Count this as just one more loss for Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, following the child sex-abuse scandal that involved his assistant coach.
After his firing Wednesday by the university’s board of trustees, the two senators from Pennsylvania have retracted their support for Paterno to receive the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“In light of the recent events in State College, we are rescinding our support for the nomination of Joe Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., said today in a joint statement, “We hope the proper authorities will move forward with their investigation without delay. Penn State is an important institution in our commonwealth.”
Both senators said the attention should now be turned to the victims of “these atrocious crimes.”
In early September, the senators wrote a letter to President Obama nominating Paterno for the honor, emphasizing not only his 402 “legendary” career wins but his “contributions to society” off the field.
“Coach Paterno over the years has shown tremendous character and loyalty,” the senators wrote in September. “Throughout his time at Penn State, he has remained committed to reaching goals without sacrificing the ideals that are central to higher education. His contributions to college athletics and higher education, as well as the content of his character, make coach Joe Paterno deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”