Supporters hold vigil on Joe Paterno’s death anniversary
PA, United States (4E Sports) – About 150 supporters commemorated Joe Paterno’s death anniversary by holding a candlelight vigil before a mural depicting prominent figures in Penn State University.
The mural has been altered with the artist removing a halo above Paterno’s head and painting over an image of Jerry Sandusky.
The coaching legend died January 22, 2012, at age 85 due to lung cancer.
The gathering slowly broke up within 45 minutes after mural artist Michael Pilato thanked attendees, several of whom wore “JVP” buttons on their winter parkas. The supporters feel Paterno’s reputation has been unfairly tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. Some attendees, including Pilato, also said Paterno’s role was sensationalized by media coverage and a rush to judgment.
Paterno had been the all-time coaching leader in major college football victories with 409 wins. But the
NCAA struck 111 victories from his record, covering 14 seasons beginning in 1998, that posthumously bumped him from the top of the list.
He was fired from Penn State in November 2011 after he informed his supervisors about a report on Sandusky’s sexual abuse in one of the school’s facilities.
“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the
university procedure was,” Paterno told the Washington Post a week before he died. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”