By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sentiments are deeply divided among Penn State students, alumni and fans, over the removal of the Paterno statue. But one former football player says it’s important to remember, it’s just a statue.

(PHOTOS: Joe Paterno Through The Years)

Upper Darby councilman Ed Monaghan believes it will take time for a dispassionate appraisal of Paterno’s full legacy but he says the removal of his statue addresses the overriding concern of the moment – the victims of abuse by Paterno’s long-time assistant Jerry Sandusky.

“The most important thing people should focus on is the children that were harmed. The innocence that was taken away from these children is awful.”

Monaghan has been shocked by the revelations in the trial and the Freeh report and though he says he doesn’t want to be naive, he can’t believe the Joe Paterno he played for in the late 80’s understood what Sandusky was doing.

That said, he believes that if the victims gain some comfort from the statue’s removal, even Paterno’s supporters should understand.

“The statue is irrelevant. I think it’s only a statue and I don’t think it really matters.”

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