Keidel: The Joe Paterno Apologist

By Jason Keidel
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On Wednesday, I ambled over to my mailbox to find my weekly Sports Illustrated nestled inside, folded in half. I snapped the cover flat and saw a picture of Tom Brady.

Groovy, right?

Nope – above Brady there was a marquee beaming in bold ink “JOE PATERNO” followed by fawning pieces. (I say this at my peril, as I’ve written for SI and may kill my future freelance prospects.) For a group that gets it so right so often, it was a jolt to my senses to see the senseless on the cover.

The next day, before I trashed the magazine, I showed the cover to my mother (who attended Penn State in the ‘60s) and she flipped to the Paterno part, shaking her head solemnly, repeating a sentence in a slow murmur, “An error in judgment,” she said sadly.

I knew what she meant. Paterno’s grotesque bungling of Sandusky was distilled to a four-word synopsis, which, at the least, is a mischaracterization of the highest order. A parking ticket is an error in judgment. Speeding ticket. Heck, cheating by ten bucks on your income tax is an error in judgment. But ignoring child rape? (Allegedly, of course!)

Like most of you, I grew up thinking Paterno was a god, imbued with the angelic virtues of yesteryear, a throwback in its best sense. We were duped.

Sorry to break the big group hug, but while you’ve been drooling over Paterno, a village of boys was shattered by Paterno’s top dog. (Allegedly!) And this is fine with you, as long as Paterno is an arm’s length from blame. Funny how the buck always stopped at Paterno’s door – except when it came to Sandusky. Even the most savage Paterno detractors (like me) wouldn’t object to a silent prayer for Paterno’s wife and kids. But these endless, mindless vigils, chanting while bowing to a broken man whom, I bet, died from a cancerous conscience as much as anything…

And I love how Penn State alums think they have a Herculean grip on the truth. News Flash: State College was just the crime scene. Child molestation is a universal tragedy.

And if you’d like to play the Penn State grad card, this came via email from a despondent woman whose husband was a Penn State professor for over two decades; the couple still resides in the area (I won’t reveal his or her identity, as I shiver at the thought of what the Paterno Apologists would do to them): “It is as if God has died. The gnashing of teeth, beating of breasts and never ceases. The tent revival pep rally tributes and accolades are endless, puerile sycophantic, disgusting.  He is being praised as if he were Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela. I am so upset by this I can hardly bear it…Where is the decency, the shock, the remorse for what Paterno was a part of? How do you suppose Sandusky’s damaged victims must feel? Powerless? Hopeless? Meaningless? It is so time to nail the bastards to the old cross…”


Let me put this slowly and succinctly, so that the most rabid Paterno Apologists can fathom it…

Jerry Sandusky is accused of raping boys at Penn State, while employed by Penn State, and while reporting to Joe Paterno. Paterno knew Sandusky had an inappropriate interest in boys in 1998, at the latest. Still, Sandusky was allowed on campus, with children, for another decade. (And if you don’t think Paterno knew about the ’98 report on Sandusky, just go away.)

So, since I couldn’t get my sports fix from my normal source, I went to my television’s “On Demand” menu, where I could find some Muhammad Ali. (If you ever get the blues, just watch any Ali fight, from Sonny Liston to Zora Folley, though I suspect some Paterno Apologists still call him Cassius Clay.) On my way to The Greatest, however, I saw a separate menu, from ESPN: “Joe Paterno.” Breathing deeply, I punched the button to find a cornucopia of Paterno highlights, including an obituary, a tribute, a replay of the ’83 Sugar Bowl, “JoePa Win 400,” and “JoePa Win 409” and, if that weren’t enough, the galling kicker, “Joe Paterno Life Lessons.”

I really saw this. I didn’t have the stomach to punch the button, so I improvised:

Lesson 1: Have an assistant tell you that your top assistant sodomized a child in your locker room.

Lesson 2: Cut him off before it gets too graphic, tell him he’s done his job, and then change topic.

Lesson 3: Report this to men who essentially report to you, despite the stars on their lapels.

Lesson 4: Die before you really have to talk about it.

Figures the “Worldwide Leader” – a name appropriately heisted from ABC when Mickey Mouse bought everyone – would whiff on this, as they didn’t see fit to furnish the authorities with the Bernie Fine tapes. ESPN minors in money and majors in plagiarism, stealing Jay Glazer or Jon Heyman scoops frequently and with impunity. It’s good to be the King.

What are we, as a nation and a species, knowing that we’re branding the handling of these crimes as merely a speed bump on the road to immortality? To recall Paterno sans Sandusky is like talking Nixon without Watergate. In terms of career relevance, they are essential to each man’s legacy.

