cover up the abuse to protect the school's reputation.
"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," Brian Masella, a 1975 graduate and former tight end and punter for the Nittany Lions, told Philly.com.
He spoke on behalf of about 200 players who signed the letter. "Now is the appropriate time. Enough is enough!"
In addition to his dismissal, the NCAA invalidated 111 of Paterno's wins going back to 1998, when they claim Sandusky's behavior was first noticed and ignored. The wins have since been restored, but not the Player's Wall, a memorial to honor former members of the team originally arranged near the Paterno statue.
"Certainly, you can understand arguments on both sides of the issue," Roger Williams, Penn State alumni assistant executive director, told USA Today.
"But there's no question that there's great support among the university family, and among alumni in particular, who would at some point want to see a restoration of the statue."
A Quinnipiac University poll found that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians surveyed supported restoring Paterno's statue, while only 25 percent opposed the move, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It's just the latest push to remove the tarnish on Paterno's legacy.
"We're not going away," Laurie Stanell, 58-year-old Doylestown, Pa., dentist and Penn State graduate, told The Wall Street Journal
in September. "We're just going to keep honoring him and pushing for the university to come back on board."
"Our feeling is it should go back where it was located on Porter Road," Masella told ESPN.
Sandusky was convicted in 2012 on 45 charges related to abusing kids and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Paterno allegedly ignored reports of the abuse, which often occurred on Penn State property.
Heisman trophy winner John Cappelletti and former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny are among the 200 alumni who signed the letter seeking the statue's restoration.
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