Sunday, April 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Column: No rescuing Paterno’s reputation

By
From page B1 | February 11, 2013 |

Go ahead and read all 238 pages of the Paterno family report, if you’re so inclined. People who believe Joe Paterno’s statue should still be standing in Happy Valley probably will, and feel pretty good about it at the end.

The summary weighs in at just four pages and does its job of giving Paterno a posthumous cleansing, too. Turns out he was a trusting sort who knew nothing about anything — and no one else did, either.

Or just read this headline and save yourself a lot of time: Critique of the Freeh Report: The Rush to Injustice Regarding Joe Paterno.

Pretty much sums it up, though widow Sue will go on Katie Couric’s show Monday to make sure everyone understands. A year after his death, the campaign to resuscitate Joe Paterno’s name is under way with a hefty document that savages the Freeh report implicating Paterno as a silent enabler of Jerry Sandusky as “rank speculation, innuendo and rhetoric.”

Was there any other way this was going to turn out? Months in the making and paid for by the Paterno family, this is as much a public relations campaign as it is an answer to accusations against him.

You have a former FBI director; we’ll top you with a former attorney general. You say JoePa knew things and conspired to keep them silent, we’ll say there was no conspiracy at all.

At times the defense of Paterno is almost laughable, such as this from former FBI profiler Jim Clemente: “Paterno, like everyone else who knew Sandusky, simply fell victim to effective ‘grooming,'” Clemente wrote.

Utter hogwash. Paterno himself would have probably said the same thing if he was as honest with himself as the family contends he was with others.

There are no excuses for not following up on Mike McQueary description of the sickening things he saw in the locker room showers of the Lasch Football Building. No way of getting around the fact Sandusky was allowed to hang around the locker room for years after that, molesting who knows how many other young boys.

And no special dispensation for any of it simply because Paterno was a coaching legend who ran not only a football program, but a university and a town.

Not that you can blame the family for trying. The legacy that Paterno so carefully built up over 46 years as head football coach at Penn State was left in tatters by the scandal, and they’re trying desperately to restore his good name.

What they don’t understand is that Joe Paterno is not the real victim here. What he lost in the final months of his life surely pains the family, but it was the cult of Paterno itself that created the atmosphere that allowed a monster like Sandusky to roam freely.

The young boys who were sexually abused by Sandusky are the true victims. They’re the ones who pay every day of their lives, while trying their best to erase terrible scars that just won’t go away.

Sadly, no one can write a report giving them back the innocence Sandusky stole while Paterno reigned supreme at State College.

If you believe the Paterno family report — and it is an impressive, though flawed document — former FBI director Louis Freeh acted as “judge, jury and executioner” when he was hired by Penn State to deliver the definitive report on the involvement of the university and its officers in the Sandusky scandal. Freeh concluded last July that four of the most powerful people at Penn State — including Paterno — failed to protect children from Sandusky for more than a decade as part of an effort to protect the university and its reputation.

“That bell can never be unrung, but the many associated errors can be corrected,” the Paterno report states.

Just what those errors are is a bit unclear, though former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh took particular offense in his portion of the report claims by Freeh that Paterno did not have empathy for the safety of children. Not only did Paterno like children, Thornburgh wrote, but made sure to participate in a Penn State dance marathon charity for children with cancer and was a supporter of the Special Olympics.

So Paterno wasn’t some kind of monster after all. Glad we could get that cleared up.

The bottom line is the Freeh report wasn’t perfect. It jumped to some conclusions, and took some liberties that would not hold up in court.

That’s what prosecutors do, but it’s important to note that Penn State both accepted the report and has implemented changes recommended in it. The NCAA waited just 10 days after its release to impose landmark sanctions on Penn State that include $60 million in fines and a four-year postseason ban on football.

Nothing in the Paterno report is going to change that. If Freeh was the prosecutor, Thornburgh and others are the defense attorneys, trying their best to declare Paterno innocent in the court of public opinion.

But the bottom line of the Freeh report was accurate. There was a core of top university officials that knew things and didn’t act.

And there were children who paid for it. Young boys who paid dearly because the people in charge didn’t stop Sandusky when they could.

