Joe Paterno's legacy in the eyes of Penn State fans is never going to change. But Louis Freeh's latest round of gathered information in the Jerry Sandusky case does not do the legendary head coach any favors.
Freeh and his firm have been working on a report into the Sandusky case for nearly eight months, looking into what happened when and how, and who knew about it.
According to Freeh's press release regarding the investigation, Paterno had knowledge of an investigation into Sandusky back in 1998 and failed to act:
The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno’s.
None of them even spoke to Sandusky about his conduct. In short, nothing was done and Sandusky was allowed to continue with impunity.
Where do you begin with this? The more information that comes out, the more horrifying this whole thing becomes.
Paterno was supposed to be the face of Penn State and a leader of young men. The report says that he knew of an investigation into his highest-profile assistant coach, but he did nothing, for reasons known only to him.
The release also mentions the conversation Paterno had with Mike McQueary after McQueary told him about the incident with Sandusky in the shower:
"You did what you had to do. It is my job now to figure out what we want to do." Why would anyone have to figure out what had to be done in these circumstances? We also know that he delayed reporting Sandusky’s sexual conduct because Mr. Paterno did not "want to interfere" with people’s weekends.
If Paterno had any kind of positive legacy left, all of that is gone after this report. It doesn't matter what he did on a football field or with graduating players. Nor does it matter how much charity work or money he donated to Penn State University.
Paterno clearly had knowledge of a situation involving one of his assistant coaches endangering the lives of children. He failed to act because he didn't want to ruin someone's weekend.
Congratulations, Mr. Paterno. Everyone at Penn State had two days off without having to worry about anything. Paterno's legacy, or whatever was left of it, is tarnished forever.