How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?
July 12th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

See what this quote reminds you of:

"This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one. It is not an academic scandal and does not in any way tarnish the hard-earned and well-deserved academic reputation of Penn State."

Sounds a little like the Catholic Church, right?

But in this case the voice belonged to the late, once-great Joe Paterno, who wrote that in a letter before he died.

Paterno achieved legendary status as the coach of the Penn State football team.

Yet he was busy like other key officials on campus turning a blind eye to a pedophile on his staff - who had been given carte blanche by Mr. Paterno and the administration at the university to prey on young boys.

A newly released, scathing investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh reveals that those key officials knew about Jerry Sandusky for 14 years and they did nothing.

Kids were raped. Kids' lives were ruined.

And these holier-than-thou football coaches and school administrators turned a blind eye rather than jeopardize one of the most successful college football programs ever.

The money and the prestige of the football program were more important to Joe Paterno and his bosses than the ruined lives of young children who were molested, sodomized, raped and otherwise abused by Jerry Sandusky - a high-ranking member of that football program.

Sandusky is going to rot in prison for the rest of his life, which is exactly where he belongs.

And had Joe Paterno lived, he should have gone to prison with him.

But to the end, Paterno lived in denial.

Here’s my question to you: How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Penn State scandal
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Gary H. Boyd

    180 degrees Jack. If Paterno coached football like he made judgements about Sandusky, Penn State wouldn't have won a single game.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  2. John from Alabama

    Jack: It tarnished Penn States repudiation when the late Joe Paterno was fired. Some believed the Sandusky scandal led to the death of Joe Paterno. Penn State will recover, but there ability to recruit new young people to play football and other sports will be hurt. Most of America believes Joe Paterno did the right thing by reporting it to his supervisors about sandusky, but they also believe when nothing happened that Joe should have gone direct to the President of Penn State University, and then to the police. But it is wise to remember that Coach Paterno was 79 years old when he was told about Sandusky.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  3. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    . I think Paterno was wrong because he and other people on the football team could have stopped this in 2001 that puts the responsibility and light directly on Penn State football. I live near Penn State and I am a big Penn State football fan. But if it was my son who got molested and I found out that people knew about it as far back as 2001 I would want answers and heads to roll. If someone back in 2001 would had courage enough to report this to the police back in 2001 just imagine all the other children they might have saved from being molested by a monster.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Ralph in Corpus Christi, Texas

    Joe was and now is, "dead" wrong. Tarnished is an understatement. A famous quote from Paterno goes like this: "Publicity is like poison, it doesn't hurt unless you swallow it". Well, Penn State is about to swallow a boatload of it.
    Ralph, Corpus Christi, Texas

    July 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  5. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    Rush Limpbough wrong.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  6. Martha Brooks

    To quote the late Jimmy Durante: "Woids fail me."

    Martha, Rew, PA

    July 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Richard Texas

    Denial is what people do when they do not want to accept responsibility for their actions. We all know it was not the school that committed the crimes but the school did nothing to protects those kids from a predator that was on their payroll either. The school had a responsibility to investigate and bring those accusations to light and they failed miserably at it for years. What makes the school look bad is the cover-up.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  8. chris scott

    Paterno is clearly as delusional as Sandusky. There is no other way to explain the rather adamant behavior and explanations of both. They are always right, if you disagree, the it is you that has a problem.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  9. jimmy in greenville nc

    I think Joe was dreaming. Sorta like telling an ugly child that they are pretty. And the Jerry Sandusky thing is ugly for Penn State!

    July 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  10. jen seattle wa

    As wrong as the debauchery is.He was the epitomy of what is wrong with society..Creating Dementia for college students so he could be praised for another irrelevent win.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?
    what do you mean "how" wrong ? What type of question is "How" wrong ? Is there a degree in "how wrong" a bank robber IS ? Or "how wrong" a pedofile is ? LOL
    Now to your answer : He was Very Wrong -period. It will tarnish Penn State forever – If you don't think it will be in the history books, or If someone wants to "look up" the History of what happened 50 years from now on the internet, I've got a lake in the arizona desert that I will sell you.
    I didn't spend time fishing on both sides of the allegheny / the monongahalia / the ohio / & the potomac for nothing, y'know. lol
    good question, Mr. Cafferty

