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Paterno: ‘I didn’t know exactly how to handle it’

Penn State Community Shaken By Sex Abuse Scandal Getty Images

In the weeks since the still-stunning dismissal was made official, supporters and detractors alike have been clamoring for deposed head coach Joe Paterno to give his side of the story, to begin to explain why he took the tack he did when he was first made aware of one of his trusted former assistants allegedly sodomizing a boy in football building shower.

For the first time since being fired Nov. 9, the legendary head coach has done just that.  Somewhat.  Sorta.

In an exclusive sit-down interview with the Washington Post‘s Sally Jenkins, Paterno, with his attorney in the room, addressed a wide range of issues and questions, from the aftermath of his ouster to his treatment for lung cancer to, yes, Jerry Sandusky.

The central question, though, the one that nearly everyone has on their mind, is a simple one: why?  Why did Paterno, after turning over information he had received from a grad assistant —  Mike McQueary, the Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach who has been a central figure in the case against Sandusky — that Sandusky was naked in a shower with a 10-year-old boy in 2002, do the bare minimum as legally required by law?  Why did Paterno, the most powerful man at Penn State University regardless of title, not follow-up after handing the information over to his athletic director and president?

Nine years later, it appears Paterno is still struggling to answer those questions in his own head.

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” he said. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

Paterno went on to at least attempt to further explain to Jenkins why he didn’t pursue the matter further after handing over McQueary and his information to athletic director Tim Curley and another high-ranking university official.

Paterno’s portrait of himself is of an old-world man profoundly confused by what McQueary told him, and who was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he did not want to be seen as trying to exert any influence for or against Sandusky. “I didn’t know which way to go,” he said. “And rather than get in there and make a mistake . . .”

He reiterated that McQueary was unclear with him about the nature of what he saw — and added that even if McQueary had been more graphic, he’s not sure he would have comprehended it.

“You know, he didn’t want to get specific,” Paterno said. “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man. So I just did what I thought was best. I talked to people that I thought would be, if there was a problem, that would be following up on it.”

Paterno also hit on other topics…

  • On his firing: “Whether it’s fair I don’t know, but they do it. You would think I ran the show here.”  That statement comes courtesy of a man who, legend has it, chased Curley and then-president Graham Spanier out of his house several years ago when the two came to fire him.  he was not fired.
  • On how Sandusky was allowed to engage in his alleged deviant acts with young boys while going undetected: “I wish I knew. I don’t know the answer to that. It’s hard.”  The premise of the question is absurd, of course, as several high-ranking members of the university were made aware of allegations involving Sandusky dating as far back as 1998.
  • Paterno and his wife were in their nightclothes getting ready for bed on the night of Nov. 9 when there was a knock on the door.  On the other side of the door was a university employee bearing a piece of paper and a name on it.  Paterno dialed the number and the voice on the other end, vice trustees chairman John Surma, telling him “[i]n the best interests of the university, you are terminated.”  Paterno’s irate wife Sue called the number back. “After 61 years he deserved better. He deserved better.”
  • On why he waited until this interview, which was conducted Thursday and Friday, to speak out publicly: “I wanted everybody to settle down.”
  • Paterno said he had “no inkling” that Sandusky might be a pedophile, and described their relationship as “professional, not social” due to the fact that his former assistant “was a lot younger than me.”
  • Paterno said he told Sandusky that he couldn’t spend the time with his children’s charity — The Second Mile, which he allegedly used as a “recruiting ground” for victims — if he wanted to also become a head coach.  Paterno maintained that Sandusky retired in 1998 after being told he would not become Paterno’s successor at Penn State.  Sandusky was urged by Paterno to take the 30-year retirement package being offered by the school.
  • Paterno claims he was unaware of an incident in 1998 in which Sandusky allegedly molested a boy in a shower.  Curley as well as police were aware of the incident, and it was investigated before it was decided charges would not be pursued.  “You know it wasn’t like it was something everybody in the building knew about,” Paterno said of the 1998 incident. “Nobody knew about it.”
  • Paterno would not pass judgment on Sandusky’s guilt or innocence. “I think we got to wait and see what happens. The courts are taking care of it, the legal system is taking care of it.” If Sandusky is found guilty?  “I’m sick about it.”

Other than being his first post-firing interview, Jenkins’ exceptionally written piece did not, as somewhat expected, plow much new ground.  Perhaps the most fascinating — and sad on multiple levels — aspect of the interview was the conversation turning to the victims of Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse and Paterno and his wife personalizing it into what their reactions would’ve been if it had involved a member of their own family.

The Paternos say they think about the real potential victims every time they look at their own children. “I got three boys and two girls,” Paterno said. “It’s sickening.” His knee-jerk response is to go back to Flatbush. “Violence is not the way to handle it,” he said. “But for me, I’d get a bunch of guys and say let’s go punch somebody in the nose.” Sue Paterno is more blunt. “If someone touched my child, there wouldn’t be a trial, I would have killed them,” she said. “That would be my attitude, because you have destroyed someone for life.”

In other words, if Paterno had received the same information he did in 2002, but “10-year-old boy” was replaced with “great-grandson”, jeopardizing university procedures would have been the last thing on the former coach’s mind and someone would have paid for whatever happened in that on-campus shower.  Instead, the bare minimum was done for somebody’s else’s child.

It has been stated multiple times in the past couple of months that Paterno has been wanting to get his side of the story out, that he wanted to address the situation in his own words.  To some degree, he did just that, although if someone were a supporter or a detractor coming in, that’s likely where they still stand upon finishing the interview.

