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. Proverbial Shoe CIA/FBI

    We've all seen the FBI warnings of unauthorized duplications of movies. Those who are aware of youngsters under the age of 18 being rayped yet fail to alert official law enforcement are guilty of duplicating the crime. In therapy groups where youngsters and oldsters alike recover from abuse, we call them 'enablers' for making it all possible. We should have FBI warnings posted at every church, school, youth group facility, abortion clinic, etc. ad nauseum. WARNING: You goto prison for failing to speak out. Throw Paterno in prison and make him our 'poster boy' old man. Take his picture after the sodomites are done with him and put it on every warning sign. (ps "hags" are old ladies who live on these blogs and shred every thread where I post anti-enabler info) Youngsters are more urgent than home videos. Sign the already written Victory Act into law, Mr. President, and let the CIA legally waterboard these dirty old men and the women who enable them. Thank you in advance.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jayfrog

      Good idea and the law should be retroactive too.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. BMI's Fatso©: Over-Under edition

    Has anyone seen the interviews of Paterno's or Sandusky's significant others? Nor have I. We talk about these men knowing but not telling from the time they began using Penn's Second Mile youth program as a pool of boys to choose from...let's not only see what those who have been indicted have to say, but also what their wives and lovers have to say. No? Do you think that you could be married to a child rayper for 20 years and not know? (without being an enabler living in denial, I mean)

    November 9, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Francisco Cruz

    All this was allowed to happen for only one reason and that is for the sake of playing and coaching the game of Football, it's ironic that the bible teaches of pagan societies that sacrified there children on the altar to other God's how are we any diffrent when we see this a permit it to happen to our own children, just for the sake of a game! or a program! how will God hold us accountable for this!! he gives us children and we willing sacrifice them on the altar of the game of Football

    November 9, 2011 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Had I been in Paterno's position, I think that the allegedly molested boy would have been the first person I wanted to interview.
    Sometimes jealous employees lie about each other.
    I think that, next, I would have consulted my superiors and told them that I would call the police if they didn't.
    Paterno should not be in need of money.
    I don't know all of the forces that may have influenced Paterno.
    There is some reason that he didn't contact the police about a child's molestation. Maybe the reason was doubt.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. slider

    Michael Jackson could have taken these boys home for the weekend if only he knew they were available. For counseling purposes only that is, nothing else I'm sure.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Allie Marino

    Legally, an individual is complicit in a crime if they are aware of its occurrence and have the ability to report it, but do not. He should have gone directly to the police. Why let the university cover it up? It seems he was more concerned about his job than about what was happening to the boy. He allowed it to go on by not reporting it to the police. He is not an innocent bystander in the matter.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • dele

      Here say does not necessarily translate to awareness

      November 9, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Paterno's fault?

    How many of you responders actually read the GJ report? And why are you crucifying Joe Paterno? From the report, Joe was told of the incident by a Graduate Assistant – a discussion we are not privy too, BTW. He didn't witness it, but Paterno took the action to report the incident to his superiors. Remember, he is a football coach, not unlike any other coach at the university, that reports to the Athletic Director. He did his part, was told that it would be taken care, and then went back to doing his job. It is not his job to police the university. Why didn't the GA report the incident to police? After all, he witnessed the incident? And for all those "Holier than Thou" types out there, how many of you would say anything to authorities? Remember the recent story of a two year old Chinese girl that was a hit-and-run victim – twice. How many people just walked by her as she was dying in the street?

    November 9, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Diz, 10:38:
    Don't be so sure that a man in his 80s is not sharp.
    One of my greatest piano teachers married his second wife at 84 and was intensely aware of everything, in addition to bring that many years of experience to his work.
    Old does not mean senile.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Allie Marino:
    I am not "aware of" a crime's occurrence just because an employee or student of mine tells me that it occurred.
    I would not call the police because "somebody said" a crime occurred.
    Singers tell me that singers near them sing flat notes when that is a lie.
    There are also times when a group of stupid singers think that a single singer is above the pitch because they are flat and only one singer is in tune with a piano (which cannot change its pitch).
    I don't believe everything I hear.
    I don't believe that every altar boy who says a priest molested him was actually molested. In my city there is an ongoing case of a a RC priest's being accused, probably falsely, to get a settlement. The parishioners are standing behind the priest, and I think that the accuser will ruin his own credibility.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. CIndy

    Why hang Paterno? The Graduate Assistant is the one that should have been the first line of defence for this young boy. He could have tried to stop the molester, scream for help, do anything he could to get the boy out of there. Also should have been the first to go to police. We don't know if Paterno went to police, and the campus police let it go, or exactly what happened. Hind sight is so clear. All of us today can say what we would have done, but without being privy to all the truth, I can not place blame on Paterno.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I should have written, "in addition to bringing," not "in addition to bring."

    November 9, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kwikmill

    I am completely disgusted by the alledged actions of Sandusky and the administrators who did not handle the allegations properly. As far as Joe Paterno goes people need to leave this man alone. I commend the thousands of students who have rallied behind him, and I urge all the Penn St faithful both past and presnt to do the same. The University says they want to do the right thing, well guess what persecuting JoePa is not the right thing. He has helped make Penn St what it is today.If Paterno is forced out I think the players all of whom are there because of JoePa should stand up as a sign of soldarity for their beloved coach. In the movie Rudy his team stood beside him, and told the coach if Rudy can't play, then I'm not either. One by one they turned in their jerseys as a sign of solidarity. Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger became the most popular Notre Dame Football player ever. If Paterno is forced out, and the players walk out right along side him it will cost the University millions. I for one think that if anyone should pay it should be the school, and not the iconic man that has made it. I too am a father and believe justice needs to be served. But JoePa on a platter should not be what we're serving.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    @JIF:
    We think very similarly.
    I feel badly for the boys SANDUSKY molested, I hope their recovery is facilitated by a good support system and therapy.
    Seeing their molester punished may help; I don't know.
    I don't think continuing to storm Paterno's castle calling for his head is going to change that fact that these poor kids were molested.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Diz Denooch

    The anti-Paterno sentiment here is nothing less than an absolutely disgraceful witchhunt. Those of you who have become frenzy-crazed media sheep are building a counter-productive movement directed entirely at the WRONG person. You are actually deflecting the focus away from the school officials who were formally accused of having covered this up, and WHO HAVE BEEN INDICTED for doing so. Your calls for Paterno's resignation are creating such a distractive firestorm, that you are essentially discouraging any other possible victims from stepping forward into your arena of biased and opinionated accusations.

    The fact that people continue to point fingers at Joe Paterno, despite the fact that PATERNO WAS THE ONE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY ALERTED SOMEONE ABOUT THIS, shows how blinded by the media hype you have become. Shame on each and every one of you. Shame on the media for putting Joe Paterno's picture along side each of the headlines for sensationalism, and shame on those of you who have used your pre-existing hatred for Paterno to add fuel to the fire.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • DougP

      Wow, you have gotten even more deluded.

      November 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kwikmill

    @ Diz Denooch............................ Thank you!

    November 9, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
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