"Penn State community demands return of JoePa's statue." It's these words that drivers on Route 581 just outside of Harrisburg have seen since the billboard went up Thursday evening. Many in the area agree with it. One Lemoyne resident said, "Put it back up."
Christine Velter added, "I think he was unfairly accused and I think it's a detriment to his memory. Joe Paterno did great things for the state and for that college."
The billboard was paid for by a group called PS4Truth, which has been lobbying to get Paterno's statue back up ever since it was torn down in summer of 2012. The billboard isn't up all the time because it's digital. There are four other advertisements and each one of them is up for about six seconds. One group that undoubtedly supports the billboard is Paterno's family who were in court Friday trying to restore their patriarch's name. A judge hasn't ruled on whether the family can continue to pursue their lawsuit.
Those who stand by the legendary coach argue he did what he was supposed to by reporting the accusations against Jerry Sandusky to school officials. "I think it has to go back to the person who Joe Paterno reported it to," said Holly Phillips. That may very well happen. Criminal obstruction and perjury charges are still pending against former Penn State President Graham Spanier as well as former administrators Gary Shultz and Tim Curley.