For me, it merely served as yet another reminder of how sad and disturbing and disgusting this whole sordid situation remains.  And how it could’ve been stopped in 2002, sparing several innocent victims from the actions of an alleged pedophile.

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66 Responses to “Paterno: ‘I didn’t know exactly how to handle it’”
  1. jason1214 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:17 PM

    Ok I’ll just say it….great example of why JoePa should’ve been put off to pasture 5 years ago.

  2. deadeye says: Jan 14, 2012 5:39 PM

    As I feared, mostly softball questions. Here’s an interesting quote from the article:

    “He reiterated that McQueary was unclear with him about the nature of what he saw — and added that even if McQueary had been more graphic, he’s not sure he would have comprehended it.”

    If he now understands the nature of Sandusky’s crime, why would he NOT have been able to understand it back in 2002 while speaking to McQueary, even if McQueary had been more graphic? He’s goes on to say that if it was his grandchild, he would have killed Sandusky. So clearly he now does understand that Sandusky was sodomizing children. That quote is a feeble attempt to hide behind ignorance.

  3. lrg51 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:39 PM

    OK… yes I agree Joe should have been put out to pasture years ago. I also think I understand where he is coming from. It appears that in his best judgement, that he felt he did the right thing.

  4. richinlesta says: Jan 14, 2012 5:40 PM

    “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it????” It’s simple…it’s called “doing the right thing!”. Lame.

  5. contract says: Jan 14, 2012 5:41 PM

    “In other words, if Paterno had received the same information he did in 2002, but “10-year-old boy” was replaced with “great-grandson”, jeopardizing university procedures would have been the last thing on the former coach’s mind and someone would have paid for whatever happened in that on-campus shower. Instead, the bare minimum was done for somebody’s else’s child.”

    Wait! You’re telling me that people are more protective of their own family than they are of strangers? NO WAY!

    FYI … there are children being abused and molested all over the US every day. I’m sure you are all over every one of those cases just as if it was YOUR kid.

    Hypocrite.

  6. jason1214 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:43 PM

    @irg51

    My main point was, er Joe, did you choose to NOT follow up, when you knew full well it could come back and bite you, which inevitably it did.

    Sad all the way around.

  7. brewcrewfan54 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:44 PM

    Contact, you must be one of those guys who thinks Joe is the cictim in all of this. Yes kids out there are being abused but most of us arent ignoring it, we weren’t told it is happening and by who.

  8. Deb says: Jan 14, 2012 5:46 PM

    From these comments, it’s evident the Paternos fully comprehend the totality of what Sandusky did. If they understand, then every other official at Penn State understands. So why was Tim Curley still giving that monster game seats in the president’s box after learning what he’d done to that child??? Maybe someone needs to go Flatbush on Curley, too.

  9. stinkfoot51 says: Jan 14, 2012 5:53 PM

    Paterno is complicit. Plain and simple. He didn’t want the nasties coming down on his program. He figured it would all just go away if he ignored it. What you do if you’re a man is you get in the face of the perp and make sure the police have all the info. It’s really not that hard if you have morals.

  10. stevenfbrackett says: Jan 14, 2012 5:55 PM

    Pants on fire!

  11. cowhawkfan says: Jan 14, 2012 6:06 PM

    Most I you on this board are naive and lack the ability to be honest with yourself. 99% of you would have done what Joe did, or less. This is not just my opinion, it’s based on fact. There have been movies made about crimes occurring in public and people ignored it. The recent TV show, “What would you have done” displayed some of this same behavior (although I though the show was biased in some ways). There is a former FBI agent who expose child abuse on an Indian reservation who was vilified by other FBI agents who helped cover up the crimes. And lastly, most of you deplore “SNITCHES”!!! Snitching is frowned on. So, in summary, most of you are ignorant, hypocritical, oblivious idiots!!! And to the 1% who would actually do the right thing, Kudos to you.!

  12. lonewolf330 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:20 PM

    some of what he said seemed like total jiberish you did’nt understand what he meant by rape,a man,and a boy ?give me a f**kin break i guess he should have used flash cards to illustrate it then, man he truly should’ve been fired atleast 5 years ago

  13. thatobnoxiousguy says: Jan 14, 2012 6:22 PM

    Curious what that d!psh!t bozosforall thinks?

    I mean he is a closet Paterno fan, even though he posts comments to make it appear he isn’t.
    Biggest tool on these sites.

    Perv clown

  14. storm915 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:26 PM

    “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was”

    What you should have done, you POS, was to have called the POLICE!

    Too bad your judgement wasn’t that bad when you terrorized your players for every f’ing infraction your tiny brain could think of, but this….your assistant coach raping a child…this was one thing you didn’t know what to do?

    You deserve all the shite that will come your way!

  15. randomguy9999 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:33 PM

    Joepa wants to play the old confused man card and then in the next breath complain about how he was fired when he ‘ran the place’

    the reality is he knows exactly what was going on and he continued to hide and hope it went away…

    he’s an accessory and I hope they figure out something to charge him with…

  16. txtroutslayer says: Jan 14, 2012 6:40 PM

    Cowhawkfan your an idiot. Paterno is 100% a coward for letting this go on….he did it for selfish reasons, so that it wouldn’t interrupt his football program, not because of some lame ass “cultural” belief that snitching is wrong. How dare you speak for me and say that 99% of the people on this board would do the same thing? I guess what your saying is YOU would do the same thing….well let me tell you what I would have done…I would have fired his ass on the spot, gone to the police and district attorney, and kept the pressure up until something was done…and if they let this pedophille monster loose after all of that, I would have gone in front of a news crew and let everyone know we tolerate child molesters at Penn State and then I would have resigned. He CHOSE to help in the cover up…..he should live the rest of his life being haunted by the faces of the victims! His wife says he deserved better then the firing he got????? Children deserve not to get sodomized by Penn State Football coaches!!!