No, Paterno didn’t do the deed, but he knew the deed and did nothing about it. And before you come with that chain of command crap, remember that Joe Paterno was the Vito Corleone of State College. Actually, that’s an understatement, as Mr. Andolini had the Five Families to consider.  Paterno was every link in the State College chain.

The de facto Paterno Publicists feed you this bile and you swallow it whole and ask for more, like chicks begging Ma to vomit some more scraps before she leaves the nest for the next hunt. The beer goggles are glued to your dome, and there’s no tonic to sober you up.

As a writer, I’m a predisposed sucker. I want the good guys to win, along with the occasional bad guy with a big heart. I love happy endings. This isn’t one of them.

I realize those of you who still root violently for the departed head coach can’t be coaxed into a rational discussion. Perhaps this is just a memo, an archive, a thought shared with the masses with no mission to accomplish. Believe it or not, there are many people who feel as this writer does, but they are drowned out by the howling dogs circling the dead. Joe Paterno isn’t the only one who died at State College; more than a few faceless, nameless young men wish they could have their childhoods back.

Maybe if we just repeat the lie often enough – my boy Joe did the right thing – it mutates into the truth.

And while we always need heroes despite the taxing whims of Father Time, we’re allowed to change icons as we mature. All of my childhood heroes wielded gloves, helmets and bats. Later on I adopted a few mentors, wordsmiths who found their power in the pen – rather flawed men who essentially drank themselves to death. But the one good synapse time bestows upon us is the ability to distinguish between talent and heroism.

On his way to myopic eulogies about eternal greatness, Joe Paterno was deep in the vortex of the most horrific scandal in the history of American sports. And thus this thing will stick to my ribs until I die. Lord knows that hardly makes me a hero. But I sure feel like one next to Joe Paterno.

Feel free to email me:


One Comment

  1. DCN says:

    Those who cannot stop crucifying Joe Paterno even in death are just insecure and incapable of appreciating the good side of a human being. They are just jealous of the accomplishments of others and rejoice to see others have failed. Come on, I really have my doubts that those critics of Joe’s action or inaction would do things differently. Talk is cheap, and criticizing others’ failure seems to be easy and fun. If you are so righteous, what are you doing for those victims now? Are you doing anything to change their lives? Are you doing anything to prevent child abuse from happening in this society? If not, you are just as guilty of inaction. Instead of continuously bashing on the failure of others, do something that will positively impact the lives of others. Even in death, Joe is making a difference, positively, in more people’s lives than all you critics combined. Your criticism come across as hypocritical if you don’t back it up with action to improve the situation.

  2. Kurt Spitzner says:

    My kids will not be going away to school anytime soon and this just cements the deal.

  3. Brentwood Belair says:

    Joe had a choice to make. He chose a path he could not live with. He’d been dying inside for quite some time.

    Brentwood Belair

  4. Jack says:

    Read this, written by someone who understands human behavior. and then to all of you Paterno detractors, SHUT UP, you wouldn’t have done any differently, and you know it.

    1. Ryan Bagwell says:

      Amen Jack. Been saying the same thing for months now.

    2. Neil Allen says:

      You’re wrong, and if you would do what Joe did, you are also a coward. THis ins’t complicated.

      1. Ryan Bagwell says:

        No, Neil, it’s called human nature. 99% of us would have done the same thing with the information Paterno had at the time. Read that story that Jack posted.

        1. CW says:

          The information Paterno had at the time is memorialized in his Grand Jury testimony –“his only sworn testimony in the case — Paterno corroborated McQueary, testifying under oath that McQueary told Paterno that he saw Sandusky engaged in fondling or “doing something of a sexual nature” to a boy”


          No wiggle room, Pal. (no pun intended)

          1. Ryan Bagwell says:

            CW – I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that, but he reported it to his bosses and expected them to handle it properly. Like the story says, that’s what 99% of us would have done. So what’s your problem now?

            1. CW says:


              Try the smell test. What IF the child –by definition at risk and in need by virtue of being a part of the Second Mile – WHAT IF that child had been related to Paterno? Just WHAT IF? Do you honestly think, he’d have simply reported to his bosses and walked away? OR better yet, WHAT IF that were your child and he reported and just walked away? If this doesn’t work for you –then guess what? it doesn’t work because it is WRONG.

  5. ron says:

    May God Bless Joe Paterno and his family.
    And may the cowardly Penn State board of trustees who fired Paterno because of their own incompetencies make peace with karma.

