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Paterno fires back in letter

Published: Thu, July 12, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

penn state



The 7-month-old missive defends his program’s integrity

Associated Press


Joe Paterno defended his football program’s integrity in a 7-month-old letter released Wednesday, a day ahead of a report that could forever mar his legacy.

In the letter, written shortly before his death and confirmed as legitimate by his family, Paterno rejected the notion that Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of boys amounted to a “football scandal” or in any way tarnished the accomplishments of his players or Penn State’s reputation as a whole.

The results of Penn State’s internal investigation into the Sandusky scandal are set to be released today in a report that should answer many of the troubling questions swirling around one of the worst scandals in sports history.

A team led by former federal judge and FBI ex-director Louis Freeh interviewed hundreds of people to learn how the university responded to warning signs that its once-revered former assistant football coach — a man who helped Paterno win two national titles for a university that touted “success with honor” — was a serial child molester.

Sandusky was convicted on 45 criminal counts last month at a trial that included gut-wrenching testimony from eight young men who said he abused them as boys. By contrast, the Freeh report, to be released online at 9 a.m. today, will focus on Penn State and what it did — or didn’t do — to protect children.

Eight months after Sandusky’s arrest, it remains unclear how top university officials handled reports dating at least 14 years that Sandusky was behaving inappropriately with boys he met through his charity, bringing them on campus and forcing them into sex acts.

Among those who will be scouring the Freeh report are school officials trying to repair Penn State’s shattered reputation and ex-players and alumni who remain outraged over Paterno’s ouster in the wake of Sandusky’s arrest. The Hall of Fame coach died from lung cancer in January, two months after school trustees fired him for what they called a failure of leadership.

Paterno himself offered a passionate defense of the university and its football program in the letter that surfaced for the first time Wednesday.

The Paterno family said the letter was given in draft form to a few former players around December. One of the ex-players circulated it to other former players on Wednesday, and it was posted on the website FightonState.com, which covers the team.

“Over and over again, I have heard Penn State officials decrying the influence of football and have heard such ignorant comments like Penn State will no longer be a ‘football factory’ and we are going to ‘start’ focusing on integrity in athletics,” Paterno wrote. “These statements are simply unsupported by the five decades of evidence to the contrary — and succeed only in unfairly besmirching both a great university and the players and alumni of the football program who have given of themselves to help make it great.”

Paterno also wrote, “This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one.”

Among those receiving Paterno’s 712-word missive Wednesday was former linebacker Brandon Short, now an investment banker in Dubai. He told The Associated Press that he will be looking to the Freeh report to find “some clarity, hoping that it is a fair assessment of what happened, and we would love to see answers.”


1ysupenguins_com(108 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

yes ...everyone with a brain. This is nothing but a "mediafest" ...as was the Tressel incident. The more people, like yourself, feed off of it ...the more power you give these morons, in our media, a supposed reason to keep doing what they do. Look for the personal similarities between Tressel and Paterno. When you see that, you will see why they were attacked. Then you will see the real crime.

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2YtownSports(306 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

"Football scandal" or not, it is something that will unavoidably darken Paterno's reputation as well as that of the university as a whole. Both are justified because, the cover-up was as heinous as the crime.

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3hubresident(12 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't think that you can make a statement like Paterno was involved in the scandal unless you were there and you lived it. The man did more for that community and College than anyone will ever be able to live up to or beat. If the cover up was anywhere it will be with the President of the College! Paterno took players into his home and taught them what is was to be a man. Turned their lives around and taught them to be responsible adults through a football program that was GREAT! Yes, I feel sorry for what happened to those boys (and I don't know what their home life was at the time they were being sent to see Sandusky) but it was not Paterno that was charged with the abuse. Once I have reported an incident, can I take the law into my own hands? And I am sure Sandusky was very sly about what he did and said in front of the Penn State Staff after he was suspected. It was not Paterno's job to bring down Sandusky. That job is Administration's and the law enforcement agency. Investigate and document what Paterno did for the students (that's why there was such an out pouring of love when he died) in his 40 some years with the College. Sandusky was a sick F--- and the people that are responsible for his actions was Sandusky himself. Why are we not knocking the door down on Sandusky's wife, who obviously knew that her own child was being abused! If anyone is an accomplise, she is and should be charged appropriately!

If I was the parent of any of these children that were abused I would have pursued Sandusky until he paid for what he did and everybody would have known right there and then! Not YEARS LATER. When someone hurts or attempts to hurt my child I am on them right now to see that it won't happen again. So don't lay the blame on someone that can no longer speak for himself. Look at WHAT HE DID DO FOR ALL THOSE KIDS THAT WILL ATTEST THEIR LOVE FOR HIM! RIP JOE PA

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4grog8797(25 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Paterno had the power to stop a pedophile and did nothing. Instead of living up to the high ideals he preached, chose to protect his own reputarion and the reputation of his university. That is now his sad legacy; as an enabler of a pedophile. Sad that a lifetime of good works will forever be overshadowed by a terrible self serving decision.

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5GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ hubresident
You need to take off the blue PSU sunglasses and see the truth.

According to the Freeh report, Paterno was so powerful that he, along with the administration, covered up Sandusky's rape of boys. He knew about it, they knew about it and because of their silence, God knows how many other boys were raped that didn't have to be if Paterno had done something about it way back 10-15 years ago.

Paterno's statue needs to come down, and then blown up at halftime of a PSU game. (Providing PSU doesn't get the death penalty) PSU fans and those living in State College need to wake up and quit covering up and glorifying this pedophile assister.

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6ysupenguins_com(108 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Okay, so let's stop ignoring the subject. This has nothing to do with molested boys, and that is the truth.

Do you think it is just "a stroke of luck" that this surfaced when it did? Do you think he (Paterno) went to the doctor and found out about his life-expectancy AFTER the accusations? Do you honestly think he is going to protect Penn State over those boys? Do you honestly believe in that much coincidence?

His history is important, as it is a postmortem testament to his character. The only thing he has at this point. So why is that?

Aside from sports ...did you figure out what Paterno and Tressel had in common in their personal lives ...and the real reason the media is attacking so specifically?

As far as a lack of control, we are dealing with recruits ..so if cover-up did indeed take place, the lack of institutional control is obvious. Yet, such a singular act does not indicate that it is so. You cannot simply state that crime = lack of control.

Have any of you ever been to the OSU campus? Do you know that their police department is larger than the city of Youngstown's? They have over 2-dozen detectives alone. Obviously they have the crime of a city. Now as a recruit, is it a bad football team because of this? As a quality academic prospect, does this mean you will automatically receive a bad education simply because of this fact? Do you think that Penn State's crime-rate and police department is much smaller? Well that is what blind attackers are saying. None of us know what happened, so the most we can do is say what we feel should happen if it is, or is not true.

Murdering a man's reputation is as bad as taking out a gun and killing him.

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