The Paternos may find it hard to swallow because they can’t reconcile it to the man they knew, the man who over the years became a near deity in State College. And certainly some people will agree with them that Paterno was the scapegoat for a scandal, an old man railroaded and unceremoniously dumped by the very university he loved and served so ably on the football field.

Unfortunately for them, the statue that once stood outside the football stadium is not coming back.

And neither is Paterno’s reputation.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Children enjoy day of fishing at Fairfield pond

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Solano cities celebrate Earth Day

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Hard-fought battle ends in victory

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Those addictive, terrible, wonderful smartphones

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Expo shows Kroc Center fun for whole Framily

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Police, faith groups look to change troubled neighborhoods

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Edibles in your landscape

By Daily Republic | From Page: C4

CHP offers free class for senior drivers

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Supervisors consider changes in various county fees

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

Suisun police execute tobacco sting

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

 
Covered California offers Solano enrollment events

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Patrons raise a glass to toast a good cause

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Walk MS hits stride along Suisun waterfront

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weather for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Be wary of next ‘big’ thing

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Pay close attention to investment costs

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7

 
.

US / World

With legalization, lawyers turn to business of pot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Remains of dismembered newborn found in South Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Starbucks stores reopen Saturday after computer glitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Nearly 17 million watch Jenner interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Operation Babylift’ kids, soldiers reunite 40 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Aden hit by coalition airstrikes amid fierce street battles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mother in custody dispute freed after 8 years behind bars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

A dozen arrested as Freddie Gray protests turn violent

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italy marks 70th anniversary of anti-Nazi uprising

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

European authorities stop illegal horse meat network

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Italian navy rescues 274 from migrant ship off Libyan coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Army shutting down wounded warrior transition care units

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Warrior pose: Yoga catching on as therapy for veterans’ PTSD

By The Washington Post | From Page: B10

Toll climbs after powerful quake hits Nepal: Things to Know

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

How can we give them more?

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Primary challenge could force Harris’ hand

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Sound off for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Corruption tarnishes values of our ancestors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Obama sides with enemy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Who’s asleep at the switch?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in history: Sunday, April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Brides show short wedding gowns more of the love

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Community Calendar: April 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Vatican goes on offensive to defend US-Spanish saint

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
You get what you need with Jesus

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3

 
How can I trust my husband after he texted a younger woman behind my back?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

Horoscope: April 26, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Veterinarians are too expensive, and it puts pets at risk

By The Washington Post | From Page: C5

Old standby body-weight training still has moves

By The Washington Post | From Page: C7

 
Milan spiffs up for Expo 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: C7

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
More copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir being printed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Amber Tamblyn writes book of poetry about dead actresses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Giants beat Rockies 5-4 in 11 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors complete sweep with 109-98 win over Pelicans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Athletics drop 3rd straight game, 9-3 to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rain postpones NASCAR race at Richmond until Sunday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bulldogs get 10-0 baseball win over Panthers

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Canadian teen Henderson has 1-shot lead in LPGA Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Klitschko outpoints Jennings to defend heavyweight titles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Michael Schumacher’s son makes strong Formula 4 debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
US routs Canada 7-2 in semifinal at under-18 hockey worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Watford back in Premier League after 8-year absence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Several Kentucky Derby hopefuls get workouts in before rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Levy falters at Volvo China Open; 4 tied for lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former Expos executive Jim Fanning dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam team to lead Legends of Golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Compton, Day top leaderboard in rain-plagued Zurich Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suzuki breaks Oh’s record for runs by a Japanese player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
A’s place Ben Zobrist on disabled list with knee injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

7 players from Royals, White Sox punished by MLB for brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Bicycle racing, youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Bowling report for April 26, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Bayless’ layup at buzzer gives Bucks 92-90 win over Bulls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Nets beat Hawks 91-83, pull within 2-1 in series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Grizzlies hold off a late Trail Blazers rally to go up 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Sports on TV for Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

 
This date in sports history for April 26

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Veggies take center plate as healthy fast food chains expand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
What’s in a hotel name? Guests try to decipher the mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Is ice cream safe? Federal health officials say yes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
 
Don’t panic, college seniors: Jobs for grads likely to grow

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Cepeda

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Janis Ruth (Sefzik) Skinner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Nicole Herdia Spann

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Reginald Morris Davis

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Kirk Noonan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sandra King

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics