In less than 24 hours, Joe Paterno has lost his job and lost his opportunity to earn the highest civilian award in the United States.
Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey have rescinded their nomination of Paterno for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to the Penn State student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. The decision was made as a result of the damaging child sexual abuse case involving former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
"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," read a news release by Casey and Toomey on Thursday. "We hope the proper authorities will move forward with their investigation without delay. Penn State is an important institution in our commonwealth. We should turn our attention to the victims of these atrocious crimes and ensure they get the help they need. Our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families."
The 84-year-old Paterno was nominated by Casey and Toomey in September when the lawmakers wrote a letter to President Barack Obama. Casey and Toomey cited the 16 Hall of Fame scholar-athletes, 47 Academic All-Americans and 18 NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners that Paterno coached as "evidence of [Paterno's] dedication to helping his players excel in both athletic and academic endeavors."
Paterno was nominated in 2010 as well, but was not selected for the award. Legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant is the only college football coach to be bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom when he was posthumously honored in 1983.