Paterno’s statement’s not enough, Penn State dropped ball

Joe Paterno is retiring but will be allowed to coach the rest of the season

Joe Paterno is retiring, but he will be allowed to coach the rest of the season. (AP photo)

Joe Paterno will coach at least three more football games.

This is not going to be pretty.

Paterno confirmed this morning that he will retire at the end of the season. This follows ugly sexual abuse claims against former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the belief by many that school officials, including Paterno, may have been complicit in covering up the matter and/or could have done more to push for an investigation.

Paterno released a statement in which he conceded, “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

They were the proper words. But they should have been spoken, not released via email, before anybody at Penn State even considered allowing him back on the sideline.

I can’t imagine any university, company or entity handling a situation worse than how Penn State has handled the past few days.

Paterno’s complete statement:

“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.

“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

“That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.

“My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University.”

I wrote the other day about how sickening this whole saga is, that potentially something so despicable could go on for so long. Paterno had met his legal obligations in the Sandusky matter but questions about whether he had met his moral obligations lingered.

I also wrote that before I jumped on the growing “Paterno Must Go” bandwagon, I wanted to hear what he had to say — live, in a room, behind a microphone, with people. Granted, Paterno was being crushed by public opinion and it seemed implausible that he could not have known — 0r done –more. But to me it all seemed a little too much too fast, given Paterno’s stature and reputation before this story broke.

I believed that Paterno needed to get behind a microphone, answer every question, show remorse and make us believe that there was no intent on his part to cover up such alleged heinous crimes for a long-time friend.

Because anybody who enabled Sandusky also belongs behind bars.

But Penn State already has made its decision. That’s a mistake. It’s as if the university is allowing Paterno one final power play in State College.

It’s going to be ugly in “Happy Valley” at Saturday’s final home game against Nebraska.

It’s going to be ugly and scary when Paterno and Penn State go on the road for the final two games to Ohio State and Wisconsin.

If Paterno coaches in a bowl game, the atmosphere certainly is not going to seem like a season celebration, which is what bowl games were intended to be.

Penn State dropped the ball. And when everybody looks at Paterno on the sideline Saturday, the first thought most will have won’t be, “There’s a great football coach.”

By Jeff Schultz

590 comments Add your comment

Beach Dawg

November 9th, 2011
10:51 am

I disagree — he is a great football coach whose legacy will be tainted by this horrible and tragic situation. But he has shown some human failure — apparently. I say apparently because I have not heard the full story and unlike many in the media I refuse to serve as judge and jury and preside over the lynching until all the facts are presented.

BULLDOG STEVE

November 9th, 2011
10:52 am

Jeff, you are an idiot. He is being prosecuted before even all the facts are out. Why do we need a legal system when there are reporters like you out there? Every day more and more you are getting like Terrance Moore. Just writing shock articles to get reactions out of everybody. The AJC is no longer worthy of even wrapping fish. It must be wonderful being a Monday morning quarterback.

John

November 9th, 2011
10:52 am

Seeing as he has chosen not to resign immediately the Board must fire him effective immediately. They should also fire the President of the University, to say that these two met their obligations by how they handled this situation is a lie. Shame on you Penn State.

Bright Idea

November 9th, 2011
10:52 am

I wonder what the public reaction would have been in 1998 if Paterno/Penn State had sicced the police on Sandusky. I suggest it would have been much the same as it is now and Paterno knew that. He had to know about Sandusky and finally got him off the staff in 1999 and has spent the past 12 years buying time. If Paterno had been forced out in 1998 over this at least he would have his honor, if not 409 wins.

TLanceB

November 9th, 2011
10:55 am

The culture Joe Paterno created, reveled in, promoted, and honors is one of a fiefdom. It’s a insular myopia that protected – intentionally and unintentionally – a predatory pedophile. The crimes were on campus. The gross negligence shows by the graduate assistant, athletic director, President, and Joe Pa himself is complicit in the Sandusky crimes. Everyone should be dissociated with, forever, from Penn State.