    1. JP says:

      Ron you are the problem. the “great” Joe Paterno did NOTHING to stop Sandusky. He passed the buck and closed his eyes and hoped it went away.
      Did you read the grand jury report? I ask that of all you sick apologists who defend this coward.
      What about the kids Sandusky raped after 2002 or even 98 when your hero didnt lift a finger to stop him?
      Guess the image of his program and recruiting were more important to The coawradly lion Paterno than the safety of kids.
      Bless the VICTIMS of the unholy Paterno Sandusky Union.
      Thats the new moniker of PSU_Paterno Sandusky United

      1. Ryan Bagwell says:

        JP – what makes you think he did “nothing?”

  6. CC says:

    In my eyes, the Sandusky problem, serious and horrible as it is, provides the tiny crack needed to allow a bit of sunlight into what may become a far more explosive scandal. For years I have watched the University close ranks to bully, threaten intimidate, smear and ruin anyone with the temerity to report racial and homophobic bias, sexual harassment, missing donor money, tampering with faculty files, etc. It is my opinion the State sanctioned shroud of secrecy afforded the University has allowed/encouraged some very bad behavior.

    Joe Paterno has passed on and the stench of the Penn State Scandal remains. It seems to me that there is far more at stake than a Coach’s reputation and Penn State football. The Sandusky presentment may just be the fuse on a much larger bomb ticking away.

    Perhaps this will prove to be a RICO case. Penn State/The Village at Penn State/ The Second Mile would all constitute the Enterprise. The players — Spanier, The Trustees, Wendell Courtney, Paterno, Dean Susan Welch, Gary Schultz, Robert Poole, Rodney Erickson, Rodney Kirsch, et al and ad nauseam, would be the targets.

    Joe Paterno and Football — this IS Penn State — the cash cow that runs it all. Any hint of serious impropriety (raping coeds is “just boys being boys”) would seriously taint that cash flow, and thus the University as a whole. Like, for example, right now.

    Back in early 2002 the players, investors, Board members — Joe Paterno and Robert Poole, Spanier, Gary Schultz, Dean Susan Welch, Wiliam Schreyer, Rodney Erickson, Rodney Kirsch, et al were struggling to fund the sorta/maybe non-profit Village at Penn State and had just secured risky financing when McQueary walked in on Sandusky raping a child in the shower and thus threatened to upset the applecart.

    Additionally, and yet another reason Penn State could not afford a scandal back in 2002, was that they were in the middle of the Grand Destiny fund-raising campaign: “Under Rod’s (Kirsch) leadership, Penn State concluded the Grand Destiny campaign in 2003, surpassing its $1.3 billion goal.” In the end 1.37 billion bucks were raised.

    So, you see, there was no good reason for Paterno, Spanier, Wendell Courtney, Curley, Schultz, The Board of Trustees nor anyone else at Penn State TO RAISE THE ALARM, OR REPORT ANY SUSPICION OF CHILD RAPE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. WHY ROCK THE BOAT?

  7. JK says:

    “Anyone associated with it”? Did you really just say that? As though Paterno were just some peripheral player. He was Jerry Sandusky’s boss and was told, directly, in 2002, about Sandusky and a child naked in a shower and the cops were not called. What is fictional about that?

    The Paterno Apologists just won’t stop. Perhaps you’ll find more suitable company in your Paterno Prayer Group. Your gibberish doesn’t fly on this page.

    1. Jeff Sayin says:

      More insults – nice. Try a new profession.

    2. Carol T says:

      Your reporting is inaccurate. You are changing the facts to make your point. That is called fiction and should be disclaimed as so much. You should be embarrassed…shame on you. SI would be wise to not contract with you again and I will be sure to let them know my opinion.

      1. Ryan Bagwell says:

        Call his editors at 212-975-4321, press the option for “Local News,” and they’ll connect you. Ask them to make him write corrections. Hold him accountable.

    3. gigi says:

      actually Joe Paterno was NOT his boss. Sandusky no longer worked for Penn State nor was he on the staff of the football team. He left in 99, when he was being courted by other universities and nfl teams….now isnt that odd that he would just walk away when he was so sought after.

      1. CW says:

        gigi, carol t and jeff, from your writing, it seems obvious you bleed blue and white. question is –can you read and understand big words? i am guessing not so i will try to spell it out carefully, in simple word for you

        truth is not always easy. sometimes truth hurts. human beings have character flaws. sometimes these flaws can lead to very bad consequences. joe paterno (truth here) was not a god. you just think so. joe paterno revered the classics. and ,ironically in the end, he is much like a figure from a greek tragedy. problem is, this isn’t ancient history and young lives have been damaged on his watch. feel free to look up anything you might not understand.