    July 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  12. Doug Ericson

    Whatever he knew, its hastened his death, when the story became public. So Paterno was wrong and he knew it. Penn State University will have to bear the stigma, and the lawyers are probably lined up across the Country with civil suits. At its core the situation was allowed to begin and continue, because of the power of validation, and peoples unwavering desire to be validated. Sandusky worked the situation to satisfy his twisted desires. Paterno didn't want the stench to affect him or the school when the story unfolded but it was too late. Sandusky is only one of thousands who continue to work the power of validation to satisfy their personal desires. But as long as people think it is allright for their kids coaches to put their arm around their kids, and often hug their kids in public, this isn't going to change. If the coaches can do that to your face, imagine what they do when you can't see them. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  13. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,Any adult in this great country no matter how high up or low down no matter how much fame or money.............
    Any adult and ole JOE P of FAME.....................that can't save a child,can't stand up for a child,can't step up are
    lower than snake spit Jack.......................JOE WAS SO WRONG ITS OFF THE CHART PATHETIC""""""
    A bunch of PATHETIC grown men and leaders of our kids.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. Pete in Georgia

    The world can "Micro Analyze" this Penn State mess thru eternity.
    For what purpose ??
    We all know what happened. We get it. It's time to get down from the pedestals that make everyone feel "Pure and Perfect" and move on.
    Beating a dead horse....................or a dead coach....................isn't gonna change what happened or teach the world anything new.
    It's time to move on...........................and search for the next human sinner to demonize and destroy.
    Enough to make you puke !!

    July 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  15. Ed from California

    Truthfully Jack.....I don't think it did. Child abuse is running rampant in this country.Elder abuse is out-of-control, too. It's our dirty little secret...and it needs to be addressed in a big way.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  16. jk in MN

    Very wrong, plain and simple – but remember, Joe was raised in a period when it was the politically correct thing to look the other way and not talk about it. It amazes me that the Catholic Church doesn't appear to have been tarnished as much for the same behavior on a grander scale.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  17. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    One of the four tenants of self-discipline is, telling the absolute truth at all costs, the others are; bracketing ego needs for the sake of spirituality, delaying gratification, and being dedicated to reality.

    Not only was the leadership and the culture of leadership at Penn State extremely undisciplined, much like our political leaders today who give proof that the harm will be not only to themselves but even more so to those who they pretended to lead.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Gary in San Jose, California

    Dead wrong!

    July 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    This is a very unfortunate situation and yes he was wrong to make that statement but the important thing is to move forward and realize that so long as Americans in general make gods of these people we'll continue to look the other way.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm |

    tampa, fl if you read the amount of death threats on facebook on this, i'd say he was dead wrong.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  21. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    How wrong does wrong get.? Whatever that is, Paterno's there.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  22. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Beating up on the deceased is not very classy, but I'd have to say that it appears he was at the very least complicit in the cover-up, and therefor the condoning, of Sandusky's assaults. Penn State will have an extremely hard time avoiding the stench of this scandal for decades to come.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  23. Dave, Orlando, FL

    I’m even less interested in sports than I am in the governmental corruption we call politics, so I don’t care. But purely on a logical basis, he was wrong. The scandal not only involved abused children, but most of the tarnish came from the tacit approval of those who knew what was going on but said nothing and did nothing to stop it. Had it been stopped immediately and those involved punished, the damage would have been much, much less.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  24. John E

    As wrong as he was by helping to cover it up essentially saying the football program, the university and the reputations of both were more important than the children Sandusky has since been found guilty of molesting.

    John E
    San Jose, CA

    July 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  25. calaurore9

    Tragic. Wrong. For those kids. Tom Wolfe could not have written a more scathing indictment of how sports programs corrupt college cultures and reputations. Money trumps decency and education.

    Carol in Northampton, ma

    July 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  26. Sandstone

    "Well and how are you today, Jack? He was very,very,very, very wrong, but he knew that when he said it. What did he have to lose, knowing he was on the way out? "

    July 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  27. Sandstone

    "You won't/ don't, want to believe me, but I actually thought he was murdered quietly to help kill the scandal!"

    July 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  28. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: He was very wrong. It is curious - curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare--Cowards have no morals--and Paterno's exit from reality was the quick and easy way out.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  29. Indie Pete in Florida

    Should be in jail. Perfect example of how America's uber-obsession with sports has overwhelmed our common sense and common decency. College football is really college FOOLball.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  30. Paul Austin Texas

    Well Penn State is now tarnished because of Sandusky. If Sandusky would of stepped up and admitted what he did then Penn State would not of been tarnished. Joe ended up being very wrong and my have not known how dangerous Sandusky was. I feel sorry for all of Penn State but all the people that tried hide Sandusky's actions for so long should all have to face the music.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  31. Annie, Atlanta

    Obviously as wrong as one man can be. It's sad to think that the reputation of a school comes before all the young children that were molested. What the hell is happening to us?

