Penn State will honor the late Joe Paterno in some way this fall. The school also doesn't want to be sued by Paterno's family because of the way it fired the legendary coach in November.
The (Harrisburg) Patriot-News reports Penn State officials offered to rename Beaver Stadium after Paterno in hopes of receiving a full release from the family, which would prevent them from suing the school or publicly criticizing the situation. Penn State's informal proposal following Paterno's death also included an apology for how Paterno was fired (over the phone) and the honoring of his contract with the school, which took place late last week.
But Paterno's family declined the stadium naming offer. Joe Paterno never wanted it when he was alive.
From the Patriot-News:
A source close to the Paterno family says renaming the field would still be "a tremendous and humbling honor," but it "has always been a fan-driven matter. It was never important to Joe."
Paterno was uncomfortable with the statue of him placed outside Beaver Stadium, which depicted him holding is index finger in a No. 1 salute. A source told The Patriot-News, "The idea he'd be out in front of that stadium with a No. 1 finger is crazy. He always showed a closed fist."
Tensions remain between Paterno's family and the university, as confirmed in a statement issued Friday by the family that took issue with claims that it had reached a settlement with the school.
The field/stadium renaming plan remains popular among many Penn State fans. A father and son circulated a petition during the Blue-White festivities this week that called for the field at Beaver Stadium to be named after Paterno. According to The Patriot-News, two of Paterno's sons, Jay and Scott, signed off on the petition, which received close to 60,000 signatures before the Blue-White Game. Paterno's family would agree to the naming if it was done for the fans.
It's clear the ongoing tension makes any tribute to Paterno an especially delicate issue.
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