  17. lemmam says: Jan 14, 2012 6:44 PM

    joepa for you to claim you ran the place and then claim you didn’t know what to do, you are one dumb, son of a #$%^&. if you don’t right from wrong you should be fired exactly as you were. what a self-serving p o s you and your entire family are

  18. halo81 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:44 PM

    Two things to say:

    1. It mentions his PR person was there for the interview. Get your money back Joe. The quotes in the article about not knowing a man could rape another man alone are so ridiculous that anyone of sound mind wanted to bang their head off the desk reading that.

    2. Stop playing the victim, then claiming “you don’t care about yourself”, then stating “you need to clear the record before time runs out”.

    You clearly think you’re a victim and want your side out more than you care about the real victims or you’d shut the hell up and enjoy your family.

    From personally dealing with Penn State, it’s coaching staff, players that go there and administrators — you DID rule that university with an iron fist.

    To sit back and say differently now is just asinine.

    I’m sorry you’re sick. I’m sorry your family has to go through this. I genuinely think without this you were the best coach in the history of college football.

    All of that aside though, you knew. No one that smart is that naive.

    To try and suggest that you were only patronizes the entire country.

    What a disgusting article.

  19. violet4795 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:50 PM

    Paterno was one of many at Penn State who failed to live up to the responsibility every adult has to protect all children. He “didn’t know what to do”? He certainly had a strong idea of how to handle it had it been his own family affected; why should his outrage be any less for someone else’s kid?
    All those who ignored the ugly truth of Jerry Sandusky’s behavior are complicit in the crime against every subsequent victim.

  20. stinkfoot51 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:54 PM

    halo81, it says his lawyer was in the room, not a PR person.

  21. yellowroselady says: Jan 14, 2012 6:56 PM

    The Penn State, Citadel and Syracuse scandals are a mere tip of the iceberg……why? Because the media and lawmakers have focused solely on the folks on the registries while children are being sexually abused in homes, neighbor’s houses, and many other places we felt were safe because the “bad ones” were being monitored and on that “list” and this wasn’t supposed to happen….follow the money trail to see how it did and will continue as long as we have private prison lobbyist in Washington, GPS Companies using Brinks to deposit the money they are making off the states as well as the lie detector, urine analysis and residency police paid by the SMART Office via the Justice Department.

    There are over 760,000 registered men, women and children across the nation required to register. The “crimes” range from urinating in public, sexting, exposure, false accusations by a soon-to-be ex-wife, angry girlfriend, or spiteful student, looking at abusive or suggestive images of anyone up to 18 years old, solicitation, Romeo and Juliet consensual sexual dating relationships, rape and incest. Credible studies advise that 95% of sexual offenses come from within the family unit, friend or someone know to the family and NEVER get reported. The registry is a way to make parents “feel good!” Now if you multiply 760,000 by 3 or 4 family members of the registrant there are over 2,000,000 folks suffering the collateral damage caused by the registries. Families are harassed, beaten, threatened, forced to leave their church, lose jobs, and lose friends and family. How is the family supposed to survive and become functional again under these conditions?
    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry dot com

  22. uraxcrunner says: Jan 14, 2012 6:59 PM

    Cover up from day 1 plain and simple. Everyone did what they could to protect the football program. C’mon we (the public) are not stupid. The whole thing stinks….really bad. I hope justice prevails

  23. thefiesty1 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:11 PM

    Confused old man, bull. He should of retired years ago, like in 1998 when the first time there was a problem with Sandusky. Sad, sad situation he allowed to continue.

  24. stevenfbrackett says: Jan 14, 2012 7:16 PM

    No, an anonymous call to the police tipster hotline or the child welfare hotline was the very least a moral person could do. Paterno couldn’t even do that.

    But then neither did anyone else ‘man up’ enough to do it.

  25. corvusrex96 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:18 PM

    “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it”

    He’s 85 years old just give the man a break. I mean he probably did not even know the phone number for 911.

  26. ozzi7 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:29 PM

    Just sit down and shut up old man!

  27. turillos says: Jan 14, 2012 7:35 PM

    attention all you self-righteous, hypocritcal posters here on this website: 25,000 children are going to die today from hunger or preventable diseases. $1 a day can care for one child. if one of these kids were ur kid, guaranteed u’d do everything in your power to make sure they’re cared for. but how many of you do it for the faceless 25,000 that die every day. before u throw stones at paterno, look in the mirror.

  28. gershonpsu says: Jan 14, 2012 7:41 PM

    We who know Joe and Sue have come to expect the truth when they speak. Joe admits he was unprepared to deal with this kind of allegation so he stepped back and followed University procedures. That’s the simple truth. Those who find fault with it are entitled to their opinions. I for one, am grateful to have had their leadership and example for over 50 years. God bless them and their family.