    July 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  32. Eric

    Very wrong. While I am again saddened, but not surprised at the lack of conscience. It is amazing that otherwise extremely intelligent people can convince themselves that they will be able to keep this kind of thing secret forever and forever is what it would have to be. They might as well throw a fish under their bed and hope it will not eventually stink up the place.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  33. Jason (Lebanon, PA)

    Yes he was wrong. Hopefully it will get better soon and the students, staff and fans can move forward and begin to heal the Penn State Name. The house of jo was knocked over but not burned to the ground. We are loyal fans and alumni and we are strong. My prayers are with the victims and their families.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  34. Rob In Innisfail, Alberta

    Considering that the victims of pedophiles (and rapists) are often forever scarred emotionally... why is there not a clarion call for castration of these scumbags... Watch the incidence rate plummet if this becomes reality. Should the punishment not fit the crime!?!

    July 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  35. BILL, WI

    The report summed that up very well. He thought more of the school and the football program (meaning himself), than he did those little kids. Had he not been so self serving he would of followed up on the reluctance of the administration's inaction. This would not of become an outrage that it did had he andothers involved shown a little backbone and integrity, and actually had the resolve to fight for whats right.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  36. Joe Fattal

    Joe Paterno left us when we needed him most. What does he know about Sandusky scandal will remain somehow a mystery. Is the Catholic Church is tarnish by their pedophiles?. No, its business as usual. So I can't see Penn State tarnish by the scandal.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  37. Leta

    More than 100% wrong for joe paterno to issue a statement that sandusky didn't ruin Penn State.reputation.
    Sad that he was more concerned about his career and Penn State, totally ignoring the problem of the
    young boys after he knew all the facts.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  38. Terry in Virginia

    How wrong? How high is up? Whether he ignored the truth or tried to cover it up, reality is Mr. Paterno is long gone. The victims have to live with the horror that was done to them. Penn State doesn't get a pass. Officials knew and they put pride before integrity; they put their self interests above the victims' interests. There's not enough polish to remove the stain from Penn State, not today, not tomorrow, not a thousand tomorrows from now. But maybe the next time a school decides to put its reputation above a student's safety and welfare, maybe, just maybe, someone will stand up and say, "Remember what happened at Penn State?"

    July 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  39. Jake in Omaha

    How wrong was the late Joe Paterno when he said the Sandusky scandal didn't tarnish Penn State?

    Sadly he is right to Penn State. Football is the schools religion.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  40. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    UCLA Bruins football coach Henry Russell ("Red") Sanders, said, and later repeated by Packer coach Vincent Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. I guess that put the shine on Paterno's thinking.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  41. Curtis in Philadelphia

    If Paterno had a soul this travesty must have accelerated his deteriorating health and hastened his death; how wrong was Paterno? Dead wrong.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  42. cy gardner

    He was just part of 21st century American culture. Sycophants get promoted and people who want to tell the truth usually get punished. Institutions value blind, frightened fealty to the bureacracy. The football program is where the big money is on campus and no one should be allowed to shake up the money tree. Rationalization is THE most important job skill you can bring to an institution whether it is the government, the media, Penn State or the cubicle you are penned in. This is the America that corporate culture has wrought. Don't act so surprised. cy from arlington, va

    July 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  43. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    Paterno was in total denial until the day he died. Even Sandusky didn't think he was doing anything wrong. I don't know who had what on whom, but the rest of the good ole boys in the upper chambers of the university are no better. The whole bunch of them are totally culpable and should be dealt with swiftly. Sad to say it's a blot on whe whole university.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  44. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    Of course he was wrong. At least there is a valid transition for one creep...from Penn State to the State Pen, gotta love that !

    July 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  45. Gigi Oregon

    These events will put fear into the heart of every parent from now to eternity. As they send their kids (boys and girls) off to college. The all-mighty dollar is alive and well under our country and Capitalization.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  46. Lisa Illinois

    He was very wrong. The statue of him outside the stadium should be taken down, he sould not be honored in any fashion by Penn State.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  47. Bob in Ohio

    Turning the other cheek to horrific conduct should now and forever be known as "Doing a Paterno", so that his name lives forever in shame.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  48. Dave - Phx

    After seeing the evidence presented today by Louis Freeh, it sounds like the four officials named (including Paterno), are just as guilty as Sandusky was of raping these kids. They enabled him and help hide his crime. Paterno has passed, but those still living should be charged and lose everything they have.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  49. Renee, Illinois

    He better hope that reincarnation and karma aren't real because if they are he's gearing up right now for a nasty next life.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  50. Thom Richer

