On a day when the university opted to recognize the 50th anniversary of Joe Paterno’s first game, they also chose to demonstrate their petty jealousy.
In usual fashion, many Penn Staters placed flowers, signs and balloons at the site where Paterno’s statue once stood. Some also placed bricks commemorating the wall that memorialized all of the games played by his teams. These outwardly visible tributes, which appear at every game, are traditionally left untouched, and removed by those who placed them when the game is over. On this 50th anniversary, an expensive arrangement of flowers and balloons, along with thoughtfully crafted signs and photos, were respectfully placed in remembrance on this site. It was a familiar, heartfelt reminder of a coach who garnered much love and respect during his long tenure at Penn State.
In a mean-spirited act of pettiness, someone at the university chose to disrespect the fans and ordered the items to be removed and discarded before the first quarter of the game was even over, never to be reclaimed.
So while the loyal fans were inside the stadium reveling in the long-overdue recognition of a beloved coach, a cleanup crew carried out the work of someone whose self-confidence was severely threatened by so much admiration for a good man. We have endured the hatred of outsiders, but when the venom comes from within our own university, it is both heartbreaking and offensive.
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Brian Masella, Apex, N.C.
The writer is a Penn State football letterman, ’75