Joe Paterno stripped of Medal of Freedom nomination
Joe Paterno didn't just lose his title this week as Penn State football coach. He also lost his shot at a Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive.
U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn) have rescinded their Medal of Freedom nomination for the coach. The move came the day after Paterno was fired by the university's Board of Trustees.
Paterno's legacy has become increasingly tarnished over the last week by an unfolding child sexual abuse scandal involving his former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky. Paterno was alerted to an allegation of sexual abuse involving Sandusky in 2002, but told only the school's athletic director, not law enforcement authorities.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania's senators said in a statement:
"In light of the recent events in State College, we are rescinding our support for the nomination of Joe Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We hope the proper authorities will move forward with their investigation without delay. Penn State is an important institution in our commonwealth. We should turn our attention to the victims of these atrocious crimes and ensure they get the help they need. Our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families."
But support for the coach remains. Not only did some students riot when his ouster was announced Wednesday night, the Nike-sponsored Joe Paterno Child Development Center in Beaverton, Ore., said it has no plans to change its name, KOIN News reported.
It added that Nike had released the following statement: "Our relationship with Penn State remains unchanged. We are deeply disturbed by the claims brought forth in the indictments. We will continue to monitor the situation closely."
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch
Photo: Penn State coach Joe Paterno in 1997. Credit: Rick Stewart / Allsport