    Criminally, stupidly, selfishly and arrogantly wrong! These are weak, weak people and lack any moral or social conscience. That is a fact proven by their actions and is not debatable. Doesn't matter how prestigious the position, institution or mindset. They all are as guilty as Sandusky or any other such sexual criminal. Pretending their social place in society, be it sports, religion or political, makes them better than the street criminal, does not allow for excusing them or defense of their actions as many in society would have us believe. Great coach, great politician, great clergyman makes their greatness a hypocrisy when they put themselves above others. Especially children. Hopefully our courts will not let phony prestige cloud their judgement.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  51. cy gardner

    Wall Street bankers don't go to prison. Catholic priests and bishops don't go to prison. Only poor people pay for their mistakes and everyone in any position of power and influence knows it. Paterno died without ever admittiing to himself that he had done anything wrong. Get famous, get rich and you can eat children for breakfast and probably get a reality show all your own on basic cable and get a speaker's slot right behind Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. cy from arlington, va

    July 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  52. Don in Washington, DC

    "Like everyone else on campus?" That's insulting. No one except the people at the very top of the institution knew about the Sandusky accusations. There are thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of alumni that had absolutely, positively no connection to this scandal, and it has absolutely devasted the entire Penn State community. Stop kicking us when we're down...we weren't even involved.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  53. Larry in Houston

    "A little " like the Catholic Church ?? LOL How about a LOT like the catholic church ? I'm catholic – born catholic – raised catholic – went to the first to the 4th grade in a catholic school. Til I had enough sense to tell my parents that I didn't want to "continue" to keep attending a catholic school. They were tickled to death, because it was practically killing them financially. ( but they would have continued to send all of us kids, if we wanted to) (and I come from a large family) Now, in my adult life – I go whenever I have time, or feel like it – I've tried every other christian church there is – (epicopalian / Lutheran / baptist / & the whole 9 yards) and everytime I attend one, I still go back to the "good 'ol stand by"

    July 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  54. Greg in Los Angeles

    The stench coming from Joepa's grave is not only that of his rotting carcass, but also of his legacy.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  55. John J. Grimes Watertown, Ma.

    Jack, it's happened with priests, police officers, doctors and yes, academics. The hierarchy of the institution deems it more important to protect the transgressor than those who are the totally innocent, period!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  56. Timmy from Tulsa

    The only real individual who tarnished Penn State are those that reported this behavior. What ever happened to loyalty, brotherhood, protecting each other, and looking the other way. I assure you, I wouldn't be the narc to ghost you out if you were having a little fun in the shower. Besides, c'mon, getting touched by your coach is part of growing up.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  57. Mark

    Is that the best question you got Jack? Jess, you're really earning your wages today. Everyone knows he was wrong, you know he was wrong and already said as much. Maybe use two brain cells next hour.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  58. Chuck S. from Arkansas

    Paterno must have been in an imaginary world. This is one of the most tarnishing scandals in recent history, whether it's political, societal, what have you. Countless children's lives have been drastically changed and for Paterno to say that it didn't impact Penn State, is grossly ignorant. Paterno and Sandusky will receive their punishments, in this life or the next.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  59. Nick D. Neighbour

    Let's just say that maybe a few CASTRATIONS are called for?!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  60. PiedType

    He was tragically, tragically wrong – the tragedy being the kids who were abused. I don't care if the Penn State ceases to exist. There are plenty of good schools in this country. We don't need institutions like Penn State.

    Susan R

    July 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  61. michelle - san francisco

    of course he was wrong. but at that level in the corporate world, they are more interested in covering their asses than doing the right thin – especially when it is for such unimportant creatures as poor children. Shame on them and shame on society who still support the university...

    July 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  62. Al- Phila

    Of course it tarnishes the schools reputation. They were more afraid of bad publicity than what were concerned for the safety of children. They wanted to sweep it under rug bit it didn't work! Although I will not throw away the life work of Joe Paterno and his influence on the lives many young men. He should have been as intentional in exposing Sandusky as he was with winning football games.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  63. Mark, Oklahoma City, OK

    Jack, we will never know, because none of us was able to watch when he reached the pearly gates of heaven and had to answer for what he witnessed. I'm betting he didn't get past the front gate.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  64. Dale N.M.

