Penn State Students Erupt in Protests Over Joe Paterno Firing
There was tension on campus today at Penn State following the firing of beloved coach Joe Paterno.
The morning after the riot at Penn State, there's still anger and disbelief among the student body. But at another rally on campus there was a different message: violence, flipping over cars and fighting with police is not the answer.
And there are reports that some football players are on the verge of mutiny, saying they won't play in Saturday's game in protest over Paterno's firing.
There was chaos in the streets last night as word spread that Paterno had been dismissed. Some students turned over a local TV station's microwave truck. Police dispersed students with pepper spray and tear gas.
ABC's Dan Harris was caught in the middle of the violence, almost choking on the tear gas in the air.
Cops pleaded with protesters not to tarnish Penn State's reputation even more.
"This is going to give us another black eye. This is going to give us another black eye, guys," said a police officer.
The rioting erupted after an announcement from the Board of Trustees that said, "Joe Paterno is no longer head coach, effective immediately."
Paterno was fired by phone—an ignominious end to 62 glorious years at Penn State. He emerged from his home, his wife in tears at his side, amid chants by the crowd of "Leave Joe alone."
He appealed for calm.
"Get a good night's sleep, all right? Study. We've still got things to do," Paterno said to the crowd.
Reaction to the riot was swift.
Geraldo Rivera said on Fox News, "Let me just say about those students rioting last night. They care more about the coach, they care more about the football team than they do about this coach apparently covering up the rape of a 10-year-old by a serial molestor, Jerry Sandusky."
Nancy Grace said on ABC News, "Nobody is turning over a car when a 10-year-old boy is molested in the shower by a grown man."
Tom Bradley was named the new interim head coach. He met with the team today and dismissed talk of a player's revolt.
"They will come to play on Saturday," said Bradley.
Meanwhile Two and a Half Men star Ashton Kutcher stepped unexpectedly into the center of the storm, tweeting: "How do you fire Jo Pa? Insult. No class...I find it in poor taste."
But after an avalanche of protests he took it back, tweeting: "Fully recant previous tweet! Didn't have full story. I feel awful about this error. Won't happen again."
Meanwhile, there are reports that trustees are even considering removing Joe Paterno's famed statue.