Bruce Heim will not be part of the ceremony surrounding Penn State’s game against Army on Saturday.
According to the university, Heim will not be fulfilling his planned role, representing Army in the coin toss before the football game.
In a release from the university on Wednesday, Heim was noted as participating in the ceremonial flip, one of many activities planned for the Military Appreciation weekend.
According to that release, Heim is a West Point grad with a varsity letter in football and an MBA in insurance and real estate from Penn State.
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He is also a former member of the board of The Second Mile, the children’s charity founded by retired Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, whose child sex abuse charges and conviction became a huge scandal that resulted in crippling sanctions against the university.
After the announcement, uproar grew on social media as people on Facebook, Twitter and other forums expressed shock.
On Friday, President Eric Barron responded.
“Bruce Heim is a former football player and graduate of West Point and recipient of the Bronze Star who has served our nation with distinction. Unfortunately, his participation in Saturday’s coin toss ceremony has reopened deep wounds in our community that do not involve his service to country, but have distracted the public from the purpose of the day. We therefore regret that we must rescind the invitation to Mr. Heim to participate in the coin toss. We hope the sole focus of the day remains honoring all the dedicated men and women who serve our nation,” Barron’s statement read.
There was no information on who will be taking Heim’s part in the toss.
Heim, a Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star recipient, said in a statement Friday afternoon that he “strongly” disagrees with Penn State’s decision.
“I find it regrettable that an uninformed few who attacked my personal and professional integrity because of my role as vice chair of the board of The Second Mile have successfully dishonored what I was asked by Penn State to represent: military veterans. This runs counter to the basic tenets of our freedom which military personnel fight to defend.”
Regarding his role with The Second Mile, he continued: “It is important to know that despite extensive and thorough investigation by five separate regulatory groups both state and federal, neither I nor any employees of The Second Mile were every charged for a very simple reason. We did not know and were not complicit.”