Former Penn State player: 'This is something Joe wouldn't tolerate'
Freddie Scott II, seen here playing in 1994, ranks among Penn State's top 10 in career receptions and receiving yardage.
November 9th, 2011
03:02 PM ET

Former Penn State player: 'This is something Joe wouldn't tolerate'

Former Penn State University players have come to their old coach's defense amid news that Joe Paterno will be stepping down in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving one of his former assistants.

Paterno's detractors are alleging the players are faithfully circling the wagons, just like any program would in the wake of the defamatory developments disgracing the university this week, but one ex-Nittany Lion says that isn't so.

Former NFL player Freddie Scott II was en route to a panel discussion at a Baptist children's home in Nashville on Wednesday when he took time to chat with CNN via telephone about his coach and alma mater. The panel was scheduled to discuss the church's role in helping children at risk.

Scott, who played under Paterno from 1993 to 1995 and is considered one of the school’s best-ever receivers, concedes that, to a degree, college football teams have a culture of protecting the program.

At Penn State it’s different, he said.

There, it's not about money or fame. There are no names on the backs of jerseys in State College. There is no logo on the helmet. Players go there because of tradition. They go there to play for a legend, he said.

“It’s a school where you go because of what Penn State stands for,” he said, and you’re protecting the program because of that legacy, not because of individuals.

Paterno teaches players that no individual is more important than the team, Scott said, adding he’s seen senior starters benched for failing tests in school.

Scott said he didn't want to speculate on what Paterno knew and what he should have or didn't do. What Jerry Sandusky is accused of doing is “repulsive and inexcusable,” and Scott said he can’t believe Paterno would have turned a blind eye to it.

“I’ve seen people kicked off the team for less. I’ve seen guys punished for not making it to breakfast,” he said. “This is something Joe wouldn't tolerate.”

Video: Paterno greets supporters

Paterno focused on “doing the little things right,” whether it was waking up on time, working out hard or making grades. Paterno had assistants who would travel around campus making sure the football players were attending class, he said.

Scott, who played for the Nittany Lions when Sandusky was defensive coordinator, said no players with whom he’s spoken ever suspected the longtime Paterno assistant would use his position and influence to take advantage of boys, as was alleged in a 40-count indictment this week.

“This is something that none of us would have expected. None of us saw any tendencies, any clues,” he said. “We never heard a whisper of anything being done inappropriate.”

Scott was interviewed shortly after Paterno announced he will retire at the end of the season. The coach called the abuse allegations “a tragedy.”

"It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more," Paterno said.

Scott said Paterno's departure marks the “end of an era where college athletics was about the student-athlete,” an era in which the student part of student-athlete was just as important as a young man's speed and physical attributes.

SI: Did Paterno break the law?

“What coach today in college athletics would say, ‘I know this guy is fast. I know this guy’s a game changer. I know he can help us win, but he can’t pass the SAT’?" Scott asked, explaining that Paterno regularly passed on recruits who didn't meet his academic standards.

In a way, it's ironic the Sandusky affair resulted in the end of Paterno’s career, he said.

Paterno kept his players out of the media. There were no inflammatory remarks before games, no braggadocio after. Even if they beat their opponent by 50, players were instructed to tell reporters it was a hard-fought game, that they were fortunate, that the “ball bounced our way,” Scott said.

“That was our script,” he said. “You play the game on the field, not in the media. He tried to keep us out of the media by doing the right things.”

If Sandusky is guilty, anyone who facilitated or ignored what the assistant coach was doing should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, Scott said, but he can't believe Paterno would betray a young person.

Scott, who today is a spokesman for the Christian-based All Pro Dad, which aims to make men better fathers, likened Paterno's “life of character and integrity” to that of ex-NFL coach Tony Dungy, who helped start the organization.

Scott said he isn't ready to assign guilt yet in the Sandusky matter, but he hopes Paterno can continue to work with and influence kids, something he believes gives the coach of more than six decades purpose.

