Says The Athletic’s Audrey Snyder:
The statue became a 7-foot, 900-pound lightning rod after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal cost Joe Paterno his job and brought forth questions from Penn State, the NCAA, media and fans about whether Paterno did or knew enough to act in the face of his former defensive coordinator’s crimes.
Though the statue is gone, its spirit never entirely left. Signs pop up around town in front of local businesses reading “Return Paterno’s statue.” T-shirts with the statue plastered on a milk carton are sold at a downtown bar. Miniature statue replicas are still available for purchase online, some of them in restaurants and downtown stores. A banner plane even flew over The Horseshoe last season before Penn State’s game at Ohio State with a messaging reading, “Penn State: Why are you waiting…Honor Joe Paterno!!”
When asked via email for details about the statue’s location, a Penn State spokesman replied:
“The Paterno statue is stored in a safe and secure location, which the University does not disclose.”
It’s a line Penn State has recycled for years. It also means the statue wasn’t turned into a molten puddle. It is out there, somewhere, in Happy Valley or beyond, waiting to be found.