    Every time I hear something about Penn State I think about this pedophile scandal now

    July 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  65. Maria - PA

    Joe and all of the individuals who were involved in the cover up are wrong. No denying it. No excuses. Their behavior is appalling and disgusting. But, I am an alumni and I take offense to your statement that the entire campus knew what was going on. That is false. Obviously, given this report and the legal information, this was a secret that was kept shut at the highest levels. Students, athletes, professors, campus employees – none of us knew this was happening. You can call Paterno, Spanier, Shultz, Curley etc. etc. all the names you want but do not lump the 90% of true Penn Staters in with this group. They do not speak or act for us.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  66. Adam

    Everything that happened at penn state is disgusting and wrong. Your comments were also wrong about the letter that paterno wrote. I read this letter and he did not say that the school would not be tarnished. He was merely saying that what happened did not include the student athletes or the faculty and students who are there to better the world by gaining the great knowledge that penn state has provided to hundreds of thousands of alumni and current students. Do not put words into the mouth of a man who made one mistake in 60 years of charitable contributions, acts of kindness, and service to his community including donating and volunteering with the special Olympics.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  67. Matt, Lancaster, NY

    Joe Paterno would have been right, if he and anyone else that had knowledge of Sandusky's behavior took steps to stop it. They didn't though, and they have no one to blame themselves for how big it became because they could have nipped it in the bud. Now I seriously doubt Penn State will ever be able to separate itself from this scandal.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  68. Patricia Stanford

    Jack, I'm not surprised that Joe Paterno was in denial or just decided to keep it quiet. My mother was born in 1909 and she would never have told anyone if she were molested. Irish and Catholic – no way. Maybe Italian and Catholic equals the same. They just didn't evolve.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  69. Ralph Novak, Lincoln, CA

    Only way Penn State can make a start at amends is to establish a center for the investigation of and prevention of child predation by adults involved in youth athletics.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  70. Peggy

    Peggy from Nevada.
    It is ashame that there are so many victims in this case. Not just the ones that came forth but the ones that were afraid to. Joe Paterno will never be able to Rest in Peace. His name will be tarnished for many years to come and Penn State University will never be looked at the same again. However, I use to live in Pennsylvania and the people of that state are loyal to the University and deep down inside most of them, they will always remain loyal to Joe Paterno and the legacy he left behind.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  71. Ghislaine Kruse

    You ask how wrong he was? In a case like this the amount of wrong can not be measured, how do you measure the amount of pain these kids have to deal with for the rest of their lives?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  72. jonline

    Saying Paterno should not be judged for the worst of his decisions is like saying we should overlook Hitler's killing of the Jews. This issue is the content of his character. He had no character. If you cannot tell that child rape in your locker room, by your assistant is wrong, then all of your other positives are wrong too. Penn State should have its entire board resign. Penn State should remove many of the accolades Paterno received. Penn State should suspend its football program.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  73. Cindy

    Since Paterno is dead, we will never know for sure what he knew-and while he made two big mistakes (trusting Sandusky, his friend, and assuming the administrators at PSU knew best), were they "criminal'? Would you believe your coworker and friend of many decades was a molestor? And do you take a problem to your bosses and expect them to solve it? Think hard about your answer before you judge... Moral absolutism is always easy when you apply it to others. Cindy in Virginia

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  74. sayeed

    i dont think the issue really is joe patterno . Its the culture of worshiping sports icon and giving them a free pass to do whatever they want and get away with it. American love their gladiators

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  75. Kay in Chattanooga, TN

    Joe Paterno was part of the "Old Boy System" that is still very much a part of higher education. He protected an Old Boy at the expense of all the young boys who were victimized over so many years. Old Boys should be ashamed of themselves, and I am ashamed of Joe Paterno for sacrificing the silent lambs.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  76. Kelley

    Paterno not only does not realize how much this scandal has "tarnished" Penn state, but it has also "tarnished" his reputation as a coach and human being. Very few people outside of the Penn State culture will remember this man for football. Now he will be remembered for putting children in harms way for the "love" of football.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  77. Elani Hantel

    Joe Paterno was as wrong as wrong can be. Yuk! to Joe Paterno, Yuk! to Sandusky, and Yuk! to Penn State's Football Program and any other college program that thinks they are holier than thou!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  78. Pat Sides

    I live in Healdsburg, California – this whole thing is disgusting, but nothing new – the good old catholic church AND other religious groups AND coaches, teaches, uncles, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. are sick and should ALL be locked up in a very special prison- perhaps run by their victims. Football and all other sports are disgusting along w/ the stupid parents that support and foster all of this – why not get their kid to read a book instead

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  79. Irvin

    When will we understand that by ignoring criminal behavior, we are guilty of criminal behavior ourselves? When juries find these men guilty, they should go to jail. and Paterno's statue on campus should be melted down.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  80. clifjay

    Joe Paterno was blinded by his own ambition and friendship with Sandusky and love of PSU. This was probably the most cowardly act by a would be group of men who really didn't see beyond their own ambitions and careers. The children victims suffered because of this cowardly act. I hope that criminal charges are brought against all who were involved, post haste. Prosecution to the fullest extent of the law because this conspiracy involves the secret keepers just as sure as if they were in the shower with Sandusky and his victims.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  81. Andrew Nemeth

