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February 13, 2013

Direct Kick: Paterno report still doesn’t change my mind

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — “No, no, no. It’s weak. No one’s gonna buy it, and you shouldn’t be selling it.”

Elaine Benes to Jerry Seinfeld in “The Foundation” episode of “Seinfeld”

That’s how I felt when the Paterno-family report came out, a report that was meant to discredit the Freeh report on Jerry Sandusky and the cover-up by Penn State officials, including Coach Joe Paterno.

The family released the report findings Sunday morning. This report, mind you, was bankrolled by the Paterno family and had one agenda in mind: To clear JoePa’s name. Heck, the title of the report says it all: “The Rush To Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno.”

Now I’m sure the Paterno family wants to believe the late coach was treated unjustly by the Freeh report. I don’t. The Paterno-family report claims that the Freeh report unjustly and wrongly excoriated Paterno for his alleged role in a cover-up relative to the child sex abuse scandal involving former long-time Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Basically it said Joe didn’t know much, and of what he knew, he told his superior, athletics director Tim Curley.

Then what? He went on about his daily business, while Sandusky was still allowed access to the Penn State facilities, where some of his crimes took place, including the incident that  Mike McQueary told Paterno about involving Sandusky and a young boy in the Lasch Football Building showers in February 2001.

Right then and there Paterno should have informed the police. Not the campus police. The state police and child services. As a father you would think he would have wanted someone like Sandusky brought to justice swiftly.

But he didn’t want to see his longtime friend and coach get into trouble. Neither did other officials at Penn State. No, they didn’t want a scandal or black eye on the university.

But that’s what they got, and much, much more.

Yes, both reports have flaws in them. The Paterno report, despite what the family wants you to believe, isn’t perfect. And neither was Joe Paterno.

Now there’s talk of lawsuits against the NCAA for the penalties it handed down on the university. Give it a rest folks. Take your medicine. Quit behaving like children. Own up to what happened. The whole Sandusky mess happened on Paterno’s watch. Ultimately he was responsible. He could have turned Sandusky into the police; instead he turned a blind eye.

SPORTS@sentinel-echo.com

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