There’s is no gray here.

Ben

November 9th, 2011
10:55 am

I don’t think the man deserves to go to jail but he shouldn’t be allowed to have his farewell tour and retire on his own terms.

Regardless of what he has done in his life, he allowed a known predator to stay on campus and horrific events took place after they knew something wasn’t right with Sandusky.

In almost any scenario, the people responsible would be fired.

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
10:59 am

Have you read the indictment Jeff? And if so how can you know be on the fire Joe Pa and investigate him band wagon.

1998- while still a coach, standusky is under police investigation. Do you think Joe Pa knew one of his coaches was under police investigation?

Sat March 2, 2002- GA tells Joe Pa in the morning.
Sun March 3, 2002- Joe Pa allegedly tells Curley

A WHOLE DAY! I bet if they got Joe Pa’s phone records he was on the phone all day with everyone. Standusky, Curley, Schultz, the chief of police.

hmmmmmm

November 9th, 2011
10:59 am

You guys are like flies on s%^t. He is an 84 year old man, who violated absolutely no laws, and did not do anything to cover up the abuse. It was reported to him. He did not hide it, keep silent or withold anything. He reported it to his superiors, the ones who gave the office and campus access to the pedophille. He said the graduate assistant did not give him the graphic details now being reported. For over 4o years he has served his University and its students without a SINGLE BLEMISH at all. Now due to the acts of SOMEONE ESLE, you wish to tar and feather him. It is horrible what happened but Paterno didn’t do it, didn’t cause it, and didn’t cover it up. So you vultures can sell a few more papers on a Wednesday afternoon you will ride him into the ground. Sharks with the scent of blood.

notty dred

November 9th, 2011
11:00 am

I’m @nottydred on twitter. I agree with beach dog. Mike McQueary should b fired immediately!!! All of this would have been avoided had he whipped Sandusky ass & turned him n2 authorities when he saw what he saw n the shower!!! Joe followed the rules as far as we know. Until all the facts r out its unfair 2 judge JoePa….a legendary football coach!!!

Pray 4 the children who were victims. Remember them and put them 1st.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 9th, 2011
11:01 am

JoePa could no longer continue at Penn State. Unsure even he really should finish the season thruthfully. The University had a idea somehting was wrong as far back as ‘98 and allowed this behavior to continue. The GA who is no the WR Coach needs to be fired IMMEDIATELY! Sandusky needs to be castrated and lynched in public following it. The Legacy of JoePa has gone the way of Woody Hayes and probably gets amplified by 10fold due to the nature of his departure. JoePa failed the University and the young men who fell victims to this crime for not ensuring it went as far as it should go, the authorities. He has no plausable denability when it comes to crimes like this. The Grand Jury Testimony is 23 pages long and is damning to PSU and JoePa. They all need to be fired.

Beelzebub

November 9th, 2011
11:01 am

I win again!

steverino

November 9th, 2011
11:03 am

Ugly? How? Joe is doing the honorable thing. Enabled Sandusky? Trying to make it sound like Joe procured kids for his DC? Paterno has commited no crime. He utilized his chain of command, although I’m certain that he didn’t want to believe what he was hearing was true. True he could have done more, but if PSU is like most corporations or government entities, the chain of command stipulation in the S.O.P is there for a reason. That’s to protect EVERYONE.

Even with all (or perhaps, what little), that has been revealed, it doesn’t change the fact that Paterno deserves to go out as he has chosen to, if allowed.

Tokyo jacket

November 9th, 2011
11:03 am

Sad state of affairs.