  29. lemmam says: Jan 14, 2012 7:46 PM

    joepa says he didn’t know how a man could rape. isn’t joepa Catholic? If yes, how could he NOT know about men raping children? Either he’s the dumbest guy in the world or he’s lying out his —.

  30. lemmam says: Jan 14, 2012 7:47 PM

    My point being on previous post is the clergy abuse of children which has been hot news for over 15 years

  31. jopadontlie says: Jan 14, 2012 8:02 PM

    txtroutslayer – did you mean to say “cowhawkfan you’re (as in “you are”) an idiot” instead of “…your an idiot…”? It seems to me you’re (now try real hard to stay with me and read along “…you are…”) THE idiot. In fact, based on the rest of your post, you’re an ass. (see how I used the contraction correctly even though my grammar might not be perfect?)

    It is evident that cowhawkfan, contract and yellowroselady have some constructive comments.

    It’s really easy to sit back and convict JoPa but only one thing is truly known – WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED AND VERY, VERY FEW OF US KNOW WHAT WE WOULD HAVE DONE if we had been in either JoPa’s or McQueary’s shoes.

    Even if you don’t agree with her post, yellowroselady suggests an area we should be considering.

    Negative posts, including the beginning of my own post, are a waste of time and energy.

    Our goal should be to reduce the incredible number of molestations that occur each year and provide much needed help for those who suffer the horrible consequences.

    I would bet there are dozens of people on this post alone that could help us to, first, come up with a realistic (“just call the police” doesn’t work, I’ve tried it…), step-by-step procedure for reporting suspected abuse and, second, figure out how we can educate large numbers of people. In fact, I’d also bet this already exists…

    Anyone up for the challenge?

  32. jopadontlie says: Jan 14, 2012 8:17 PM

    txturdslayer – one more negative post because I still haven’t learned to correctly channel my energy –

    “well let me tell you what I would have done…I would have fired his ass on the spot, gone to the police and district attorney, and kept the pressure up until something was done…and if they let this pedophille monster loose after all of that, I would have gone in front of a news crew and let everyone know we tolerate child molesters at Penn State and then I would have resigned. He CHOSE to help in the cover up…..he should live the rest of his life being haunted by the faces of the victims! ”

    First point – Sandusky hadn’t worked at Penn State for four years prior to the 2002 incident. What job exactly would you have fired him from?

    Second point – Good luck with the police and district attorney thing too. You would have been emotionally and financially destroyed before that charge ever made it to pretrial.

    Finally, your (this is where we use the possessive form of the homonym) logic in regards the news crew is completely backwards. If you were stupid enought to hold a news conference to announce the charges you would NOT be tolerating molestation at Penn State.

    Hook ‘em horns!!!

  33. tg1896 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:59 PM

    joepadontlie – not sure about the content, but thank goodness for the grammar. It’s refreshing to see someone on this site is fluent in English. I’m sick to death of all the “your a dum ole perv” posts.

  34. txtroutslayer says: Jan 14, 2012 9:03 PM

    Jopadontlie: Joe pa did lie and continues to lie.
    Now he’s playing the “I’m a poor old confused man I didn’t know things like that happened. What a crock…..

    No matter what way you slice it, you can insult me all you want, make fun of my grammer, because that is all you got…the man had a chance to stop a horrible wrong and he let it continue all for the sake of Penn State Football and his career.

    First point – Sandusky continued to have full access to the field house so he could shower with more kids and rape them.

    second point – Police and most DA’s would obviously listen to Joe Paterno if he had come to them and said my defensive coordinator is raping ten year old boys in my shower…..

    but go ahead and live in your fantasy world that Joe Pa is an awesome man with great character….

  35. cubano76 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:20 PM

    I don’t believe a word he said. Just my opinion.

  36. stairwayto7 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:35 PM

    WHY DIDN’T MCQUEARY DO ANYTHING! Why os EVERYONE BLAMING JOE? BLAME SANDUSKY AND MCQUEARY!!

  37. whoopteedo says: Jan 14, 2012 9:50 PM

    Paterno should have put himself in the child’s place, imagining a man standing 15 ft tall and weighing at least 300 pounds manhandling and molesting him, because that’s the ratio of height and weight Sandusky had in comparison to a 10 year old boy. As for Paterno’s wife saying Paterno deserved better after 61 years, she should have turned to JoePa and said she had expected more of him. As a father, a grandfather and university official for 6 decades, no one can tell me that Paterno didn’t know what to do when flagrant abuse was reported [much less that it had been observed 1st hand within the facilities], and of course he admits this when he says he would have a different reaction if the victim were a family youngster. I am just sickened for what these kids have to carry with them the rest of their lives, and as for the Paternos, Sanduskys, Spaniers and others at Penn State, they make me sick for being cowards when they should have immediately protected the helpless, not their blessed football program.

  38. vette7274 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:55 PM

    Crazy old fool. Should of beat the crap out of Sandusky or had someone else do it, fired him, then called the police.

  39. dominator71030 says: Jan 14, 2012 10:38 PM

    Point 1-No matter what anybody says, they would have no clue how to handle a situation like this. It would be very suprising if somebody you thought you knew well and worked with every day did this and you found out somehow. It’s easy to say what you would do when you aren’t in that position.

    Point 2-What about the cops that investigated Sandusky in 1998? They knew even better than Paterno what Sandusky was like and they didnt even charge Sandusky or come out about their concerns to the public. They have an OATH to protect people.

    Point 3-How was it protecting the university when it didnt come out in 2002? If anything, it would have helped if the incident came out to show how they never tolerate anything and show how good of a school Penn State is with their morals.

