Outgoing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Discusses Joe Paterno's Firing

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2014

AP Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who recently lost his bid for re-election, admitted his role in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky abuse scandal—including the firing of longtime head coach Joe Paterno—probably played a role in his political defeat.

Angela Couloumbis of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Corbett now believes it was probably a mistake to let the Penn State legend go in the manner the university trustees did. He states that decision shifted the focus from what Sandusky did to what Paterno may not have done.

"They probably shouldn't have fired him. They probably should have suspended him," Corbett said. "He probably should have been given the last three games, not on the sideline."

He served as attorney general during the scandal and has faced years of criticism for his role in the removal of Paterno.

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 09:  Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno watches his team during practice on November 9, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Looking back now, Corbett says it's impossible to know if the head coach, who was fired in November 2011 and passed away two months later, knew the full extent of Sandusky's conduct.

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"But I'm not so sure it was clear to him," Corbett said. "And, technically, he complied with the law."

Corbett had previously stated that the lack of action caused him to lose confidence in the school's leadership and Paterno as leader of the football program.

As for why he didn't discuss the issue publicly amid criticism during the campaign, he told The Philadelphia Inquirer that decision was made not to reopen old wounds.

In September, Josh Moyer of ESPN.com reported Penn State's postseason ban would end this season and the full amount of scholarships would be returned next year. The NCAA previously had levied unprecedented sanctions in the wake of the scandal.