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
11:04 am

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-

have you read the indictment. it is literally connect the dots to see that he participated in a conspiracy to cover it up. then he also probably lied to the grand jury and committed perjury.

when you guys say what is the legal system for you should at least bother to read the documents the legal system creates in the process. Basically, this is just the beginning, wait until the feds get involved.

balismith

November 9th, 2011
11:04 am

very good article…just finished the grand jury findings this morning…had to leave the house and go for a long walk….totally disgusting….how this man was allowed to go unchecked for over 10 years is unreal…paterno on the sidelines for 3 more games is unbelievable…

SSIgator

November 9th, 2011
11:04 am

Jeff -

This is a classic case of JoePa and others like him controlling the situation and thinking they can dictate the terms. In his opinion, why not? He has been the face of Penn State for so long, he thinks he is actually in charge. If he coaches this Saturday, it will become nothing but a circus with 100,000 people in the stands remembering what a great guy he was. Read the Grand Jury report and then ask yourself if this “great guy” should even be on campus at this hour of this day. This is way beyond sick.

UGABugKiller

November 9th, 2011
11:05 am

Really, Bulldog Steve?

REALLY???

I’m ashamed you’re a fan of MY school.

HE FAILED TO REPORT CHILD RAPE TO THE POLICE!

HE FAILED. TO REPORT. CHILD RAPE. TO THE POLICE.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THAT FACT THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, YOU STUPID, LACK OF PERSPECTIVE, LACK OF MORAL PRIORITIES, DUMB@SS REDNECK MORON???

UN-HAPPY VALLEY

November 9th, 2011
11:05 am

Penn Stater’s gathered around Joe Pa’s house last night will regret they did so one day.

They will all come to see that they were mistaken in their support of a man who:

ALLOWED A MONSTER TO STAY

ENABLED A MONSTER TO CONTINUE HIS DISGUSTING DESIRES

COWERED WHEN HE COULD HAVE RISEN UP

KEPT IT HIDDEN

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:06 am

Beach Dawg — I don’t disagree with you. That’s why I wanted to hear the man speak. Issuing a statement doesn’t accomplish the same thing. Maybe you didn’t read my column the other day.

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
11:06 am

have any of you commentators bothered to read the indictment or just a bunch of dumb newspaper articles written by morons (present blog author excluded)

Worm

November 9th, 2011
11:06 am

This is a lose-lose situation for everybody involved.

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:07 am

Bulldog Steve — More the reason for him to talk instead of issuing a statement. I certainly agree the rush-to-judgement part of your comment (not the fish-wrap part).

RiffRaff

November 9th, 2011
11:08 am

His statement is enough. He’s in a position where he can’t say much more because of the investigation. The failure to turn this rapist over to authorities when it happened and remove him and his association with the schoo is what bothers me. Really, they should clean house at PS, and prosecute anyone involved in the crimes / coverup.

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:08 am

Daniel — I read the entire indictment. Like I said, I want to hear it from JP what he knew and when he knew it. His public claims so far (and we can debate how forthcoming he is being) is that what the GA told him is not what’s in the indictment.

UN-HAPPY VALLEY

November 9th, 2011
11:09 am

There better be somebody of courage at the Nebraska-PSU game. Not everyone at PSU supports those same coaches showing up on Saturday ? Right?

Somebody who has a spine ?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 9th, 2011
11:10 am

How this McQueary could witness this and not immediately stop this is beyond me. Then to go call his Dad? Look, I dont care how old you are and who it is that is doing that, If you see what it is stated then you need to address that situation on the spot. He should have gone and whipped Sanduskys arse. No excuse, you go and standup for that victim.

UGABugKiller

November 9th, 2011
11:10 am

Daniel, the indictment has nothing to do with the fact that he FAILED TO REPORT CHILD RAPE TO THE POLICE.

You can equivocate away the fact that he “met his legal obligations” all you want.

But the Chief of the Pennsylvania State Police said Joe Paterno SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE, and in fact, he can’t for the life of him understand why he did not.

Joe Paterno did the absolute MINIMUM the law requires, and he did NOTHING that human decency requires, in this case.

Joe Paterno’s inexcusable inaction led to how many more children being raped by Sandusky, Daniel?

HOW MANY MORE CHILDREN WERE RAPED BECAUSE JOE PATERNO MET HIS LEGAL OBLIGATIONS AND THEN WIPED HIS HANDS CLEAN OF WHAT HE KNEW FOR NINE YEARS???

HOW MANY, DANIEL???

HOW MANY???

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:10 am

SSIGator — I agree completely. The next 3 games are going to be a circus. I don’t know if that could have been avoided or not but I can’t imagine any university, company or entity handling a situation worse than how Penn State has handled the past week.

GADawg59

November 9th, 2011
11:11 am

None of us know all the facts. It is easy to let our emotions dictate what should be done. The man deserves due process. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, I think all of us question his moral obligations on how this should be handled. He needs to come out and tell the facts. He owes this to the victims, their families, his team and the entire PSU community. The victims deserve justice. What was taken from them can never be replaced.

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
11:12 am

yeah, basically anyone who bothers to actually read the grand jury paper understands what is going on and everyone else is speculating on bits and pieces.

READ IT AND YOU WILL SEE WHY JOE PA SHOULDN’T COACH! (and should be criminally investigated)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/documents/sandusky-grand-jury-report11052011.html

DawgDad

November 9th, 2011
11:13 am

What, exactly, has Paterno failed to do? This is just another example of sleazy journalism; attacking people’s character and reputatation without offering a shred of proof to substantiate the allegations.

The world is not a perfect place. Sometimes it takes law enforcement a LONG TIME to build a case against someone who everyone knows has committed a crime, even a serious crime, all the while the person is freely going about their business and perhaps committing more crimes. I’ve seen this be the case with charges of murder. To attack non-perpetrators “for not doing more”, before the facts come out, is at the very least mean-spirited.

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
11:16 am

The grand jury found the GA credible. Also, what good would a statement from Joe Pa do? He already issued one where he pretended like this was a big surprise. And his statements to the grand jury are no different than the two of the AD and VP.

No offense but this is connect the dots and it’s only going to get worse. 2 to 1 odds the feds are already investigating.

robodawg

November 9th, 2011
11:16 am

I totally agree, Jeff. Paterno should address this publicly behind a microphone. The legal “requirements” are really about the University not admitting more than it has to so that it can pay the least in damages it has to. At this point, JoePa should tell all, lawyers be damned. There’s no honor in issuing an email statement and then continuing the season as if nothing happened.

Golden White

November 9th, 2011
11:18 am

Few circumstances in life will cause a 180 degree turn in your love and respect for a friend .
This is one of them . I feel like notty dred . Mike McQueary should have whipped his ass til the blood ran down the drain .

Daniel

November 9th, 2011
11:19 am

UGABugKiller-

I think somewhere I wrote poorly and allowed myself to be misinterpreted. I agree, I think they conspired to cover it up, committed perjury and should all be thrown in jail.

It’s simple connect the dots, Joe Pa had to have been the ring leader of a criminal conspiricay.

Dr. Phil

November 9th, 2011
11:19 am

After being jostled by over 100 microphone-wielding reporters on his way to practice, I understand why Paterno does not want to appear at a live press conference. He probably should resign immediately. Paterno is certain to be hounded and slimed as the legal issue plays out. It is a shame Paterno buried his head in the sand as these charges developed.

NC Dawg

November 9th, 2011
11:20 am

Paterno’s legacy is ruined. And it was his own doing. No sadness from me…only disgust. Shame on you Joe Paterno…you knew and didn’t do.

Ocilla Dawg

November 9th, 2011
11:22 am

Nice Article Jeff. I think the Board of Trustees will take it further and demand he step down now. Joe sounds like he is trying to slither on out the season.

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:23 am

Daniel — “have any of you commentators bothered to read the indictment or just a bunch of dumb newspaper articles written by morons (present blog author excluded)”

<< Hah. I guess I should thank you for the exclusion.

