Image: REUTERS/Pat Little.
Nike have decided to drop the name ‘Joe Paterno’ from a child care centre on their campus after it was confirmed by the FBI that he helped cover up Jerry Sandusky’s involvement in a child molestation scandal that has rocked America.
Sandusky was recently found guilty on 45 charges of child sex abuse that took place during his tenure as assistant football coach at Penn State . It is believed that Paterno, who was head coach at the time the offences were committed, was aware of the abuse but failed to report it to the authorities.
Jerry Sandusky. Image: Reuters.
He continued to deny knowledge until his death in January, although the New York Times this morning alleges that Paterno took the opportunity to renegotiate his contract after becoming aware of the investigation into his longtime colleague Sandusky. The article also claims that Paterno’s family threatened the board of trustees with a defamation lawsuit if they tried to block the newly negotiated contract, resulting in them receiving almost all the benefits they demanded.
It’s been a difficult time for all those associated with Penn State, where, until the story broke, Paterno (or Joe Pa, as he was affectionately known), was a legendary figure in the community. After his death, but before he extent of his involvement in the scandal became known, the statue in his image that stands outside Penn State’s Beaver Stadium was adorned with tributes.
It remains to be seen whether their affection for his memory, and the statue itself, will withstand the impact of these new revelations. Nike’s decision, arguably the first blow, suggests not.