“I’m hoping that Joe will be able to find a way with the university or an organization to allow him to continue to have a positive impact on young people.”

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Filed under: College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy, and anybody else who knows me:
    Please revisit "Wednesday's Live Events" for my IMPORTANT CORRECTION re "affair."

    November 9, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    I feel extremely bad for the children Sandusky harmed. He should have the book thrown at him.

    That being said, forcing Joe Paterno out in shame because he didn't do enough is ridiculous.

    Those who take this quote,
    “It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more,” people think that he is somehow confessing to knowing about it.
    I disagree.
    He's saying something completely different, for who wouldn't do more, no matter what it is, if they had hindsight, or more aptly, a do-over?

    November 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • UraDooosh

      Penn St alum huh? The Ohio State fans defended Woody back in the late 70's too when he clothes lined that Clemson player. But that was a grown man and another who couldn't control his temper. This is about a man who looked the other way and ignored what he saw. Shame on the doodering old fool.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Offbase Doosh. He "saw" nothing. He witnessed nothing. Typical that you have the story wrong, but are quick to blame.

      He was "told" something happened. And he immediately reported what he was "told" to his superiors. As the DA said, he did nothing wrong.

      That said, yes, I wish he would have pursued the matter, and followed up on actions against Sandusky. Would have been a far better action out of him. But don't insert lies into this story.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daddy2010

      "he did nothing wrong." Perhaps nothing legally wrong. Morally wrong? Absolutely. I bet the children who were molested after this incident are comforted knowing his doing "nothing wrong" allowed them to be molested too.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotty501

      No one is as blind as the person who refuses to see. Your idol was told by a distraught student exactly what happen. He was more interested in keeping in quiet in the "best interest" of the school. So what if it destroyed a bunch of kids lives.
      Banasy..wake up, get you helmet on and get in the game of reality

      November 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JeffInSanAntone

      Quick note: Sandusky had a similar incident in 1998, when a mother of a victim phoned him and Sandusky ADMITTED "showering naked with boys." The grand jury report says there was "a lengthy police report" about the incident - why wasn't Paterno made aware of it? Why did Paterno, after being told by McQueary of Sandusky's conduct, put him on administrative leave until he found out what the truth was? Paterno could have done so much more - and if Sandusky, in trying to reduce his sentence, starts "singing like a canary," we may come to find out just exactly who knew what, when, and why no one talked. Sandusky might just yield up Paterno, if he did indeed know.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perok

      How do these idiots like Scotty know what McQueary said to Paterno? just keep making stuff up I guess.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Thanks, JIF.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. UraDooosh

    Apparently he may not tolerate it but he certainly ain't gonna report it either.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      U really need to read about this more. 90% of your arguement is wrong u have no clue what u r saying...

      November 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Nope, not a Penn State alum, just a person with rational thinking skills that doesn't have to do with anyone's agenda.
    Just an opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. zeber

    u gotta be kidding me...he allowed a 10-year old boy to be sodomized in his locker room.... this man was morally bankrupt years ago...pity the fools how never saw it

    November 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trinka

      He didn't allow anyone to do it; if anything, the dooosh who caught him in the act allowed it, seeing as he didn't stop it RIGHT THEN AND THERE!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • PSU

      zeber don't make it like JoePa saw this happening and turned a blind eye to it. An accusation was presented to him and he took it to his boss and the man who was in charge of the Penn State police. If you want to be disgusted with someone let it be the 28 graduate assistant who walked in on the act did nothing and walked back out leaving the poor kid there.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perok

      Your an idiot. It wasn't in "his lockeroom"- Sandusky had nothing to do with football he was retired for 4 years- McQueary didn't tell him til the next day- we don't even know what McQueary said.... yet you seem to know everything? I guess you should have stopped it, sounds like you were there?

