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September 17, 2016

Report: Temple students turn their backs during Joe Paterno tribute

Temple University students didn't agree with Penn State University's decision to honor Joe Paterno for the first time since 2011 during Saturday's game and they made their feelings well known.

In early September, Penn State announced that it would mark the 50th anniversary of Paterno's first game as the Nittany Lions' head coach during the team's game against the Owls on Sept. 17. The news came buried deep within a press release, according to Onward State. 

While an honorary video played at Beaver Stadium, some of the cherry-and-white crowd physically turned their backs and held up a sign that said "He turned his back, so we'll turn ours," NBC Sports reported.

Many former players coached by the late Paterno came together for a private reunion Friday night that had its own security for the event. The decision for both the public and private recognition drew harsh criticisms because of the school's 2011 child sex abuse scandal.

Paterno, who coached the Nittany Lions for 46 seasons, was fired by Penn State's board of trustees after Jerry Sandusky, the coach's defensive coordinator, was arrested for sexual abuse, acoording to the Associated Press. It's speculated that Paterno knew of the scandal and didn't report the crimes to the police, though he was never charged.

Paterno died of lung cancer at the age of 85 in 2012

"Coach Paterno wanted academic success not only for his players but also for every student who came through Penn State," Penn State's Athletic Director Sandy Barbour told the AP earlier this week. "Together with his wife, Sue, they helped countless students become leaders and earn a Penn State diploma."