BALTIMORE, Md. - Despite the early hours, a crowd of onlookers watched the statue that honored Joe Paterno come down along with the words "educator, coach, humanitarian."
The new leadership said the 900-pound bronze tribute to the winningest coach in Division I football, divided the community after the conviction of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky on multiple counts of child abuse.
"The institution put football before the safety of children," said Adam Rosenberg, Executive Director, Baltimore Child Abuse Center
Rosenberg says removing the statue was the right decision following the report by a former FBI director. It found Paterno and other top Penn State administrators hid the claims of sex abuse for years.
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"I think that's a symbol to help a victim with the healing because then any victim, whether they were Sandusky's victims, or other victims of institutional sexual abuse and people who had trusted them and left kids with their authority, authoritative abuse would walk by and see the symbol of it on a regular basis," said Rosenberg.
The removal came one day before the NCAA will announce penalties for the football program. ESPN is reporting Penn State will be banned from bowl games for more than one year and lose several scholarships. In other words, the university may not face the so-called death penalty which would have prevented the team from playing in the fall.
But there are still soft hearts for Joe Paterno.
"My best friend's family all went to Penn State and my heart just goes out to him and his family. I don't know if it was necessary to pull down the statue," said Kristen Phelps, who opposes removing the statue.
"It takes time to heal anything. Time is what we all need. It's another kneejerk for Penn State," said Gayle Barnes, a Sandusky juror.
In a statement, the Paterno family says removing the statue does not help the victims, but Rosenberg believes leaving it standing would be a set back for every victim.
"I hate to punish the kids who are there now, but it's meant to punish Penn State," said Rosenberg.
The president of the Baltimore Penn State Alumni Association says he will comment on Monday following the NCAA's announcement.