      2. JP says:

        gigi he let Sandusky have FULL campus ACCESS. He tried to start a football team at the Altoona campus to move Sandusky.
        Cardinal Paterno protected Father Sandusky. to equate it with the cahtolic church.

    4. Ryan Bagwell says:

      JK – Correction: Paterno wasn’t Sandusky’s boss in 2002. He retired in 1999, and Paterno rarely saw him after that. Please don’t lie any more. That’s all I ask.

  8. Jeff Sayin says:

    JK aka Jason Keidel – the author of this fictional opinion piece

    WHy are you on a mission to destory the reputation of Paterno by lazy jorurnalism and a guilt by association mentality? I suspect you have some personal unresolved issues/vendatta

    I also find it sad that you label anyone who doesn’t agree with your opinoin about what Paterno knew and when he knew it as a Paterno Apologist so you can belittle and devalue such views as somehow bias when it is clear through your repeated articles on this subject that it is you who is engaged in what the folks of Salem MA once referred to as a witchhunt.

    1. Mayor McCheese says:

      The destruction of Paterno’s reputation was his own doing. it needs no help from JK or other writers. It is obvious for all clear thinking people to see.

      Good football coach. Very bad human being. His “new” reputation is well deserved. Those at Penn State and in Pennsylvania who enabled this culture should also be brought to account.

      What if it was your kid?

      1. Jeff Sayin says:

        While the reaction of disgust associated with child molestation is understandable as is the need for justice, this disgust can result in an irrational desire to lynch anyone associated with the actual culprit. We should be careful not to give into such irrational desires. See e.g. Wenatchee child abuse prosecutions and the like.

        1. Mayor McCheese says:

          I don’t think it is an appropriate comparison with Wenatchee. In this case, we have an adult making accusations, and those accusations were statements against his own interest which make them much more believable.

          Paterno is not accused of committing the base crime, only that he was made aware of it – even if only an accusation – and basically turned a blind eye. It is well known that Paternao basically ran a fiefdom at Penn State where nothing relating to football, its staff, facilities or players escaped his knowledge. Even if he suspected that things like this were going on with his assistant, that should have been enough for him to have DONE THE RIGHT THING. He did not. So here we are. Not a witch hunt. Just basic responsibility for his in-action. He could have done the right thing but he didn’t. That was his choice.

          1. Jeff Sayin says:

            “basically turned a blind eye” ? He informed people responsible for investigating such allegations. He did exactly what he was suppose to do and the DA has so stated.

            As to doing the right thing – he asked those with more expertise to investigate. That is doing the right thing and with such sensitive allegations, it would have been improper for him to stick his nose in the middle of it. You seem to suggest because of his status as a football coach, he shoudl have become a CSI investgator, determined the merit of the lallegations and made sure the police, DA and a jury convictged Sandusky in 2002. Sorry but I disagree.

            While you won’t, you should lLet him rest in his grave and spend your energy making sure the real culprits pay.

            1. JK says:

              He turned a totally blind eye. What planet do you orbit?

              I return to the simple equation: naked 55-year-old man + 10-year-old boy + naked in a shower + slapping sounds = call the cops. Paterno didn’t. Joe Paterno was the most powerful person in State College, yet he’s suddenly powerless vis-a-vis Jerry Sandusky.

              We don’t know what led you to this blind, horrific hero worship. Perhaps if one of your kids were under Sandusky’s care you’d have a different take. Players were whispering about Sandusky in the ’80s. Even local barbershops got word. But your beloved “JoePa” knew nothing. Stop it. You can let him rest in his coffin, but some of us dislike enablers of child rapists. Shame on us.

            2. Mayor McCheese says:

              No, I think the right thing would have been for him to call Sandusky into his office immediately and confront him. Yes, he may have done the legal thing, but I think few people would agree he did the moral thing.

              Don’t forget, this is Joe Paterno at Penn State you are talking about, not some assistant at a D-3 school. If one of his players was going to drop below academic standards and not be able to play that week he would have called the kid to his office and had a very direct conversation. I think that an accusation of rape of a 10 year old would get at least as much attention from Paterno.

            3. JP says:

              he did nothing in 98 or 2002. he let Sandusky have full access to campus til the day he was indicted. thats a fact something you child rape lovinmg PATERNO FANS FAIL TO SEE facts.
              Why didnt your hero push and pucj til Sandusky was locked away? because he was a coward who was more concerned with the perception of his precious football program than the safety of kids.
              Having his most trusted assistant exposed as apedophile would hurt recruiting and the coward joepunk couldnt let that happen.

