[Moderated by Matt Jones]
I don’t know why the Penn State case has interested me so much, but for some reason something about it just didn’t sit right with me. Obviously the crimes of Sandusky are deplorable, I think that goes without saying, but I seriously never understood why this particular story stuck with me in such a profound way. I don’t really care about Penn State football, and quite frankly I never really cared about Joe Paterno; I mean, yeah he coached for a long time, blah blah blah…. well so did Adolph Rupp. But then came the Sandusky scandal, and things changed. It bothered me that a FOOTBALL COACH could be held responsible for such terrible crimes that ultimately fall under the jurisdiction of University Administration. No matter what the headlines said while the story was dominating the national media, there was always a side of me that felt that Joe Pa got a bad rep during this whole thing. People asked me about the Penn State thing, they asked me A LOT (I’m the political/legal guy among my friends and Penn State blended that with a sports element so it was often discussed) and every time I could only say “I don’t see how this is Paterno’s fault.”
I saw on ESPN’s bottom line a couple days ago where the Paterno family had finally compiled a critique of the Freeh report. For those of you that have been kickin’ it with John Clayton at his mom’s house, the Freeh report was the basis for
big brother the NCAA to bring “draconian” punishments to Penn State and has been the incriminating doctrine that completely destroyed the Paterno legacy. I really try not to get on a soapbox for anything; my dad tells me I sound like Jimmy Dykes when I do, but I have to do it today. I took the time and actually READ the Freeh report, all 267 pages of it… and then I read the Paterno family critique. The Freeh report is garbage, there I said it. The legal students would call it obiter dictum, but for us common folk just know that the Freeh report is full of unsubstantiated statements of opinion that serve no purpose towards the actual investigation. The report assumes the feelings and motives of key figures in the scandal without supporting those assertions with facts.
On page 14 of the Freeh report, he states that the situation regarding Jerry Sandusky was mishandled and the failure ultimately rests with four key figures: President Spanier, Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Schultz, Athletic Director Curley, and Head Football Coach Joe Paterno. Freeh states that they, “…failed to protect against a child predator harming children for over a decade… [and] these men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees… there was a striking lack of empathy for the victims… and they exposed child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky of what McQueary saw in the shower on February 9, 2001.” Freeh goes on to explain that these individuals concealed vital information in order to avoid bad publicity that would stem from an allegation of sexual misconduct towards children. If you continue on, the report does do a pretty good job of showing a culture of concealment, but this culture stems from only three of the individuals under investigation: Schultz, Spanier, and Curley. The report does not provide a substantial amount of evidence against Paterno, and at one point on page 15, Freeh concedes that, “… the subsequent removal of Paterno as head football coach was mishandled.“ Ummm…. ya think?
Until today, that’s all we had: the Freeh report. This report, which has been described as incomplete and inaccurate, led to the utter destruction of Joe Paterno, and Penn State University as a whole. Luckily for objective sports fans everywhere, the Paterno family still has some fight in them. The family corroborated with former United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, former FBI Prosecutor Jim Clemente, and Fred Berlin M.D. PH.D to release the report entitled Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno. I really don’t want to jump to conclusions, as I’m sure that more information will surface, but look… the claims in the Paterno rebuttal completely contradict the Freeh report, and is presented in a much more objective framework.
Both of these reports can be found on ESPN.com and I suggest you give them a read if there’s a part of you that desires the truth. Some might call the newly released report some type of conspiracy theory, but if you can get past what has been shoveled down our throats by the national media, then maybe you will realize that there are some glaring weaknesses in the destruction of Joe Paterno.
Here are some of my favorites:
“King & Spalding’s Critique of the Freeh report, which incorporates the independent analyses of these three prominent experts, concludes that the Freeh report is deeply flawed and that its conclusions as to Joe Paterno are unfair and unsupported.”