    He could not have been further from the facts. This entire scandal proves Penn State protected Sandusky for selfish, greedy reasons in order to save face. It will be decades to regain a decent reputation as a school, if ever.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  82. Laith F. Gulli

    HI Jack:

    He was wrong as the sins he committed, as well as everyone else who waited until Paterno was dying. Their should be a Federal investigation of even State officilas who I suspect waited until Paterno was on his death bed to expose this.
    Laith F. Gulli

    July 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  83. David - Augusta, Georgia

    Though he is gone, I feel he still should of kept his job as head coach and they should of fired all the others who tried to hide the actions of Jerry Sandusky. He gave his life to that college and they end up firing him after so many memorable decades. It is just such a sad story.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  84. Jeff in Santa Monica

    I wish Joe Paterno was still alive roday so he could die in jail alongside his child rapist buddy. Dying slowly a broken man filled with shame and misery, tortured daily by prison thugs. Even then, he would not experience a percentage of the pain his inaction caused dozens of children. Shame on you JoePa!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  85. matt

    I am in the midst of "trying" to recover from the same kind of abuse by a powerful man, I can't express how much what was done to me, and what was done to those CHILDREN at penn state – has altered my life forever. What patterno said AGAIN, just illustrates a PATTERN OF EXCUSES for something so tragic and shows a lack of empathy all around. Peoples lives were ruined. shut down the team until people can sit and feel the awful feelings that we the victims struggle with on a daily basis.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  86. RickFromDetroit

    How wrong was Joe Paterno when he said it wouldn't tarnish the reputation of Penn State?
    How wrong was the Vatican when they transferred Priests for sex abuse.
    How wrong were Elected Officials who were involved in sex with minors.
    How wrong were the Secret Service when thy had sex with a prostitute in South America.
    Solution: Legalize prostitution, then when we get that uncontrollable urge for companionship, we simply purchase it!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  87. Ruth

    From Tucson AZ. Penn State and all involved are suitably tarnished now & in the future. NO hall of fame for Paterno either. Like everyone else I am very upset this was allowed to happen at all, much less for years. Paterno was not a great man after all.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  88. Larry

    Sorry but Joe Pa was an old senile coach who told Penn st how to run its program. They feared him. He knew all that was going on. Shame on PSU, the state of PA and all those who knew but were afraid of losing their job, or being a whistleblower

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  89. Jane M

    Equally offensive was the Board of Trustees' press conference today, where trustees said they accept full accountability. What about contrition? Saying "we're accountable" is not the same as saying, "we're heartbroken with sorrow for our failure to protect children." I'm a former PSU faculty member who heard about the Sandusky rumors for years and I know of the culture of silence that prevailed for years.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  90. oldschoolandrew

    Agree. If he was alive Paterno would deserve to spend time in jail.

    Penn State is beyond tarnished and will be for a very long time.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  91. Jim Charlotte NC

    Blame Joe all you want but in my book the one who should shoulder the blame for this is the man who saw it happen and instead of going to the police went to the people who could cover it up.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  92. Jay G

    Couldn't agree more with you Cafferty. I only wish there was a hell so that Joe Paterno (nobody should refer to him as coach ever again) could enjoy time there reliving being a victim of sexual assault.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  93. Stephen Crocker

    Penn State should be permanantly banished from the big 10 and deservingly so.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  94. Chad

    Jack – I think you might have just written the opening argument for the victims upcoming lawsuits.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  95. Sharon, Delaware

    There are no words foul enough to describe the horror and disgust we feel regarding the cover-up and protection of that monster, Sandusky, by the top brass at Penn State. PURE EVIL!!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  96. Pat Sides

    forgot to add in my prev. comment that ALL sports seem to be corrupt in some way or other – there is Armstrong, etc. and the bike mess, drugs used in all? or most sports including doping those poor horses in every event they are forced to participate in for the enjoyment of whom? I don't understand what is so wrong w/ humanity but I do think it is too far out of hand and unable to be corrected people need to be spayed and neutered – sooner the better

    July 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  97. Bob Williams

    As the millions of dollars are paid to victims by PSU through lawsuits everyone will see the enormity of Joe Pa's mistake.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  98. Amanda Lehigh Valley, Pa