    2. Ryan Bagwell says:

      I’ve asked Jasen Keidel to write several corrections, which he’s declined to do this far. Call his editors at 212-975-4321, press the option for “Local News,” and they’ll connect you.

      1. bluedog says:

        hey ryan. what corrections do you believe should be made? how should this piece be changed? just curious.

        1. Ryan Bagwell says:

          His entire argument is fundamentally flawed, but but specifically, the following statements are patently false:

          “Heck, cheating by ten bucks on your income tax is an error in judgment. But ignoring child rape? ”

          Paterno ignored nothing. He told his bosses what was relayed to him. Even if you believe he ignored it, Paterno didn’t even know the full extent of what allegedly happend in the showers in 2002.

          “Jerry Sandusky is accused of raping boys at Penn State, while employed by Penn State, and while reporting to Joe Paterno.”

          Sandusky retired from Penn State in 1999. All of the alleged rapes occurred starting in 2002. Sandusky maintained an office in the football building, but he rarely used it and rarely crossed paths with Paterno. They weren’t friends, as some have erroneously reported.

          “No, Paterno didn’t do the deed, but he knew the deed and did nothing about it. ”

          Again, he didn’t do “nothing about it.” He told his bosses, and expected them to handle it properly.

          “Paterno knew Sandusky had an inappropriate interest in boys in 1998, at the latest.”

          It’s been reported many times that Paterno wasn’t told of the 1998 investigation, which didn’t result in any charges. Paterno himself has said he knew nothing about it.

          And then I’ll mention this statement, which isn’t wrong, just horribly wretched:

          “Lesson 4: Die before you really have to talk about it.”

          Paterno died from small-cell lung cancer, an agressive form of cancer that is usually found in smokers and very hard to treat. Surgery is not an option. Only chemotherapy and radiation treatments are an option. The cancer metastasized, which is why he died to quickly. Not because he didn’t want to talk about his role in the 2002 incident, which he did on his death bed of all things. What kind of a person would write something like that? Someone who has a lot of problems for starters.

  9. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

    Did any of you Paterno supporters consider that, given his status in Pennsylvania and seemingly the entire country, Joe Pa could’ve filed and won a suit against Penn State for wrongful termination if he’d actually had a case to make? But he didn’t, and he knew it, and instead the issue wore on him and no doubt contributed to, well, another early termination.

    1. JK says:

      Indeed, Jonas. Hardly a coincidence that he died so quickly after being fired, shamed, and (occasionally) blamed for his role in the Sandusky horror.

      I refer to Sully’s equation: naked 55-year-old man (already investigated for child molestation) + naked 10-year-old boy + shower + slapping sounds = call cops. Paterno didn’t.

    2. Mayor McCheese says:

      Good point, but the apologists would just say that JoePa wasn’t the sort of person who would sue Penn State. He had too much class for that.


  10. JK says:

    A typical Paterno Apologist – deflect, deflect, deflect. And then insult, insult, insult. Make it about me, or anything but Joe Paterno.

    And heaven forbid you tell the group why your hero isn’t culpable in the Sandusky case. Or perhaps you’re preparing your perfect argument now, laced with logic beyond our comprehension.

    We’re waiting…

    1. JP says:

      They have NO FACTS theyre too gutless to look at the grand jury report.
      Ask yourself some questions Paterno cultists.
      What about that boy in the shower? why didnt the “leader” Paterno check up on what happened?
      What about the kids Sandusky raped after Paterno failed to act?
      How would you feel if it was YOUR son,Grandson or Nephew in that shower that Paterno failed to protect.?
      Im waiting………………………………………………
      never hear a response.
      I went through all my nike gear yesterday and gave it to the Homeless Veteran Shelter that I volunteer at.
      Phil Knight and the rest make me sick.
      By The Way great line by Blackledge who said “Paterno found other things for his assistants to do” Yeah like rape little boys.

  11. GoBack toCollege says:

    An article full of supposition by a writer. One can always write and judge anything in retrospect and then pretend to know what is right and what is morally wrong.

    The only difference between this writer and a chimpanzee is a chimpanzee has a better logic.

    1. Mayor McCheese says:

      When you say “this writer,” clearly you are talking about yourself.

      Stop drinking the Kook aid.

  12. JP says:

    What the Paterno cult fails to see is that he had the chance to be a real hero and go above and beyond and save kids. and he passed the buck. he cowared down and shut his eyes.
    you cant have it both ways either he was justy a football coach who did what was right within his powers.
    or he was this great king that the eulogists have painted him to be.
    If he were truly great he wouldve stood tall and STOPPED Sandusky.
    he called the AD. Joe Paterno was a coward. pure and simple

    1. JK says:

      You nailed it, JP.

