Overheard on CNN.com: Readers weigh in on Paterno
Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is facing calls to resign amid a sex abuse scandal.
November 8th, 2011
04:33 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers weigh in on Paterno

Comments of the day:

“JoePa needs to GoPa.” –Peter
“I always thought we were innocent until proven guilty?” -Flipturn

Penn State coach under fire

Amid allegations that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys in a Penn State football facility – one incident was reported to coach Joe Paterno – some are calling for the 84-year-old head of the Nittany Lion’s resignation or firing.

But CNN.com readers were torn. Although many said Paterno should have done more than report the incident, others said they believe Paterno did what he thought he was supposed to do.

Withpeace said, “Sadly, it comes down to choices. Joe Paterno chose to set the standard of excellence – a code of honor – for Penn State. Yet, when a true test of moral and ethical judgment was put to him ... he failed and betrayed every honorable thing he ever did. In the end, all we have is our honor and Mr. Paterno is not an honorable man for allowing children be put in harms way to save a monster.”

Joan said, “He should admit that he didn't do enough, and apologize at the very least... then at the end of the season he should retire. He's had a great run... leave with dignity but leave none the less. His reputation will always be scarred by this and rightly so. How would anyone feel if their child had been victimized and it could have been stopped if he had been more forceful and followed through with making sure there was an appropriate investigation? Very disappointing to say the least.”

College players dad said, “There is no way in hell I would want any of my sons currently playing for other teams to be recruited by any college team with a coach that lacks moral grounding such as Paterno is showing now. Parents with sons that have committed to this program should think twice about sending them to Happy Valley this fall. FBS, the NCAA and college sports in general are a mess. This is just another example of it all.”

Calijoe said, “On the story as I have it so far, Paterno should definitely NOT quit. He was given a single unsubstantiated, uncorroborated report. He reported it to the athletic director. His actions were correct. That said, America and its press love vengeance, so he'll probably be forced out.”

Jason, Chicago IL said, “Paterno stood by while one of his coaches was raping children. ‘Stepping down’ is the very least of what he should do.”

PSU Alumini said, “Joe did report this incident. It was brought it to the attention of his superiors. Joe Paterno has done nothing wrong. He is not guilty of any wrong doing. This is just a smear campaign to destroy his reputation. Be very careful ‘Mass Media.’ This is called slander and defamation of character. Legal action will be taken against you.”

Jnpa responded, “@PSU Alumni...I totally agree. The witch hunt is on for Paterno. Everyone wants to bring down a ‘big guy.’ ”

Earl Weaver said, “I'm very disappointed in Paterno. A feeling I never thought I would have. Joe is the last person on the planet I would ever think would be associated with something like this. It would be like a scandal involving your grandfather. Unfortunately, it's all about winning. Joe needs to step down. So sad.”

Tom said, “I'm no Penn State fan by any means but this it total BS! The man did not witness this alleged incident. He was told by a graduate assistant of the incident. Remember the blade of justice is double edged and anyone who knows anything about employee law etc. knows that there are strict policies about how these things are to be handled. Knock this witch hunt off and focus on the perv who did the deed!”

Al T responded, “Well, gee Tom. I would think, and I hope most people would think, that you err on the side of protecting a child. Now I'm starting to think that I'm in the minority on this one. The janitor didn't do it. McQuery didn't do it. Paterno didn't do it. Curley didn't do it. Schultz didn't do it. Spainer didn't do it. Obviously, you wouldn't have either. Thus, again, the reason why such a travesty can occur.”

Jnpa said, “It has come to a point in all these discussions and media columns that Joe Paterno is as guilty as Sandusky. People are getting it all wrong. Some even think that Paterno was the one who saw them, and others feel that Paterno is the athletic director. I think things are getting completely out of hand.”

Clarke said, “Well, Joe told his boss which is correct. His boss dropped the ball and when that happened, Joe should have then taken action. I wonder if it had been their own child what would they have done. They should both step down or be let go. Shame on them.”

Stef said, “He did the very minimum by reporting to his superiors...the minimum, something he would NEVER accept from one of his players, thus allowing this freak to continue to abuse kids. Shame on him. And I say this as a Penn State alumni.”

