The Paterno family is trying to restore the legacy of Joe Paterno and have responded to the Freeh Report by former FBI Director, Louis Freeh. The family conducted their own investigation and maintains that Joe Pa was not complicit in a cover-up of child sexual abuse by former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
“The Freeh Report reflects an improper ‘rush to injustice,'” the Paterno family critique says. “There is no evidence that Joe Paterno deliberately covered up known incidents of child molestation by Jerry Sandusky to protect Penn State football or for any other reason; the contrary statements in the Freeh report are unsupported and unworthy of belief.”
Unworthy of belief, indeed.
I have great compassion for the Paterno family because they must be confused themselves. They know and believe Joe Pa would never do anything like cover up and suppress evidence with such serious implications as the rape of a child or abuse of other children. I have compassion for them because they want to remember their father for all the good he did and not for what he did; or, in this case, what he didn’t do.
The family is focusing on the wrong thing.
It’s not the Freeh Report. When it comes to the legacy of Joe Paterno you can take everything in that report and throw it out the window. None of it matters to me.
Joe Pa’s legacy was destroyed the moment he made the decision to pursue justice by not going directly to the police, the proper authorities. Joe Pa had a sobbing Mike McQueary in his office, recounting what he had seen Sandusky do to a boy in the showers. That’s where this story begins and ends.
What do rational, intelligent, unencumbered human beings do when somebody tells them they witnessed a man murdering a boy’s heart in the showers?
The first thing they do is say, “What!” The second thing they do is pick the phone up and call police — the real police! You don’t tell your superiors and expect them to handle the situation. You immediately call the police and hand the phone to McQueary. Immediately!!
And this is why Joe Pa will always be respected in the Wolfley Compound as a football coach that made a tragic mistake but not revered as a man: if it was his grandson being sodomized in the showers that day, would he have said, “What!” and then called the police?
If Joe Paterno answered that question by saying, “no, I would have handled it exactly the same way” he is the Devil incarnate.