      And that’s the horrific irony to this whole thing. Paterno thought he was being heroic by protecting the brand, when in fact the opposite is true. Had Paterno made one call to the right cop, he would have forever etched his legacy as an icon.

      There were two doors from which to choose, and he chose the wrong one, and God knows how many more kids were raped as a result.

        1. Ryan Bagwell says:

          You guys have a great love fest going on. I guess it’s easy for ill-informed people to pate each other on the back. It’s hard to man up and write corrections though.

  13. Mayor McCheese says:

    I have to agree with you Jason. You hit the nail on the head.

    I would add one other thing and you may not agree with this given that you make your living writing about sports, but I find the entire episode at Penn State to really be an indictment on big time college sports. At Penn State and many other bit sports schools, the coaches of these teams take on a god-like position in the minds of the school’s community – much as in the case with Paterno. It reinforces my beliefe that athletics (beyond intramurals) really has no place in academia. I live in Connecticut and it burns me up everytime I hear about our tax dollars going to pay for some facility for the UConn Football team or basketball teams. This kids come to places like UCONN and Penn State from outside of those states, play a few years and then go to the pros. the money spent on them could be much better used for academic purposes. I would be much more impressed if UCONN has a #1 academic ranking rather than a #1 basketball ranking.

    Paterno was a football coach. Big deal.

    1. JK says:

      I agree with your sentiment, Mayor. But I think it’s a matter of scope. In other words, Paterno was a unique autocrat of a football fiefdom, on the level of Bear Bryant. Thankfully, there will be no more of those because of this tragedy.

      Your point about the rampant hypocrisy in big-time sports, however, is well taken. As long as you produce, some rules won’t apply. But I don’t think child molestation will be among them. We can’t stop the more nuanced transgressions, like payoffs and such, though I think we can live with that if it means the more heinous crimes are thwarted.

      1. Mayor McCheese says:

        I hear what your saying, but – and obviously this is an extreme case – why don’t we just have the NFL and NBA develop minor leagues like MLB and NHL. that way, those teams can be supported and great high school players will have a proper place hone their craft and hopefully make it to the bigs. then, the schools could focus on their real purpose – academics and funding and donations could go to that. Hypocrisy will then be eliminated. Let them compete for great physicist and mathematicians, not running backs.

        1. JK says:

          Excellent point, Mayor. My solution would just be to pay the college players. Title 9 makes that impossible, but it’s the best option, in my opinion. The Fab Five made countless millions for Michigan, yet some players had to ask reporters for pizza money. (Chris Webber aside, of course, who most definitely got paid.)

      2. CW says:

        I live in State College, and am disgusted and sickened by the Penn State culture of cover-up.

        Unlike most of your readers, I am not a football fan and I never thought Paterno god-like. I find it interesting that a game can create such a climate of mass hysteria; that belonging to a university football “family” satisfies some need that lasts well past the alcoholic haze of the university years. For a bystander it can seem like a form of cultism. The Penn State Scandal has and continues to exemplify disturbing cult-like behavior. Recently a friend wrote to say: “Unfortunately, this entire episode reminds me of Jonestown in Guyana in 1978.” Just waiting for the Kool-Aid …

        Over these past months, I have been thinking about infantile projection, how it sums up the Penn State mindset in toto. The term Infantile projection is used with respect to religion, but the definition works in this instance :

        “The fantasies which overwhelm our rational thinking are in their essence the fruits of a mental image which is there to compensate for disappointments or psychological anxiety. When freed or emancipated from all restrictions and external taboos, these fantasies give a free reign to imaginary fictions which gradually develop and solidify into an influential narrative with far-reaching implications on our lives and way of thinking. It gives birth to all kinds of monsters, gods and demons.”

  14. Nick Reiner says:

    Is there really a comparison between accomplishments on the football field and a complete moral meltdown?

    When given the chance to do the right thing, Joe P failed the greatest test of his life.

    Does anyone dispute that Paterno knew that Sandusky was raping young boys and didn’t do enough to prevent these evil actions from continuing?

    A sports hero is different than a real life hero. Somebody who saves lives at the risk of losing his own is a real life hero and Paterno wouldn’t have had to risk his life to save some of the future victims once he was aware of what was going on.

  15. JK says:

    Yes, sir, it is indeed an attack on Joe Paterno. Nothing gets by you, buddy. Amazing how Paterno was so lucid and heroic in every part of his life, except for the whole Sandusky thing. And Paterno gets a pass because you say so? Must be nice to have such powers.