(1) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone not to investigate fully the allegations in 2001 (2) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone, including Dr. Spanier and Messrs. Curley andSchultz, not to report the 2001 incident, and(3) Joe Paterno never asked or told anyone not to discuss or to hide in any way the information reported by Mr. McQueary.
Joe Paterno reported the information to his superior(s) pursuant to his understanding of University protocol and relied upon them to investigate and report as appropriate.
FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL DICK THORNBURGH (worked with Freeh at DOJ):
“In my opinion, the Freeh Report is seriously flawed, both with respect to the process of the SIC’s investigation and its findings related to Mr. Paterno.”
“This lack of evidence supporting the Report’s most scathing findings and the serious flaws with respect to the process of the SIC’s investigation cause me to conclude that the Report’s findings concerning Mr. Paterno are unjust and wrong.”
MR. JIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI PROSECUTOR (HIMSELF A VICTIM OF CHILD MOLESTATION)
“There is no other way to say it: on the most critical aspects of the Sandusky investigation, the SIC report is a failure. It does a tremendous disservice to Penn State, Joe Paterno, and the victims of Jerry Sandusky.”
“Paterno, like everyone else who knew Sandusky, simply fell victim to effective ‘grooming.’ [Grooming is a dynamic process of seemingly innocent, positive public behaviors by the offender, aimed at gaining the trust of the targeted child, parents and the community.] As an expert behavioral analyst and based on my review of the evidence, Paterno did not believe that the information he received
from McQueary amounted to Sandusky being a predatory child sex offender.”
DR. FRED BERLIN PHD, MD, JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL AND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
“I have not seen evidence supporting a conclusion that Joe Paterno had acted in bad faith, nor have I seen evidence supporting a conclusion that he has ever been a man who lacked a genuine concern about the wellbeing of others — including the wellbeing of children.”
“In my professional opinion, there is absolutely nothing about the way in which Mr. Paterno had led his life, or about his characterological makeup, that would support the unsupported inference that ‘in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity,’ he had been one of the ‘powerful leaders’ at Penn State who had ‘repeatedly concealed critical facts related to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.’”
“Joe Paterno had known very little about the extent of the acts for which Mr. Sandusky had subsequently been convicted. In my judgment, given his history of a life well led, and of good character, and in light of the unsubstantiated nature of the inferences against him, to conclude that for any reason he would have been unconcerned about the well-being of children, would require turning a blind eye to the values that he had consistently demonstrated, and to the essence of what his life had been all about.”
AND THIS IS FOR JAY BILAS:
“The NCAA improperly relied on the Freeh report in compelling Penn State to enter into a “consent” decree and accept draconian penalties. Only eleven days after the release of the Freeh report, and without conducting any factual investigation of its own, the NCAA announced severe sanctions that deeply impacted the University and the community. The NCAA circumvented its established enforcement mechanisms and violated its own due process rules. It never identified a single infraction of NCAA rules based on Sandusky’s crimes, much less an infraction by Penn State that implicated the NCAA’s jurisdiction and core mission of ensuring competitive balance in amateur athletics.”
Again, I’m not going to jump to conclusions, but it’s about damn time that somebody makes a claim contrary to the Freeh report. Paterno made it his life to promote and protect young men in his football program and it just doesn’t make sense that Joe Pa would protect a child molester. Here’s a tidbit of information: Joe Pa and Sandusky WERE NOT PERSONAL FRIENDS. That’s right, Paterno didn’t even like the guy, so why would Paterno abandon his entire value system to protect Sandusky?
Everything about this story makes me sick, everything. There’s a special place in hell for people like Jerry Sandusky, and one day he will answer to his maker for the crimes he committed, and there’s no doubt that the REAL victims here are the people that were directly assaulted by Sandusky. But I can’t help but feel that Joe Paterno was used as a scapegoat in this scandal and is an indirect victim. This is going to be a story worth keeping up with, and I really hope that the tarnished legacy of Joe Paterno can at least be partially restored.
Think about it, comment, ask questions.
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