    I'd like to know what the thought process was with good vs. bad PR. If they would have stopped Sandusky, they would have saved several kids's lives and been known as heroes, and any PR professional will tell you that. Being honest and telling the truth is the only way to go when it comes to situations like this. Clearly Paterno et. al, missed out on their ethics and PR crisis classes in college. They did not realize that hiding this was a horrible, irresponsible, dangerous move, and now the Penn State students, alumni, faculty and staff who had nothing to do with this situation are paying for it. Penn State will need to go through a new PR campaign in order to build their reputation back, all because they were afraid of bad publicity. It's unfortunate that all it took was one monster and four "leaders" to tarnish it. Paterno should have thought what the publicity could be like in the future, rather than in the present.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  99. Mark Harnett

    There is no doubt the reputatoin is tarnished... Whether this is a short-term tarnishing or a longer-term effect won't be known for some time, but it will be interesting to monitor trends in the number of new applications to the univerisity over the next few years. We all know that universities with lower application numbers are forced to select less-qualified candidates. The relegation of Penn State to the mediocrity that it's alumni so decry could very well be the lasting legacy of this coverup.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  100. Joe D. from PA

    He was very wrong in the 2002 incident. However, I'm not quite sure of the 1998 incident. The reason is, if a magistrate deemed Sandusky innocent, how can a football coach deem him otherwise? The one thing is the most disturbing, is Joe had the ability to tell Jerry to keep the kids out of this dammed building. But, he didn't and now the wrath will be a tarnished legacy. It's sad, because I still consider him a great man. But, his and the others indecisions proved so very costly.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  101. Loretta in Carmel, IN

    Joe Paterno was very wrong. Not only is Penn State's football reputation tarnished by Jerry Sandusky's child molestation acts, the entire Penn State Program continues to be tarnished by those alumni, faculty, and students who continue to praise Joe Paterno's name. I wonder how those Paterno supporters would feel if it was their sons or young brothers and sisters who were abused?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  102. Aileen Burke

    I admit I understand the anger and embarassment of Penn State students and alum, I will say this. If my teenage son decided to go to Penn State, I would be O.K. with it. However, I would make it very clear that if he attended a single football game or supported that program in any way, we would have a problem. It is a shame .

    July 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  103. Marc Rodgers

    It is so interesting to me that you want to know how wrong Joe was. You news guys always do the same thing. Vilifying Penn State football and Joe Paterno should not be your focus. The President of Penn State, the athletic Director, the head of Penn State police and the Board of Trustees are all to blame but since you are unfamiliar with Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz and the Board of Trustees you blame the football coach. Give me a break. Anyone who know Joe Paterno know he is incapable of the acts you attribute to him. Anyone who knows Spanier, knows he is a typical American leader in the same vein as Richard Nixon. Cover up and save your ***.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  104. ron

    most kids think about playing football for a big school . and now we really see how great going to college is NOT if this how we( USA )run these schools .then i am very happy i never did. i fell sorry for those kids. i really never hear anyone PENN STATE say that they are sorry or take the BLAME. sad sad day .

    July 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  105. Andrea Phoenix AZ

    Penn State's reputation should be tarnished for as long as it takes for the campus population to accept and put into action that children's lives far surpass the importance or "glamour" of an athletic program.
    People of Penn State need to start shunning the superfluous " benefits" they enjoyed based on their affiliation. It could start with Wolf Blitzer returning to Penn State his "Honorary Degree". How about it Wolf?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  106. AB

    The late Joe Paterno was totally wrong in his view that the Sandusky sex scandal involving young boys would not tarnish the reputation of Penn State University and its football program. The report of former FBI Director Louis Freeh confirms the fact that is now obvious to everyone–Joe Paterno and his bosses and university officials intentionally knew about and covered up the Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of several boys over a twenty year peiriod. They were more concerned about football than they were about protecting young people from sexual predators like Sandusky.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  107. Bruce in Chicago

    Joe Paterno KNEW exactly what was going on with Sandusky; he reported it. He KNEW what was taking place with innocent young boys was immoral, unethical and illegal. When the situation was not escalated to the next level, Paterno had a responsibility himself to escalate it, but he CHOSE not to. This marks him as guilty as Sandusky and I'm sure he took that guilt to his grave. Do you think Paterno let HIS son or grandson spend the night at the Sandusky home? If Sandusky sodomized Paterno's son or grandson, do you think he would have let it slide? It was all for the game. If, in fact, there is a heaven, then there is a hell; where do you think Paterno is sitting?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  108. Tracy S

    Tracy from Hanover Twp PA
    Sadly, not that wrong. Because there are so many people obsessed with JoePa and PennState football, they will continue to support and defend JoePa and the program. Football has become like a cult in this country, players and coaches can cheat, be involved in rape, dog abuse, child abuse, etc. and fans turn a blind eye. It is disgusting! I suspected from the day the story broke that Joepa was involved in the coverup, and that makes him as guilty as the others and Sandusky. Penn State needs to remove all pics and statues of JoePA from their campus out of respect for all of the victims.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  109. Gayle in Eau Claire

    Jack, if all these people at the top thought everything was ok, and there's nothing wrong with showering with the kids, and no one was suspicious about the goings-on, doesn't it make you wonder what THEY were doing in their off time?