    You may now return to your Paterno Prayer Group.

  16. Mike Smith says:

    Its irresponsible columnists like you, who spread their opinions as fact that continue to change America to a “guilty until proven innocent”. society. You are condemning and judging a man for another man’s ALLEGED crimes. Do I think the evidence against Sandusky is strong? Yes. Was he found guilty in the court of law. NO.

    Joe Paterno was a great man, plain and simple. What he has done for thousands of people, whether in the PSU family or not goes to show that he was a man who deserves our respect. Unfortunately though, he failed to grasp the severity of this issue and that was absolutely wrong. I agree with you there.

    Everyone points to his quote “I should have done more.” But that is out of context. The full sentence he wrote or spoke was “WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT, I SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE.” All of us have the benefit of seeing the big picture, seeing the heathen Sandusky is accused of being. Joe was deceived over these years by a monster.

    This entire 2002 episode is filled with terrible mistakes in judgement. When Mike McQueary went to Joe instead of the police, that was the first mistake made. And when McQueary did not give Joe the graphic details, that was another mistake. Joe made a mistake in trusting this issue with other people and not handling it himself and I believe that was something he felt terrible about.

    I also love how you say that Paterno didn’t want McQueary to get more graphic and changed the subject….where did you get that from.??? That is false. There is no evidence to support your statement. Its actually the contrary. McQueary testified that HE did not want to explain the graphic nature of what he witnessed to JoePa out of respect (look it up).

    Your column is an attack on Joe Paterno. There’s no other way to say it. It makes me sick that people like you have jobs as columnists and are allowed to voice a biased opinion based on distorted facts that are continually perpetuated in the media. I’ve never read an article by you before and I assure you I will never read your garbage again.

    1. JDD says:

      What a joke. Nothing about Joe Paterno makes him “a great man”. He won some football games. Hooray. He felt so terrible about the entire “2002 episode” that he let Sandusky hang around on campus until the scandal was reported. You’re damn right the column is an attack on Joe Paterno. It is necessary because people like you are deifying a reprehensible human being. It makes me sick as a Father and as a human that people like you are completely blinded to a person’s character because he had success coaching football. Cancer let him off easy.

      1. Ryan Bagwell says:

        Did you really just say “Cancer let him off easy?” What kind of wretched human being writes stuff like that?

  17. JK says:

    Well, Alex, it seems I have no facts and I wanted Joe Paterno to die. This is just the opening act, of course, and I hope you stick around for the rest. If not, I wish you and yours a lovely weekend…

    1. Ryan Bagwell says:

      You don’t have any facts, which is why I’ve asked you to write corrections. I’ve called you editor and done the same. I’ll continue to call until I see them. You should man up and do it before I get you fired.

  18. Alex P. says:

    This whole dialogue reminds me of the HBO movie “Recount” about the 2000 election. Amidst ceaseless talk of hanging chads, dates of certification, absentee ballots, scopes of jurisdiction, political sentiments, what is fair and unfair, people’s ulterior motives, etc., Kevin Spacey’s character yells in indignation “I really want to know who won it…who won it!!!” This scene depicts a situation in which the enormity of the people and powers involved eclipsed the simple recount task that put the whole affair in motion.

    I see we are at the same Kevin Spacey moment in this Penn State scandal, where we run the risk of mistaking the forest for the trees. All this talk of who has the facts and authority to pass judgement, what is the writer’s ulterior motives, how do we weigh on-field accomplishment against personal failings, what constitutes greatness, etc., misses the unsettling bit of truth that got us into this in the first place. If I may channel my own Spacey for the moment, “I really want to know how this could happen…HOW COULD IT?!!!”

  19. KAREN says:

    Look at Rob K , J. Corcoran and Oj Simpson now.???????? Did you also think Casey Anthony was innocent????????????

    1. Robert Richardson says:

      The sad fact is nobody’s opinion will ever change in here. If one blindly sides with “The Co-signer”, it is out of this sick, blind loyalty to football or they have their “own” demons they’re wrestling with. At worst he was an accessory after the fact and in essence a “co-conspirator” by allowing these acts to continue. NO way can a man in his mid-70s say he never heard of a man inserting his penis into a boys rectum but in the same breath be “uncomfortable” with the notion of them “wrestling” naked in a shower. And this was a an educated man in charge of the development of young men’s lives???? COME ON!!! oh btw, he would know when his players were failing, cut class, or be late??? yeah right He check himself out before all the crap he shoveled on this story to protect his “brand” was about to fly back and drench him. But I guess I’m a bastard for speaking ill of the dead. R.I.P. “JoePa” glad you wasn’t my dad or grandfather

      1. JK says:

        Wow, RR – you brought it today. And you brought it strong, earnest, and honest. Thank you, sir!