      November 10, 2011 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I have no interest in Paterno at all.
    However, within the limits of what the public knows, I understand why he acted as he did, and I give him the benefit of any doubt.
    I've commented on his actions in other places on this board, and related his efforts to what I think I would have done.
    I hate seeing a good and very successful man's reputation ruined by highly emotional irrationality.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotty501

      a mans reputation ruined?? how bout many childrens lives ruined?

      November 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daddy2010

      Yes, his reputation is what's important here. Not the molested children.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. greg

    jesus christ, i think it is hilarious that everyone blames him for not telling police, but NO ONE blames the grad student. he could have saved alot of head aches if he would have grown a pair and just told the cops. if you blame joe pa for not calling the police, then you MUST blame the grad student for not calling the police. its that simple

    November 9, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotty501

      Maybe the student should have called the police. The kid was distraught after seeing something so vile and probably did know how to handle it. He told a key ADULT member of Penn State.....that was his mistake

      November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daddy2010

      Don't worry Greg. I blame the grad student for not calling the police. I blame the grad student for not stepping in to help the child. And I blame Paterno for not calling the police.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nobody

      Yes, Paterno did report it. Maybe he did what he could and should. But whether anything was done or not, he knew the guy did something, and he still let him use his facilities as recently as last week? No, he isn't the police, but he is in charge of the facilities, and he let the guy hang around. He knew enough to make sure the guy never came back, and that is a fact.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • agnuke1707

      @scotty501 – He wasn't a KID, he was a 28-year-old man. Distraught, sure, but had the sense enough to call his dad. His dad did f-all, just told him to tell Paterno. Paterno then told his boss. He didn't see what was going on, he heard it from a member of his staff and went up the line. You can argue until you're blue in the face that he should have done something else, but thank God we don't all live in your irrational world. Please, save your righteous indignation...

      November 9, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike

    I went to work late last night and saw a guy who used to work there sodomizing a young boy in the copy room. I went home, but the next day I told my boss and then he told his boss and we washed our hands of it. But we're both in the clear, right? I mean, we did our "legal" duty. Just like the honorable JoePa. What a world.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RobN

    "Paterno teaches players that no individual is more important than the team"

    Apparently that goes beyond players to include small children. Team first, individual children a distant second.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. USMC88

    My guess is that when it's all said and done, there are plenty of other things that will be brought to the light that we thought JoPa would never tolerate. Penn State better stand by, because the school is about to be scrutinized at a level it has never seen before and for which it is not prepared to handle. JoPa's clean cut image is going to take a serious hit!

    November 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • PR1958

      Gee nothing like making inflamatory comments. What do you know that you are so sure other things will come out? Maybe there isn't anything and maybe he is one of the last few decent and honest people who made a major misjudgement by not taking this further than his boss. I bet though than all these holier than thou people commenting on what he should've done would've done exactly what the assistant did, walk away and leave it to someone else to handle it, because he sure as hell should've grabbed that kid out of the shower and ran straight to the police

      November 9, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • indepvot

      pR1958- Another victim reported to police the other day, more WILL come out. Paterno not only tolerated the abuse of children, he kept it a secret.

      And quit using the grad asst a scapegoat. He reported to Paterno, Paterno as supervisor, under PA law, was required to notify police. Paterno passed the buck, and for that, PATERNO CHANGED HIS LEGACY TO ONE OF SHAME.

      November 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. val

    Any and everyone involved needs a good doing over from Buba!!! Pay backs are what?

    November 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vincentvega

    It's Obama's fault!

    November 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Many here are manufacturing drama by exaggerating Paterno's role.
    It does not make anybody superior to a famous man to twist a situation and put him a bad light.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nadean

    @ Joey, I read the correction, LOL I understood what you were trying to say in the first place, It's all good sir!
    @ banasy, did you get my answer on the info you wanted? and liked your post about the Hubs,very sweet. 🙂

    I'm crashing after the Movie and won't be posting till the weekend, see ya all then fellas

    November 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
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