The Commish: Joe Paterno Is As Big A Scumbag As Anyone At Penn State

By Cassandra Khan, CBS Tampa
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Late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. (Doug Benc/Getty Images)

The nightmare just keeps on coming for Penn State, as the Freeh Report was released Thursday, proving that former Penn State officials and late head coach Joe Paterno, covered up Jerry Sandusky’s serial child molestation ways for many years. “Nobody should idolize what Joe Paterno stood for. Good football coach, sure, but there’s more to being a football coach,” said Justin Pawlowski on his show The Commish after hearing the findings of the report. “Now, we find out that he knew exactly what Jerry Sandusky had been doing all the way back to 1998, and emails confirm that. Paterno, along with everyone that turned a blind eye at Penn State, will find themselves in a world of hurting for an eternity. Joe Paterno is as big a scumbag as anyone at Penn State.”

Louis Freeh and his firm released the 267-page report after an eight-month inquiry. “According to the report, the evidence shows that these four men (University president Graham Spanier, VP Gary Schultz, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Paterno) also knew about a 1998 criminal investigation of Sandusky relating to suspected sexual misconduct with a boy in a Penn State football locker room,” said Pawlowski. This was the first incident brought to the attention of the officials, which they had at first denied knowing.

During the Sandusky trial, Mike McQueary, an intern at the time of the incident, testified that he reported to Coach Paterno that he had seen Sandusky in the shower having inappropriate sexual contact with a young boy in 2001. “When McQueary reported what he saw in the shower at Penn State, Paterno told him ‘you did what you had to do, it is now my job to figure out what we want to do,’” Pawlowski said. “Based on the evidence, the only intervening factor made on February 25, 2001 by Spanier and Curley, and Shultz to report the incident to the Department of Public Welfare, and then agreeing not to do so on February 27, was Mr. Paterno’s February 26 conversation with Mr. Curley.”

In an email written by Tim Curley that determined the men would not turn Sandusky in to the authorities, Curley told Spanier that “the humane thing to do in this situation was to carefully and responsibly asses the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations.”

“Now, we find out that wasn’t the first time they heard allegations like that, and for them to say they had to find the ‘humane thing’ to do after that 2001 incident, well the humane thing to do was to lock him up,” said Pawlowski. “If they don’t cover it up in 1998, and they report him the way they should have, and he’s in jail, he does not abuse the many children that he abused between 1998 and 2011.”

Before his death Joe Paterno said in an interview that in hindsight he wished he would’ve done more to stop Sandusky’s abuse. “Of course he said that. When you get caught, hindsight is always 20/20. If he had never gotten caught, he would’ve never thought in terms of hindsight,” Pawlowski said.

Some have come to the aid of the late coach, most famously Matt Millen of ESPN and a former Penn State linebacker. “For Matt Millan to continue to sit on ESPN and say that Joe Paterno didn’t have much say because there were people more powerful than him telling him what to do is asinine,” said the Commish, “When you go to any university and they have a football program the stature of Penn State’s, the football coach is not just a coach, he is king of the athletic portion of the university, and almost king of the university himself.” For that Paterno’s legacy must include him turning his back on the Sandusky victims.

Said Pawlowski, “Jerry Sandusky will always be the foremost and most to blame, but for each of those children that were traumatized for the rest of their life and abused, can first blame Jerry Sandusky, but can now look at the other men named in the report, including Joe Paterno, and blame them almost as much.”

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