Jay Paterno, author of Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father, dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Thursday night to discuss his tireless crusade to absolve his father of wrongdoing in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
“I think the Freeh Report did a lot of damage and there was no evidence to back up his – what Freeh even himself said – were reasonable conclusions,” Paterno said on The DA Show. “There was a narrative out there that my father was involved in some way of trying to shield this guy or cover up. The prosecutor in this case, in the Jerry Sandusky case, was asked point blank if Joe was involved in the cover up, and he said no, and there’s no evidence that he was. In fact, the attorney general’s office said Joe was honest, forthcoming, cooperative and was not involved in anything. But that’s not what a lot of people believe because that’s what they have been fed – and I understand it. The facts of the matter will emerge over time. That’s what’s taken up some time.”
The NCAA dropped the hammer on Joe Paterno and Penn State in the wake of the Sandusky findings, banning the Nittany Lions from bowl games for four years, imposing massive scholarship reductions and fining the university $60 million. The NCAA also vacated all Penn State victories from 1998 through 2011, removing 111 wins from Paterno’s 409-win resume.
The NCAA, however, eventually rolled back some of its penalties, including the postseason bowl ban. In fact, the Nittany Lions played in – and won – a bowl game last season, beating Boston College, 31-30, in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Does the rolling back of penalties vindicate Paterno a bit?
“Well, I don’t know if ‘vindicate’ is the right word,” Paterno said. “But certainly the more people dig into how this was handled and the more people are starting to look at what was thought to be factual – they sold that investigation as independent. We now know that the NCAA was involved in that – advising Louis Freeh on how to investigate. Penn State was involved in it. It was supposed to be an independent investigation. We know a lot of different things now.
“So certainly we feel like we’ve gotten the ball inside the red zone, but we still have to punch it across the goal line to get the complete truth out,” Paterno continued. “(But) certainly a lot of things the NCAA has done in rolling things back – despite the fact that they don’t want to say it – it’s certainly an indication that they’ve come to grips with the fact that they probably got this wrong and they rushed to judgment on this.”