Penn State Scandal: Joe Paterno's Statement Fails to Clear the Air

Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterNovember 6, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Head coach Joe Paterno talks with the media following thier 27-11 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide at Beaver Stadium on September 10, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

There is plenty of blame to go around in the child sex abuse scandal that has enveloped the Penn State football program.

First and foremost, you have to blame former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who perpetrated the crimes. Then you have to blame athletic director Tim Curley and VP for business and finance Gary Schultz, who essentially covered up for Sandusky.

Longtime head coach Joe Paterno's role in the scandal must also be questioned. He has not been charged with anything, but that does not mean he is entirely blameless in this case.

On Sunday, Paterno addressed the situation via a statement, which can be read in full on

The key passage, though, is this one, which touches on the moment Paterno was informed of Sandusky's misdeeds with a child in the Penn State football locker room in 2002:

As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky... I referred the matter to university administrators.

In so many words, Paterno had no idea that Sandusky had done anything sexually explicit, as the witness failed to specify. 

The problem is that Paterno did not demand specifics. Instead of finding out for himself exactly what happened, he passed the matter on to his superiors and basically washed his hands of it.

If this is how things panned out back in 2002, Paterno did not act sufficiently. He is not guilty of any crimes, but his apparent indifference at the time is now being used as a plea of ignorance.

Because of that, we still have more questions than answers surrounding Paterno's involvement in this case.

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