B'dawg

November 9th, 2011
11:24 am

With all we know, I dont see how as a player you could follow Joe Pa onto the field on Saturday. Do you still respect him as a coach and follow him onto the field? I couldnt do it, and I dont think you can respect him period!

SOGADOG

November 9th, 2011
11:25 am

Although morally Paterno should stand up and answer the tough questions, that likely wont happen. (In fact, I am surprised he has said as much as he has.) I am sure Paterno has amassed a fortune over the years and that fortune is now in serious jeopardy. There will be a whopper lawsuit filed against Penn State and Paterno individually by the victims and any statements he makes can be used to hammer him in court. I am sure his attorneys cringe at the thought of an 84 year old man being peppered with questions by reporters on national television. Paterno and his son/ heir will protect the fortune as best they can and remain as silent as possible.

By finishing the season, Paterno is obviously trying to break the Grambling coach’s record for career wins. This tells me that he again is more worried about his legacy than the victims.

Ted M

November 9th, 2011
11:25 am

“The coach defended his decision to take the news to his athletic director. Paterno said it was obvious that the graduate student was “distraught,” but said the graduate student did not tell him about the “very specific actions” in the grand jury report.”

That statement is preposterous. There is no reasonable explanation as to why he did NOT ask Mike McQueary exactly what he saw.

Paterno is a coward and he is complicit in helping Sandusky to continue raping children.

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:25 am

And by the way, for those how have NOT read the Grand Jury’s “finding of fact,” …

Here’s a link to my column the other day:
http://blogs.ajc.com/jeff-schultz-blog/2011/11/07/joe-paterno-has-questions-to-answer-on-sandusky/

Here’s a link to the PDF document:
http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/uploadedFiles/Press/Sandusky-Grand-Jury-Presentment.pdf

Jeff Schultz

November 9th, 2011
11:26 am

RiffRaff — “His statement is enough. He’s in a position where he can’t say much more because of the investigation.” … I understand that to a degree. But that doesn’t excuse not getting in a room and talking to people, even if it’s mostly limited to the statement.

kreedham

November 9th, 2011
11:26 am

“The GA and Joe Pa followed proper procedure”….no proper procedure would have been for the GA to stop the assault, cold cock Sandusky and call the police….then call Joe Pa. Sandusky would be in jail now, how many more kids wouldn’t have been assaulted, and Joe Pa would still have his honor and legacy! The GA, now a Penn State assistant, needs to quietly or publicly resign, and move away from PA.

T3

November 9th, 2011
11:26 am

It is…UNCONSCIONABLE…for the PSU Board of Trustees to allow Paterno
to remain as a Coach or Employee of the University.

As more and more victims come forward, seeing Paterno continue on as a Coach or Employee
will be UNIVERSALLY viewed as disgraceful, unethical, and an outrage by the American public.

By dismissing Paterno RIGHT NOW, it will a positive first step for the Trustees to show
that PennState is now in the hands of RESPONSIBLE & ETHIAL ADULTS, and not
some pathetic, senile, child-molestor-enabling 84 year old.

Just dayum.

DawgDad

November 9th, 2011
11:27 am

Daniel: I read the report. I see NO indication of Paterno participating in a coverup. What is in there that convinces you he was?

SSIgator

November 9th, 2011
11:28 am

It is like Warren Buffett once said, “You spend twenty years building a reputaion and it can all be destroyed in twenty minutes.” Whatever “good things” JoePa did for Penn State have gone down the drain. This incident will now be his legacy. Except, of course for the rah, rah crowd that will choose to look past this.

RCB

November 9th, 2011
11:30 am

Spoken as the uncontestable voice of morality at AJC sports central. Jury? Don’t need one. Questions or explanations? Don’t need them. Facts? Don’t need them and don’t have the time. Got to get on the bus before it leaves the station.

Bill in VA

November 9th, 2011
11:32 am

SHAME on you, Penn State!!