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. mmi16

    What a lynch mob mentality this sorid mess has turned into. Let's not find out the true facts, let's assasinate one's character based on partial statemens and inuendo....what the hell – he's a old man and all he's ever tried to do is run a clean program that wins. How reprehensible.

    Well the lynch mob has succeeded.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
    • DK

      I agree with you. So sad. A knee jerk reaction. I really doubt Joe knew this was going on. Sad day for him.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • alice58

      innuendo - dude, this isn't inneundo - the details are in grand jury testimony! what is wrong with you?

      November 10, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • JJ515

      Joe Paterno ran a program that was as good as any. I'm no Penn State fan, but you have to respect what he has done all these years. The AD and President should be fired, but not Joe. He did what policy said to do. He reported what he heard to his superior. Why is that worthy of him getting fired?

      November 10, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      You are an absolute idiot. He sheltered a child molester. He deserves to be fired, and to be prosecuted.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • jb

      I refuse to believe that Joe knew exactly what was going on, the true extent, and still tolerated it. Maybe he dropped the ball, hell, even HE admits he should have done more.
      But those who are convinced that he was some sort of cover up mastermind need to redirect their anger to the people that the GRAND JURY said perpetrated the cover up. For G*d's sake, he's NOT Darth Vader!

      November 10, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. Perok

    Sandusky had ZERO to do with football or Paterno at the time of the incident, he had been retired for 4 years... McQueary was a grad student, had nothing to do with football.... we don't know what McQueary said to Paterno.. we do know Paterno passed the info along, and the school buried it.
    He was a football coach not a cop.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      But we DO know that a policy was made to ban Sandusky from having children on's not too large a leap of logic to figure out how and why that came about....

      November 10, 2011 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • james

      I don't know what kind of person you are to think that reporting it and watching the man continue to walk a free man is somehting anybody should be able to live with. Do you know any 10 year old children? I do, and I have a 14 year old son, and ever since this indictment, all i can picture is a little frail body being bent over in a shower stall by a large man, terrified. Have you ever been ANALLY penetrated, without the benefit of lube? How could any ONE person, know this happened and ever just LET IT GO????????????????????? EVER????????????? That man practically RAN that school, he had more clout than that, if he WANTED that man punished for his crime, he could have MADE IT HAPPEN. He reported it, and LET IT GO. Inexcusable.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Bird

      I agree with Perok

      November 10, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. 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 |
    • bbmcrae

      I like that you said "Your an idiot" and misspelled "You're" when making your point. Hilarious! Keep up the jokes!

      November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    The terminations result primarily from the public's inability to separate issues and think rationally.
    The trustees are concerned with the school's image. Most people can understand only the simplest messages, such as a flag, a holy book, a presidential candidate in front of phony columns, or a boy said to be in a locker room with a gay man.

    November 10, 2011 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Paterno is Bill Clinton

    Joe Paterno is to child molesters what Bill Clinton was to intern fondlers. Both claim to have trouble understanding anything more than two charachters in a row. "It all depends on what your definition of 9-1-1 is."

    November 10, 2011 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. @Jiffy

    If you've been reading any of the hundreds of posts made concerning this case, you will find dozens of well informed and well thought-out comments. When CNN reported that this went back as far as 10 yrs, several bloggers noted that Sandusky had been busted for this very same thing back in the 90s. These dirty old men have been using Penn's Second Mile youth group just like other dirbags use the Boy Scouts of America. Most would already be behimd bars if not for the Supreme Court's opinion that it violates the constutional rights of a gay man to charge him with statutory raype of a 14 yr. old. (the Kentucky case where a gay mans attorney appealed clear to the SC when his client was convicted of statutory raype and sentenced to 27 yrs) Is that deep enough, or shall I go deeper for you?

    November 10, 2011 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. lgwelsh1

    Let's hold judgement till ALL the facts are revealed. There is way more to this than has been told in the media.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tardo

    @igwelsh1...Sandusky and boys go back nearly 20 years. You can keep your ear glued to the mass-media to give you your opinion, or you can research it for yourself. It's not like you have to go down to the library and spend hours going over microfilm. Google 'sandusky boy', and go from there. This case is jsut the tip of the iceberg...if you research, you find that we have a nationwide boy rayeping epidemic on our hands.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Knee-jerk hypocracy. I agree with mmi16 and Perok. The good name of Joe Paterno hasn't been damaged, Penn State's trustees have.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I gotta wonder if you head is buried up your backside or up some little boy's....

      November 10, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      It wasn't a knee that was being jerked in Joe's football shower rooms.

      November 10, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Terry

    "Where there's smoke, there's fire." You can't tell me JoePa didn't know about prior allegations of abuse against Sandusky. He passed the buck and now its come around to bite him. Plain and simple.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I find it funny that people are actually taking notice and acting high and mighty now that this story has came out when the fact is that child abuse happens every hour of everyday. This is not a new problem, whatever town you or any other person lives in I guarantee there is someone abusing a child. This is a HUGE problem that has gone unnoticed for decades. How many people have seen a kid with a bruise on their back and just assumed it was from playing. Could be from child abuse, why didn't that person step up and report something even though he/she doesn't know for sure. The fact is Paterno was told by another of something, he didn't see it himself. At the time he did what he thought was right and reported it to a higher authority (whom by the way was in charge of the Penn St. police). I believe Joe did what he thought was right at the time, hindsight is 20/20..........if he could go back I am sure he would have done things different but to fire him before Sandusky has even been found guilty is putting the buggy before the horse.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Andrew

    Penn State's trustees should be fired today! They do nothing; absolutely nothing, except look smug and fat-cat! Now, they've started a war and they're "fat smugness" and inherent hatred for Joe Paterno (because he's more important than them), has been revealed. They couldn't WAIT to fire him to get their pictures on TV. What a bunch of bone-headed useless bunch of WRONG -HEADED moron untrustable trustees!

    November 10, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. SNAPPA

    So this is what we've come to, rally around some sports coach who did nothing while watching his assistant anally asault a TEN year old boy? That poor kid needed his help he looked and walked away, not only that but he never told anyone, never stopped this guy from doing it again. Sounds a lot like the catholic church, how about we circle the wagons around this TEN year old boy?

    November 10, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. EBizz

    JoePa has been around so long, he has more pull at PSU than the believe that he knew nothing of this is turning a blind eye....that man was part of an 'old boy' network...out to protect the 'legacy'. He knew. He didn't step up and make the right decision. Kids were hurt because of it. It is sad that a great coach has to go out like this, but in the end...he made a bad call.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. tv22

    Except he did tolerate it. That's why he got fired.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. MEME

    Here is where you can read the Grand Jury report

    Did you know that the Child Protection Agency was informed about the 1998 incident, and did nothing? There is more here that was not done by other that could have stop Sandusky earlier. So we get our pound of flesh from Joe? Do we all feel better now? There were many failure over the years with this case.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
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