Penn State will be celebrating homecoming this weekend when No. 24 Northwestern comes to Beaver Stadium for an early afternoon kickoff. A huge crowd is expected to be on hand for the first homecoming since the unfortunate sequence of events that unfolded last November that led to the forced removal of head coach Joe Paterno. Since then, of course, the statue of Paterno was removed from its spot outside of Beaver Stadium, not without controversy of course, and the public relations battles between the university and Paterno family in the aftermath has been nothing short of ugly, and at times unnecessary.
With homecoming set for this weekend though Penn State is encouraging many to get reacquainted with Penn State and their family. To many, Penn State is a generational connection within the the family tree, which appears to be the point of this new brief video advertisement that shows a grandson grabbing a Penn State book from the top of the fireplace to read with his grandmother.
It is a sweet and innocent visual, so what could possibly be upsetting so many within the Penn State community? How about the fact that the book is about Paterno and the name "Joe" has been blurred out from the video.
Check out the short video below to see what all the fuss is about…
The book on top of the mantle is Quotable Joe: Words of Wisdom by and about Joe Paterno, College Football's Coaching Icon, which is filled with many memorable quotes from the former Penn State head coach. The rights to the Paterno name are no longer under control of the university, which may have a role in the decision to blur out the name from this video, but the question then becomes why the school would even bother to blatantly place a book with his name on the mantle in the first place. Why not just place an old Penn State yearbook for the child to grab so his grandmother can share stories from her youth with her grandchild. Wouldn't the same basic message be delivered that way?
UPDATE: The Penn State Homecoming Twitter account confirms this was a licensing issue.
Due to licensing issues, we are unable to promote products that are not owned by Penn State Homecoming in any of our promotional material.
— PSU Homecoming (@PSUHOMECOMING) October 2, 2012
I don't think the video was designed to make a shot at Paterno, nor do I believe there was any ill intentions behind the selection of the prop. But it does leave you scratching your head wondering just what the heck they were thinking. If nothing else, this is another example of a decision being made by Penn State that requires otherwise unnecessary damage control to some extent.