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Aerial banner criticizes Paterno, calls for statue to come down

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 17 2012 02:55:10 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 17 2012 04:58:54 PM CDT

A company that towed a banner over Penn State University criticizing Joe Paterno has a history of controversy, according to aviation records.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -

A company that towed a banner over Penn State University criticizing Joe Paterno has a history of controversy, according to aviation records.

A plane licensed to Air America Aerial Ads of Genoa, Ohio, flew over State College on Tuesday with a banner that read, "Take the Statue Down or We Will," a reference to the statue of the former head football that sits outside Beaver Stadium.

The statue is among many vestiges left from Paterno's 46 years as head coach of the Nittany Lions, a run that ended in disgrace in November when he was fired in the wake of a sex abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"I'm a Penn State employee that thinks we have failed miserably, and I'm sad for the damage that has been done, but this is just upsetting," said Diane Farley, a PSU alumnus who spotted the plane on Tuesday. "It's just stirring up everything."

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded a plane from the same company after it towed banners taunting Tiger Woods during the 2010 Masters golf tournament.

A report last week criticized Paterno for not responding more forcefully to reports of sexual abuse in the Jerry Sandusky case.

A person who answered the phone at Air America declined to give his name or identify who paid for the flight, but said they believe in free speech.

The bronze Paterno statue was created by artist Angelo DiMaria of Mount Penn, Berks Co.

Penn State trustees and administrators have not yet decided what to do with the sculpture, officials said.