JOHN LANE said, “Shame on Penn State if they force out Joe Paterno. He will be the fall guy at 84 years old, when the head of the athletic department WAS TOLD BY PATERNO AND DID NOTHING. BUNCH OF BS!”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. chris jackson

    The school received a complaint in 1998 that Sandusky was showering naked with a boy from the child's mother. There is no way that Paterno was not told of this incident. It was investigated and swept under the rug. Penn State and the DA should be held accountable for each incident that occurred from that time period on. Is it really a coincidence that Sandusky retired the in 1999? As the head coach of a very powerful program, if his assistant coach, who everyone expected to succeed him, was being investigated, Paterno was well aware and therefore was not honest with the grand jury. Excellent coach – Absolutely. Upstanding Person – Absolutely Not! Unfortunately it is possible to be both.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bigwilliestyles

    Everyone, from the graduate student to the university president, needs to go. Before this incident, none would have considered themselves stupid. However, based on the evidence presented, all are. If you're that dumb, you deserve to lose your position. This is an upper tier university! 'I didn't know what else to do' just won't cut it for ANYONE from the grad student on up.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. chris jackson

    I have to wonder why that same grad student is now a part of the coaching staff. Just how far does this entire cover go? I agree with BigWillie..they all need to go!

    November 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. shove your focus on sandusky where the sun doesn't shine

    It's notabout Sandusky nor is it about Paterno. It is about our own Supreme Court not allowing US to charge men like these who raype just boys be charged with statutory raype. PERIOD. You people are mostly a bunch of parrots posting your own personally spun opinions mixed with those spun by your fav talking heads. Nothing but a bunch of blab.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    @Diz Denooch:
    No, thank *you* for reading my post and seeing what I was trying to convey.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shove your focus on sandusky where the sun doesn't shine

    Let's all pretend like old men raypeing boys isn't as nationwide as our obesity epidemic. Sound good?

    November 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Diz Denooch

    For those of you calling for Paterno's head, I wouldn't be surprised to find that you have family dating back to Salem, Massachusetts...circa 1692. You seem to hold those torches and pitchforks so naturally.

    November 8, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. shove your focus on sandusky where the sun doesn't shine

    Yeah, speak out on Sandusky but remain ignorant of Supreme Court decisions that protect him from being charged with statutory raype. If straight men raypeing girls who are less than 18 were protected by law, you gay sympathizers would scream bloody murder! Equal rights for men who lust for young men! Charge these "men" with statutory raype and let them sodomize each other in prison RATHER than sodomizing our boys.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    @Diz Denooch:
    I wouldn't necessarily call that something to brag about...

    November 8, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DougP


    November 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alex M

    Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and these men have the right to due process. But if these allegations are true, it would have shown that Joe Paterno was in a position to have stopped this behavior from continuing. Mr. Paterno could have prevented the future egregious actions. It also would've shown that Penn State allowed a criminal to continue to be involved in the daily lives of young men when they had knowledge of these actions. The fact that Joe Paterno might have reported it to an athletic director does not let him off the hook. He most certainly had the power to bring more light on this. Turning a blind eye on something so serious is almost as serious as the crime.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DougP

    Diz, it's not a 'formula' and it doesn't change it one bit. Every educator should know this. It's pretty basic stuff which is why it is amazing that these guys messed this all up so badly.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diz Denooch

      It's so sad to think this, but I really feel that the majority of the people calling for Paterno to resign are using this scandal as an excuse to amplify their own pre-existing criticism. The actual offender has now become the secondary story, as have the victims. It's a darn (damn) dysfunctional shame in America when a person who had the sense to report an incident he was not even a witness to, is somehow also held responsible for that incident by a blame-happy public fueled by the ad-selling media.

      November 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. shove your focus on sandusky where the sun doesn't shine

    Just because there are good and bad men in the CIA doesn't mean we should close the CIA down. Get a clue those of you who never shed a tear for these boys...especially when they grow up to be angry (hurt) by people whom NEVER shed a tear. Cry for complete stranger celebrities at their funerals...not one single tear has been shed on this entire blog for these boys. Not even one. Tears are what purify the heart, literally. Prion proteins dissolve fatty tissue and chemical compounds that attack the heart and are then channeled to tear ducts. It is only a hardened heart that has trouble producing tears. now go take your meds that kill prions... and pop another xanax to relax your muscles enough to breed that donkey you heartless old hags.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • As a biochemical researcher I have to say

      What in the sweet F are you talking about??

      November 9, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. Proverbial Shoe

    I just threw a proverbial shoe on the floor. Let's see what hag lady finds that it fits her.. It might not fit you perfectly, but but if you open your piehole wide enough with your reply...

    November 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Proverbial Shoe

    The police don't make laws dillrod. Laws are legislated and then can be twisted by the Supreme Court's opinions. And in the court's opinion, old men whom raype just boys should NOT be charged with statutory raype. Looks like that shoe on the floor fits you nicely.

    November 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Again, I have to ask

      WHAT ???

      November 9, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
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