  40. vincentbojackson says: Jan 14, 2012 10:39 PM

    What nobody ever talks about is the fact Joe grew up in a time where deviant sexual behavior was never discussed openly. People that had issues were hidden from society and all details were swept under the rug. Then people acted as if nothing happened.

    Doesn’t make it right, but helps us understand why Joe struggled with how to handle it.

  41. turillos says: Jan 14, 2012 11:14 PM

    I agree with you vincentbo, but would go a step further. We are STILL in a time where people don’t talk about this stuff. If statistics are right, we all are friends with several people who’ve been sexually abused, and we don’t realize it. There have been millions of people who’ve made bold predictions of what they’d do if they were Paterno/Mcqueary, but pretty much none of them have ever been in that situation. But it makes people feel better about themselves to throw stones at others and talk about how tough they’d be if they were ever in that situation so I’m sure it will continue.

  42. Deb says: Jan 15, 2012 12:02 AM

    @joepadontlie …

    Publishers pay me to edit manuscripts, so I’d bet my grammar skills against yours. But sometimes as I fire off comments on the football blog, I manage that trusty old your/you’re typo. Perfect grammar or typing skills aren’t the measure of intellect. As a writer, I’ve lived with people in a variety of environments. Some of the wisest had little formal education; some of the most foolish had advanced degrees. And people slinging BS can be found anywhere. I doubt you’ve ever phoned the police to report a rape and been ignored.

    Your username says it all, and you’re entitled to your hero worship. But for whatever reasons, the power structure at Penn State did nothing to stop Jerry Sandusky from raping children after they became aware of his behavior. That’s not because no procedures existed to report him, which we can correct by putting on our thinking caps. It’s because–as Paterno clearly admits in this interview–they didn’t make a genuine effort.

  43. Deb says: Jan 15, 2012 12:04 AM

    @Vicki Henry (yellowroselady) …

    Excellent post! The sex offender registry, like the three-strikes law, sound good when it’s being pushed by political candidates. But in practice it doesn’t protect the public. It just clogs the system with too many people who aren’t really dangerous to society and allows those who are to slip through the cracks.

  44. dirtdawg55 says: Jan 15, 2012 1:05 AM

    What’ a complete and utter moral and ethical, if not legal, failure, by Penn State and it’s leadership (used lightly here). McQuery sees a rape and does nothing other than go home and ask his dad what to do? He then describes the situation in less than graphic details out of respect for JoePa? Not that it matters, because JoePa says he wouldn’t have understood that a boy could be raped? Seriously? Of course, unless, to happened to his own loved ones in which case he wold have taken plenty of actions other than sitting around with his finger up his own arse.

    As for you who support this dimwit without at least acknowledging the absurdity of his statements, well, we really have started to lose our way as a society when we hate the truth and love the myth. He is on record, in his own words, as saying he wouldn’t have known what to do. And his supporters try to claim that few would. Sorry, but most of us would know what to do. Only the blindly faithful or arrogant or dimwitted or ethically vacant wouldn’t.

  45. gatorword says: Jan 15, 2012 4:30 AM

    “I didn’t know what to do” is a short term excuse. Long term (24 hours later), JoePa should have at least known to ask Sandusky what the hell was going on. If/when Sandusky said, ‘we were horsing around in the showers…no harm, no foul.’, any reasonable person would have said, “What the f*** were you doing showering with a kid?’ Red Flag. Get rid of him and alert authorities.Turning your back for 1o years is not the right thing to do. Until this, JoePa was a Coach K to me…always did the right thing and taught his players to be men. Now in my mind, JoePa is a person that made an unforgivable mistake. Despite what you accomplish in our life, there are a few things (very few things) that the mass population will over look in the grand scheme of things…this is not one of them. JoePa made a bad decision on a level that is unforgivable. Sorry JoePa, you’re done. No respect for you! Next!

  46. txnative61 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:46 AM

    I think many, even most of JoPa’s generation were uncomfortable looking at or even thinking about such sordid possibilities. How many Catholics imagined their Priest a pedophile? I understand the self-righteous indignation of 20-20 hindsight, but personally find his explanation plausible, and believe he will suffer agonizing regret his remaining years.

  47. rexismybff says: Jan 15, 2012 7:13 AM

    “The central question, though, the one that nearly everyone has on their mind, is a simple one: why?”

    Like – why would I register or subscribe with the Washington Post just to read that lame-assed interview? Yeah, that’s a good question.

  48. 1historian says: Jan 15, 2012 9:01 AM

    “After 61 years he deserved better.”

    No he didn’t. He was 83 years old at the time he was fired – way past the time he should have hung it up. The “Joe-Pa legend, icon, etc.”, spiel goes only so far and no farther – at a certain point it turns from endearing to selfish and with Paterno that point was passed years ago.

    He was too feeble to coach from the sideline any more.

  49. 1historian says: Jan 15, 2012 9:10 AM

    If he knew what was going on but didn’t quite know how to deal with it because he was an old-world man – what better indication would he need that he should step down?

    This is a sad, sad story that would not have been written if Paterno had not been so selfish and insisted on staying as coach, or if someone had had the stones to fire him years ago. When people think of him years from now THIS is what they will think of before they think of all the good he did, and – except of course for the damage done to Sandusky’s victims – that to me is the saddest part of it.

  50. halo81 says: Jan 15, 2012 10:30 AM

    @stinkfoot

    It specifically does state that his PR group was in the room to make sure he was “lucid because of his chemo treatment”.

    Go read that again.

    Just a heads up.

  51. bubba703 says: Jan 15, 2012 11:10 AM

    “In other words, if Paterno had received the same information he did in 2002, but “10-year-old boy” was replaced with “great-grandson”, jeopardizing university procedures would have been the last thing on the former coach’s mind…
    Instead, the bare minimum was done for somebody’s else’s child.”

    The author did a good job summing it up. JoePa can claim he buried his nose in his playbook or wore blinders all he wants. The fact that once he was made aware of it, he chose to do the bare minimum. THAT is why he was fired.

    Joe, if you’re looking for sympathy, I suggest you donate the money you earmarked to the University directly to the victim(s) that you know you failed to protect in your own lockeroom.

  52. onceuponatimeinsports says: Jan 15, 2012 1:07 PM

    Let get me this straight, he didn’t know a man could rape a boy!?! Where did he think the term “Sodomy” came from? It comes from Sodom & Gomorra in the Bible, that’s Old Testament bible (I think Jo-Pa was around when the first editions came out).

    That’s just incredibly weak!

    Then he contradicts his own words by saying if it had been his grandson Sandusky was with in the showers he’d have taken the law into his own hands and beaten him up. So if it’s just an unknown innocent 10 year old in the Penn State football locker room getting molested by one of his ex-coaches and friends it’s just something to pass along to the higher ups and forget about but if it’s family, well…..that’s another matter entirely!

    Really? REALLY!? That’s his defense!?!

    His entire side of this story can best be summed up as, “I didn’t know what to do….so I did nothing.” And the Penn State apologists are just fine with this. Good God! If this explanation had come from the HC at Michigan or Notre Dame etc… the vast majority of Penn State and Paterno fans would never accept it…..period! They’d be laughing at such a lame attempt to explain someone in authorities’ lack of action and they know it.

    Did he ever ask Schultz or Curley about it? If he didn’t want to intervene in the investigation (Assuming there even was much of one which it appears there wasn’t) did he ask 6 months later? A year later? 5 years later?? Ever????

    Did he ever ask McQueary for more information? Did he ever confront his old co-worker and close friend Sandusky and ask him? Ever??? Did he even wonder why Sandusky was still hanging around the football facilities for nearly a decade later? (Sandusky was seen using the weight room at the practice facility the week before the Grand Jury report was made public) Did Paterno do anything beyond just calling a meeting with 2 other Penn State officials and dumping it into their laps and walking away!?

    The answer appears to be “No.”

    And the Penn State and Paterno apologists are okay with this explanation? Really!?

    And they wonder why the country looks at Penn State as an institution and shakes its collective heads in disgust…..

  53. tobeexact says: Jan 15, 2012 1:08 PM

    For all you joe pa haters and supposedly righteous people posting on this blog, you all talk about what you would have some and what joe pa should have done .
    First the law clearly states and I repeat clearly states , that when it comes to reporting child molestation only people that actually witnessed it are aloud by law.
    Whether you or I agree with it is a different story,but its there to protect people from false allegations, which again does happen all the time.
    So the only person who could have and should have gone to the police was mcquery , who chose to run instead of act .
    And since some have compared sanduskys size to a ten year old , take a step back ,mcquery 28 year old grad student ,ex qb 6ft4 and 230 plus pounds against a 67 year old out of shape perv,hmmm who would win that battle.
    Then there is his father ,a doctor who if anyone should have understood what his son had told him , chose to do nothing but tell his son to tell joe pa a day later . And im quite sure that mcquery had a cell phone on him or at least 20 phones with in shouting distance he could have used.
    As for calling the police and getting no help , well ive been threw it numerous times and here is one example and it deals with child safety, my son was being harassed and bullied by a group of older kids and i had witnesses to the fact. Here is the response I got when calling the police, well until until they draw blood there is nothing we can do.
    Thats not the only time that i got that answer even when I had phone messages with the persons voice and phone number making threats to damage peoples cars and then did it and dont you know ,i was told did you see them do it..
    As far as sandusky being aloud on the school property, thats not joe pas choice either nor could he stop him , the Bot signed that contract and there for are the only ones that could have revoked it.
    And where were the parents of the victims at, they should have gone after the man and did what sue paterno said she would have done,i know.i would be in jail and my kids will testify to that fact. My daughter has graduated college and is dating and here boyfriend knows that if he lays a hand on heer I will take him out permanetly.
    And as far as following penn state rules as an employee and its no disclosure rules then joe pa did what his contract stated .
    So it doesnt matter how much money you make , how many of you with second hand news that was vague at best would report something you didn’t witness when its against your company policy and lose your job, your lively hood and jeoperdise the welfare of your family.
    And although I cannot for obvious reasons get into detail ,but i served in the army airborne rangers and believe me ,as much as you want to do the right thing when its clearly a moral issue , you cant.

  54. dickroy says: Jan 15, 2012 1:57 PM

    @Deb

    I will say one thing Deb. As educated as you are and also very good with you’re way with words, and structuring sentences, you never place your self above others, even this old Tennessee boy. Thats one of the qualities I love about you. Love reading the post that you submit.

    I will remain a fan of you always, except for the 3rd weekend in October! Okay?

  55. frank booth says: Jan 15, 2012 2:32 PM

    tobeexact says:
    Jan 15, 2012 1:08 PM
    …My daughter has graduated college and is dating and here boyfriend knows that if he lays a hand on heer I will take him out permanetly….
    ===================================
    You should probably take him out permanently. If she is an independent college girl with a domineering father, the deeds already been done.

  56. butch815 says: Jan 15, 2012 4:00 PM

    The bravado here is sickening. Amazing all the great legal minds and most with only a high school education. You do NOT know what you would do until you actually have to walk in those shoes. 99% would’ve done exactly what McQuesry and Paterno did if not less. This is the truth of situation. Everybody thinks they can be out front leading the way until the bullets actually start flying. Then many end up in the fetal position crying for mama. That’s the Truth. That’s human nature.

  57. jonanthans says: Jan 15, 2012 7:22 PM

    Anyone who “doesn’t know what they would do in that situation” is a coward. I have a neice who was molested and when the accusations were made the entire family was involved in getting his step-father arrested, and if he would not have been taken into police custody so fast he probably would not be alive today. What kind of person does not stand up to protect a child?Straight cowards. Paterno wants us to believe that he knew very little of what actually took place. He knew everything, but chose to keep it quiet because it would ruin the PSU image, which hurts his football team. Yet if someone done it to HIS grand-kids, suddenly he would take action? That statement right there tells you everything you need to know about what kind of person Joe Paterno is.

  58. sexualassaultwitness says: Jan 15, 2012 8:53 PM

    “McQueary has remained silent. His father, citing the ongoing investigation, has stayed quiet. A lot of people want to know how McQueary could simply leave the locker room. That includes the mother of one of Sandusky’s alleged victims. “I don’t even have words to talk about the betrayal that I feel,” the mother of Victim Six told the Harrisburg Patriot-News this week. “[McQueary] was a grown man, and he saw a boy being sodomized … He ran and called his daddy?”

    You’d be surprised just how you’d react in those exact shoes! I personally was a witness to a sexual assault – the Shock and Sickening Revulsion that swept through my body – “did I really see that?” I never uttered a word about that incident till some 9 years later; while still a minor. Yeah, I paid the price – I was next in line.

    ( I happened to have a belief structure in line with my Hard Core Jehovah Witness family-”Never let a rotten saying proceed out of your mouth” Apostle Paul quote-I believe.)

    Paterno said. “And to be frank with you I don’t know that it would have done any good, because I never heard of, of, rape and a man.

    That quote is absolutely fascinating!

    Did McQueary share this knowledge with Joe Jan. 1, 2002? Is Joe Roman Catholic? He never heard anything about the Jan. 6 2002 front cover of the Boston Globe story,”Chuch allowed abuse by priest for years”? Time’s “Can the Catholic Church $ave itself?” April 1,2002 issue? etc… He never spoke to anyone about the “Clergy Abuse Scandal” in 2002?

    “I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,”

    Did you ever talk to your personal attorney in 2002?

  59. jopadontlie says: Jan 15, 2012 11:52 PM

    @deb

    I write and edit for a living as well and I owe much of my abilities to the great writers and editors I’ve worked with in the past.

    As for your bravado, I’ll go head-to-head with you any day of the week. You wouldn’t make it out of the starting blocks.

    We agree on one point: “the power structure at Penn State did nothing to stop Jerry Sandusky.”

    Joe reported exactly what he knew as required and felt restricted by Penn State procedures and regulations. Anyone who knows anything about Penn State football knows JoPa wasn’t the standard issue, egotistical, “king of the realm” that we’ve come to know in most college football head coaches. Spend some time researching that issue. There are dozens of documented events where JoPa “did the right thing”. Admittedly, he tells us now that he wishes he had done more in this case.

    JoPa’s upline reports are another story and they should be prosecuted unless they can prove they handled it correctly.

    As for the “Slinging BS” comment – I did call. I didn’t say I was ignored and I didn’t say “rape”. You created those statements and then attributed them to me. That’s real BS even though dickroy thought your post a clever admonition.

    When it comes right down to it, that’s the problem with pseudo intellectuals like you. Do you think your college degree or your work history grants you the right to defend someone who was called out on their grammatical and factual BS (that’s my only response to txtroutslayer) using half-truths and inaccurate representations?

    If the reality of a situation doesn’t work, just make things up.

    It is always easier to create the image of reality through authoritative discourse than it is to research and study and find the truth.

    I don’t have a college degree just a desire to learn.

    I am truly amazed that you actually know smart people who don’t have a college degree! Really? I’ll bet some of them are your best friends too, right? You know, if you change the “college degree” aspect of your statement to “people of color” you’d be a pure racist instead of just being a thinly veiled elitist.

    And don’t bother to offer any constructive solutions, just criticize those who might take a risk and try to generate a positive and lasting impact.

    You are entirely correct – I am fully entitled to worship a man that spent more than 60 years proving his honesty and integrity and I am also entitled to defend that man against these baseless attacks.

    Can you provide a single substantiable piece of evidence proving JoPa lied?

    I guarantee you can’t come up with anything that JoPa hasn’t already admitted.

    Really, Deb, try dealing with facts and accurate representations and always remember “It is better to remain silent…”

  60. janthonygomes says: Jan 16, 2012 3:12 AM

    Paterno followed policy, reported the incident upon hearing about it, and placed the responsibility of further action where it belonged – in the hands of the Athletic Director and the President. He exercised the requisite degree of discrection and fulfilled his duties unwaveringly.