    2. JK says:

      Heh. Indeed, Karen – they’re all out looking for the REAL killer.

  20. JK says:

    The army of Paterno Apologists is strong, and I don’t pretend to have the capacity to deter it. But with your help, that of the heretofore silent masses, I may make a microscopic dent.

    Thank you, CK, CW, and the rest. Let the zombies follow Paterno, truth be darned.

  21. Lawrence Kwasny says:

    obtain the complete facts and then put an article together, you are completely biased an obviously a PSU/Paterno hater. Most likely you never were able to interview him and you now carry a vendetta, This great man made a statement I wish I could have done more; all of us should lead our lives making that same statement at the end of each day and we would live in a better place; perhaps we could have helped a homeless person, perhaps we could have helped a child not go to sleep starving and on and on; but you must be perfect so you choose to continually put out the crap like this utterly disgusting article. I guess past presidents of our country are wrong along with other great politicians, coaches from all sports, religious leaders and the common man in paying tribute to a man who always put others before himself. Shame Shame Shame on you

    1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

      You yourself said that Paterno said, “I wish I could have done more.” I think that speaks for itself. That is Paterno admitting that he did not do enough – and did not do that enough for decades. Jason Keidel is not a PSU/Paterno-hater – if you’d read the actual article, you would understand that. He is merely a judge of character, from purely a moral standpoint and this is the easiest question you can answer: do you or do you not support someone who turned a blind eye to child rape (allegedly)? Guess who also answers no? Joe Paterno! He himself, as you said, wishes he could have done more. By the way, “could have” is a lame phrase, because he certainly could – he was (and still might be) the most powerful man in Pennsylvania. He could have done more, but he didn’t. Bottom line.

    2. JK says:

      Thank you, Jonas. Believe it or not, there’s a large group – Penn State grads or not – who know the truth but are afraid to convey it. It’s our job to help them.

    3. CW says:

      Lawrence, pull your head out where the sun shines and use your mind to think rather than bleating “we are penn state”, ad nauseum. The shame falls not on those who speak truth, but on all who fail to accept the Penn State football program and Administration have more serious and far-reaching problems besides Paterno and Spanier being fired.

  22. tiredofknowitalls says:

    What a bunch of crap…

    “(And if you don’t think Paterno knew about the ’98 report on Sandusky, just go away.)”

    That says it all. Make up a story and go with it… If you think any of this is that unequivocally simple, that black and white, whether at Penn State or anywhere else that such abuse happens…

    1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

      Do you have evidence to the contrary to support this claim, tiredofknowitalls a.k.a. Mr. “I’m too afraid to put an actual name down?” It is people like you that this article was aimed precisely at. Think about this for a moment: ever since Joe Paterno began at Penn State, he knew exactly what was going on with every one of his players, whether it be their grades or any trouble they got into, from the most remote to the most severe (this has been alleged by many in *support* of how great a coach Paterno was over the years). But, as you seem to believe, he was not notified of a report on his own top lieutenant possibly molesting children, a crime much more severe both in volume and sheer awfulness, and yet the next year his top leitenant “resigns” in the peak of his recognition and career?

      On the off chance that you actually read this comment and don’t just skip to attacking me, think about what I said, dig realllllly deep down into your mind and ask yourself if Joe Pa, in all his regret over wishing he’d done more, didn’t know ANYTHING about 1998.

  23. Anne says:

    I think you stink! You sanctimonious b******. Just come out and admit it you’re
    glad the man is DEAD!!!

    1. CW says:

      Anne are you smoking something funny? Check your facts. I don’t believe I read here that anyone is glad Paterno is dead. It’s just that those of us not blinded by bleating loyalty to the “Nittany Nation” , the Number 1 Party School and the Penn State mob are able to see that there is far more to the story than simply the passing of a football coach. No matter how beloved, sanctified, deified and glorified, the shrilling praise does not undo the fact that even though Paterno reported up the purported food chain, it is not remotely possible he was unaware of Sandusky preying up on little children. That he allowed this to continue is unforgivable. His legacy will always include The Penn State Scandal .

      1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

        Nailed it, buddy. Thanks.

    2. JK says:

      On the contrary, Anne, I wish he were alive so that perhaps he might muster the truth in one of his more lucid moments.

      If you read carefully, I said his conscience killed him – which I still believe.

      Feel free to return to your Paterno Prayer Group.

  24. CK says:

    Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

    1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:


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