    July 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  110. Roy In PA

    Paterno is a disgrace. I just wish the delusional students, athletes, coaches, and alumni that still blindly support this sports program and Paterno would lay off the 'kool-aid'.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  111. Reid S.

    Who cares about Penn State's reputation! Those officials (including Paterno if he were still living) and Sandusky's wife should all be arrested and tried as accessories to the crimes that were committed against those kids.They should all spend the rest of their lives in prison with Sandusky.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  112. Doug-Dallas

    Probably as wrong as he was not to stop it 11 years ago!!

    July 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  113. Mr. D

    It is obvious that Joe spent his time in the locker room diagramming plays, while Sandusky was plotting his moves in the shower. I wonder if they both used a blackboard. The Vatican in Pennsylvania- didn't know we had one in the states. If this whole thing isn't a reflection of our "sick society", I don't know what is. I'm cancelling my season football tickets and getting tickets to worthwhile events- like academics.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  114. Name*Patrick

    Joe pa is the biggest liar and enabler of child rape. Wrong! Those myopic student supporters should be sterilized! Pat in CA

    July 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  115. Ed

    When you read some of the inane comments by people calling for shutting down the university, stopping donations(for academic programs) or the death penallty for the footballl program, you have to wonder what theyre thinking. Punish kids who were maybe 8 or 10 when this happened? All the people involved in this are gone. But where does the blame lie? Most certainly with the bad actors but how about the fans? The ones who aren't happy with 7-4 or 9-3: you got to go 12-0, grind your oppenets into the ground 70-0 and play for the national championship every year. How about the sports media who creates the climate that supports these clowns. The sports writers create cheap sensation to get more readers, win more awards and get higher salaries. Don't see to many people celebrating Penn State having an 85% graduation rate but a lot complain because they lost a game. Compare the graduation rate to say Florida's. When you read the actual report, Paterno is only mentioned specifically twice when Curly or Schultz says they talked to him. But nothing is said about what was said. The bad actors in this appear to be Spanier, Schultz and Curley who didn't man up and do their jobs.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  116. sonny chapman, Villie Platte,La.

    Maybe Vince Lombardi was wrong & Winning ISN'T Everything.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  117. SeaDub

    Joe Paterno is the scum of the earth as is anyone else who had any inclination of what Sandusky was doing and anyone who defends these people.

    Just yesterday I met a PSU almunus who actually said, "come on people, it was only 4 kids".

    July 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  118. Eli from Iowa

    The amount of wrongness shown by Joe Paterno in dealing with Sandusky is of a level that can't be explained using mere words. A visual of shaking your head and rolling your eyes must be combined with the statement "Complete and total failure of supposedly responsible adults."

    I don't know how else to say it without a slew of cussing and rude gestures.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  119. Ben Dover

    What's wrong is being a "company man" who rationalizes and defers to "authority" something that was clearly and obviously wrong, not to mention illegal. There's no way to rationalize his not calling the police, that was bad enough.

    Had Paterno not talked to Spanier and/or Schulz about keeping the shower incident described by McQueary "in the family", Paterno could have salvaged some of his honor and legacy. As it is, by going along and cooperating with the cover-up, Joe becomes fully morally culpable.

    Penn State will try to roll over on its employees to preserve itself. Everyone needs to make up their own minds based on the evidence. The evidence I know tells me that Paterno deserves shame and his memory should be tarnished. This was an epic failure of personal responsibility as well as institutional control.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  120. Ben in LA


    If the question is "reputation", someone should ask JoePa this... Does this scandal make alumni less likely to publicly brag about their university? Does it make them less likely to feature it on their resume? Does it make them less proud of the institution where they went to school?

    The answer is yes, yes, and yes...which makes JoePa wrong, wrong, wrong.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  121. TR

    BRAVO! You said it just like it needed to be said. Penn State will be tarnished, just like the Catholic Church. Anytime Penn State is mentioned, I , like everyone else, will immediatley associatie it with the Sundusky Scandal. Those involved in the cover up should be crimanally charged as accomplices on any abuse that occured after the reports, since they stood by while they knew that it occured.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  122. Rick in Clayton, NC

    Totally wrong. It's sad when money is more important than children's lives. In this case, a lot of people aided, abetted, and generally excused horrible crimes. Mere words can't convey my shame and outrage.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm |