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. MEP

    And what about the district attorney who was on the case who mysteriously disappeared? Oh, I'm sure this had nothing to do with it, right? His laptop found in the river with no hard drive?


    November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucy

      I think I remember. Will you tell me more about that? Wow!

      November 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MEP

    This issue surfaced enough during the years that Paterno heard about it more than once. When one person says you're crazy they might be wrong. If ten people tell you you're crazy, they're probably right. If one person "said" he saw something, that could be a lie. If it comes up year after year, incident after incident, then there's probably something there and something should be done. Ick.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jack

    How incredible that thinking people would not insist Joe step down immediately. This is like watching a car accident and then helping the person out of the car and leaving them on the side of the road and saying, "I helped them out. I did what I was supposed to. I wasn't under any obligation to do anymore." C'mon people! Who cares about football? This has to do with character and if we don't care about that anymore than this nation is one flush away from going down the toilet! Joe, get a clue and quit today!! Maybe a meeting with all the victims will give you a dose of what your real responsibility was!

    November 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucy

      Good points, Jack.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Doug

    Joe is getting railroaded ,this should laid at the feet of the President of Penn State no Joe p.I have a grandson who has been told his whole life he will attend Penn State after this witch hunt he will now attend university of Florida.Happy valley will no longer be Happy

    November 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    He knew, and he put his job and university politics over doing the right thing. He cared more about his career and his buddies than the kid who got molested. The people who look the other way are just as guilty of abuse as the perpetrators. If he, or any of the others who knew, had spoken up to the police and followed through, how many young boys could have been saved from a life of confusion, self-loathing and mental illness? Shame on you Mr. Paterno, and shame on all of you who would forgive him because you love football more than the children of strangers. What is if was your child who could have been saved?

    November 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DougP

    Penn State press conference: Paterno gone immediately as well as Pres Spanier. Sucks but these guys really made some serious mistakes. Only question I have now is did the '98 incident and investigation factor into Paterno telling Sandusky in '99 that he was not going to be head coach and Sandusky then retiring?

    November 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lucy

    Good, Joe Paterno is not gold and needed to be let go immediately along with anyone who heard of this abuse. I am proud of Penn State's Board of Trustees. They did not cave to football pressure.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      You are right to say Joe had to go. I am a Penn State Fan and a Joe Paterno fan but he had to go. What I am wondering though is why is the man who witnessed the event taking place is still going to coach at the game on Saturday? He did the same thing, witnessed the event taking place, went to his superiors and reported nothing. Left it in the hands of his superiors also. He needs to go!

      November 10, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. breeze6843

    Apparently, innocent until proven guilty doesn't matter in the court of public opinion.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • DougP

      From the PSU alma mater code: ""let no act of ours bring shame"
      They don't really need a further investigation to make these moves when these guys have already testified themselves as to what they did and did not do. They are pretty much hung by their own words. People think there is some kind of rush to judgement. The grand jury investigation took years and heard hundreds of hours of testimony.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    An old axiom attributed to Peter Drucker applies here: "It's more important to do the right things than to do things right."

    November 10, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  10. di Franco

    I believe Joe Paterno did the RIGHT thing to report the incident to the directors of Penn State. I believre he did the WRONG
    thing in not following up the actions of the directors of Penn State.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. zzyyww

    As a teacher, I am LEGALLY OBLIGATED to report suspected abuse – that means I have to make the call. I don't go to my supervisor, principal or superintendent & pass the buck. I make the call. More importantly, as a person, I am MORALLY OBLIGATED to help a child in danger. I'm glad they were fired & hope all others involved in the cover-up will face consequences as well.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Alan

    I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
    -Elie Wiesel

    November 10, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • hey hey

      great quote

      November 10, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cory Clubsaretrump

    This is about Coach Paterno, but where do I start? The problem is, that in life's big questions, there are no ten-word answers, rather answers that require days, weeks and months of inquiry, reflection, and consideration.

    We have just witnessed the insatiable beast that is the American media destroy in four days what took sixty-plus years to achieve.

    As I watch the continuing coverage of this debacle I am disgusted. Disgusted because the true criminal in this debacle is being ignored. That monster sandusky is sitting in his living room getting the last laugh. sandusky is sitting in his living room with no TV cameras following his every move. sandusky is now plotting with his defense attorneys how to spin this in court, claiming the media coverage will deny him the right to a fair trial. (ask Joe and Sue Paterno if THEY got a fair trial.)

    Right now there is an as yet unknown number of young men trying to go on with their lives. Remember them when you go to bed later. Remember them you must, because the media beast has ignored them, ignored them to chase false glory (ratings) in the destruction of a noble man.

    I dread this Saturday. It will be difficult and surreal. I hope by some miracle the self-serving board of trustees will reverse it's decision, but we all know that won't happen.

    So we will go and mourn the end of a major impact on our lives.

    But having reflected on what he taught, and continues, even in this darkest of hours, to teach us, we will wipe our tears, clear our throats, and in one voice again, raise that most cherished of cheers:

    WE ARE....... PENN STATE!

    November 10, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Lee Palmer

    We are not going to agree on this one.. I think the good he did way out weighs this. Especially since he was NOT silent. He reported it at the time to someone he really trusted to do whatever was needed. He did not DO the act, He did not SEE the act, He was not TOLD about the act from the Victim and he DID report the freakin hearesay. They need to crucify Sandusky and leave Paterno alone!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. hey hey

    Football coach or not he did that to my kid I would ring his F..... NECK!

    November 10, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
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