    The AD and VP have a duty to investigate and report, everyone expected them to discharge that duty faithfully, and they clearly failed to do so. That dereliction was surprising for everyone, including Paterno.

    Paterno’s actions here are beyond reproach, and those that claim otherwise necessarily call their own motivations into question. Had he aided, abetted, or even refrained from reporting, I would chastise him unsparingly – but that is not the case.

    And let’s remember one important fact: Paterno was a second-hand witness.

    Regardless – I do wish Sally Jenkins had asked him if he followed up with Curley or Schultz after the initial report. I think that’s the most important question that I haven’t heard answered yet. For me personally, the answer to that question will go a long way in defining Joe Paterno’s legacy.

  61. tobeexact says: Jan 16, 2012 9:43 AM

    @frank booth

    My bad for not explaining the part about my daughter a little better . First im not naive when it comes to either of my kids having sex, actually quite the opposite.
    With kiods exploring sex at such early ages these days ,i took the approach early on to educate them about safe sex and using protection . I told them that I would prefer they didnt but that i also know that kids will be kids and they are ding to experiment regardless , you can only try your best as a parent to guide them . But ultimately it will be there choice and they will live and learn from there decisions good or bad. Im also very open with them and they are aloud to now have there boyfriend and girlfriend sleep over as long as the bedroom door is open,not that it really makes that much of a difference.
    What I was referring to in my first blog comment was , that he lives in an environment at his house where not only is the father physically abusive to his mother but one of his younger brothers is even worse then the dad and has gone as far as to threaten his own mother with physical harm.
    So when i made that statement it was meant to include any guy she decides to date , although if she was ever to be physically abused by any man and I mean being used as a punching bag or just a guy who is just an out right abuser of woman .
    So I opolgize for the vague statement.

  62. dkhhuey says: Jan 16, 2012 10:02 AM

    Kick it up the chain, wash hands, repeat for 10 years until it evaporates and innocent children continue to get molested and anally raped. No Joe, you, McQueary, and the entire staff of PSU admins involved are responsible for this mess and all consequences. The more you speak, the more obvious it becomes.

  63. tobeexact says: Jan 16, 2012 10:27 AM

    As far as sue paternos statement as to ,if someone did that to one of my kids there wouldnt be a trial because I would kill them. Well you can take the medias spin as to what she ment like most on this subject have , and that is to take it out of context and believe that she only cares about her own kids and nobody elses kids.
    Or you can read it as I did from a parents view and what she a as a parent would do herself if faced with the same situation ,not that she doesnt care if it happens to someone elses kid. The media always wants to read more into a generalized statement and twist it around to add drama to it and create controversy.
    I can go back threw all the blogs and quote alot of people who made the exact same statement as she did,so does that mean that all of you dont care if someone elses kid is being molested .
    That you would only act out if it was your kid instead of someone elses.
    I myself have made that statement as a parent many a time, and not just about what has happened at penn state ,but since ve had kids of my own.
    And dont take this the wrong way either but im 51 years old and when I was growing up you never heard of this stuff as a kid and I can honestly say that. You didn’t have to worry as a parent back then as much as you do now .
    The world has become a lot scarier since then,or we as kids were totally sheltered from it by are parents.
    I personally think sandusky is guilty and I hope that the court has enough evidence to put him away for life.
    He has managed to ruin alot of innocent childrens lives and single handley torn apart the reputation of a great university that has done so many good things and taken down some really good people with him.
    Were there some people within that system that covered up part of this , probably, was it a lack of knowledge or judgement , probably . But until the entire story comes out in court , nobody really knows that.
    What pisses me off the most is the people like the obnoxiousguy who continues to state that the entire university , all its students , faculty and workers along with everyone one in the state of pennsylvania are pervs and child molester protectors is so absurd that it makes one wonder just how bad the world has become and he in my mind is no better than the sanduskys of the world .

  64. Deb says: Jan 16, 2012 12:38 PM

    @jopadontlie …

    Yes, yes … we all owe a debt to our teachers. I’m not sure what that has to do with the current discussion. As I said, I’ll match my grammar skills against yours, but if it makes you happy, I’ll bow to you on pomposity. Ridiculing the construction, rather than the content, of someone’s blog post is a poor use of your talents.

    As for content, this is what you posted in a discussion on how Paterno and company responded to a child rape:

    Our goal should be to reduce the incredible number of molestations that occur each year and provide much needed help for those who suffer the horrible consequences. I would bet there are dozens of people on this post alone that could help us to, first, come up with a realistic (“just call the police” doesn’t work, I’ve tried it…)

    So … you now say you weren’t talking about child rape and you didn’t say the police ignored your complaint. Okay. My only mistake was taking your original post at face value.

    Nowhere in my post did I accuse Paterno of lying about anything. In fact, I said that by his own admission, he and the other officials at Penn State failed to make a genuine effort to deal with Sandusky. So you are the only one in this conversation being disingenuous and blatantly making up things that you’re attributing to me. I would suggest that you remember the admonition about remaining silent … but why waste my time?

  65. Deb says: Jan 16, 2012 12:41 PM

    @dickroy …

    Thank you! That admiration is mutual!!

  66. kyleortonsarm says: Jan 19, 2012 12:54 AM

    Once upon a noontime, dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
    Over many Joe Paterno volume of football lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, from the shower came a slapping,
    As of some one slap slap slapping at a 10 year old’s rear door.
    `’Tis some horseplay,” I muttered, “snapping towels by the shower door
    Only this, and nothing more.”

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