Ex-Paterno players reunite amid scandal’s wake
STATE COLLEGE (AP) – Organizers of a private reunion for football players coached by Joe Paterno will provide their own security for the Friday night event, Penn State spokesman Ben Manning said.
The reunion is separate from a university celebration of the 50th anniversary of Paterno’s head coaching debut planned for Saturday’s game against Temple. Both mark a milestone that has emerged as a sensitive issue for the university and its community given Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
The plans have spotlighted clear divisions. Some staunch supporters of Paterno feel like he was wronged by the university, while others critical of him have said that honoring the late coach for football accomplishments is insensitive to Sandusky’s victims and the severity of the scandal.
It was unclear what security measures will be in place when nearly 500 former players gather Friday night. Dan McGinn, a spokesman for the committee that organized the event, did not immediately respond to a message from the AP. The $50-per-person reunion is raising money for graduating Penn State athletes who wish to attend graduate school.
Paterno coached at Penn State for 46 seasons, becoming college football’s winningest coach. But the coach was fired by the school’s board of trustees shortly after Sandusky, who was his defensive coordinator, was arrested in November 2011 for child sexual abuse. Paterno died in January 2012 of lung cancer.