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. Mikey

    Its pretty obvious that PSU thinks he knew something and help cover it up. If not he should be hiring a lawyer and suing PSU for wrongful termination. The person I have the most problem with is the joker that walked into the showers and caught Sandusky raping a 10 year old and proceded to leave the child with the rapist. I can only imagine the horror that this child must have felt. To think you are about the be rescued from this monster, to only be left with him? What do you think happened after he left the child? Its a bunch of cowards protecting a preditor.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • MEME

      If you read the Grand Jury report, there are two times Sandusky was caught in the shower with young boys. One happened in 1998 and the other in 2002. None of them stopped Sandusky. The Janitor that caught it in 1998 did nothing because he was afraid that he would be fired if they reported it. Read the Grand Jury report at

      November 10, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Wow. Here is a coach that I always admired because of his integrity for the game of football and ensuring his players were also good students. All blown out of the water because of one really bad decision.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Uniblob

      So many people keep saying "one bad decision", as if Paterno only had one opportunity to report this incident. How many times did Paterno think about about what happened in that shower over the last ten years? How many times could he have acted to get a child predator put in jail? Paterno will have to answer for this.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hazen

    The more that comes out about this guy, the more it is obvious that there were numerous indications that Sandusky was doing some very bad stuff. People talk, and I refuse to believe that it wasn't known among the coaches and administration what this guy was up to but because he was a favored son of Joe Paterno, he was protected. Paterno's statement that "in hindsight, I wish I had done more" is ludicrous. He is only having regrets now because he got busted for protecting a pedophile. This is hardly the first time that a person's public image turns out to be quite different from who they really were, and while we shouldn't forget who the real monster is here you can't excuse his enablers.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. @Joe Clinton

    BS. There's no comparison. Joe didn't ra pe that boy. Bill did play with Monica, and it was consensual. Apples to oranges.
    Just cut all of the dust you're trying to stir up. They're not the same at all.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      Joe and his partners in crime, basically did just that, by turning a blind eye when they knew what he was doing. They basically said, "OK, I know you like little boys, but we don't want you doing it on school grounds, or be affiliated with the school while you do it" You can't really be that niave can you?

      November 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. @@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"
    The ones you agree with, you mean. All others you disagree with are invalid? Meh!

    November 10, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. Skegeeace

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Nobody wants to believe someone they respect would tolerate such behavior, but the man said he knew about it from his own mouth. Pity...he could have been a hero and done MORE to protect those boys. Now, he's out in disgrace...

    November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. ExplainThis

    Don't get me wrong – as much as I hate to say it, I think JoePa had to go. But why is the grad student who witnessed this still coaching? I don't get that. How do you walk in and witness something as horrible as that and turn around and walk out? What kind of person could just let it continue? And if JoePa had a 'moral obligation' to call the police, what about the grad student who witnessed it? Because he was a grad student at the time, he had no moral obligation? He was vindicated because he told JoePa?? It just makes me sick. I keep coming back to that grad student who for all intents and purposes has been let off the hook – and I can't stop my disgust with him that he wouldn't have stopped what was happening and he wouldn't have called the cops. Please don't misunderstand this comment – I respect Joe Paterno and his legacy, I think Penn State' BOT did what they had to do, but I am repulsed that someone's reaction to a little boy being molested would be to turn the other way and not immediately intervene. And I'm a little amazed at the apparent double standard. Why is McCready not culpable?

    November 10, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    All these people keep focusing on the 2002 incident. Look at the 1998 incident, He was caught reported to the campus police, admitted inappropriate contact with a child in the showers at Penn State to the childs mother. The detectives were pursuing the case and even took it to the DA and CYS. And it never went any further. Now you are all telling me a police investigation of a crime of an assistant coach in the teams facility would not be brought to the attention of the head coach and administration of the university. The guy was the front runner at the time to replace JoePa when he retired for crying out loud. You don't think he would have been called in or walked in to tell Joe what was going on. Then the next season he is told they want to go in a different direction, or Sandusky wanted to spend more time with his charity depending on what report you read and he retires with full access to the campus, an office in the University and professor emeritus status. You cant tell me a head coach with a top 10 defense would decide to go a different direction with one of the best defensive minds in college football. Come on people Paterno and the administration knew then they needed to start seperating themselves from this guy before he brought them all down. So don't focus on 2002 as the start of a crime. The crime started years earlier and because of their actions then makes the whole 2002 incident and the others that much worse. To the administration of Penn State and all the others that knew then YOU ARE PENNS SHAME.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      I agree with this 100%. Sandusly was obviously forced to retire to try and keep all of this under wraps. We are all witnessing the absolute worst in humanity. Greedy, selfish, cowards. Everyone single one of them involved.

      November 10, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Renee

    You hit the nail on the head when you said "we had a script". Everyone was expected to protect the well designed image of Penn State. Anyone who thinks Sandusky wasn't forced to retire due to his 'sickness' is nothing short of naive. I'm sure there were many closed door meetings to keep al of this quiet, and don't think for one second Joe Paterno was not aware.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      yes it makes no sense that they just spoke for about an hour and they didn't ask specific questions......HOW STUPID, do they think Americans are? OH, WAIT, look at how the students are behaving......

      November 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Just Asking

    I would love to know where the parents of these kids were? Why didn't they teach their children not to go off with strangers and/or accept gifts from strangers, including candy.

    The one person who is most at fault here is the perp Sandusky, then the two bosses over Joe Perterno who Joe reported this horrible incident to, placing trust in his superiors to do the right thing. Joe did the right thing by going to his superiors about this. Sometimes when an employee goes to their superiors to report something and then calls the cops they get blamed for going over their superiors heads and that's a big no no too.

    Personally I think the news media and alot of the posters are taking out their anger on the wrong person, namely Joe Perterno. The person they should be going after about this is the perp and Joe Perterno's superiors, not Joe. Then again, I suppose it's easy to scapegoat an 84 year old man.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      The whole point of Sandusky's charity is that he found kids from broken homes. There was no parent to say don't go with him. This is how pedophiled operate they prey on the weakest of the weak.

      November 10, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Wow, you were about to get my attention but give me a break the man was a coach but to the school he was God and they did what he wanted when he wanted it. HE HAS NO MORALS, he didn't want to tarnish the school so he decided kids that are from foster families or have only a single parent could take the hit!!!!!
      You should also learn or read about pedophiles and how they groom and how they make the children believe they are the ones that are to blame, that they must of done something wrong. I GUESS MOST OF THE STUDENTS AT PSU ARE THINKING THE SAME THING YOU ARE, SAD VERY SAD.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      Seriously, your not defending the "inaction" of an enabler are you? He didn't pull the gun out at the robbery, he just took the bag of money from the teller reference are you? Geez, were you a juror at the OJ trial? I think in the months to come we are going to find out alot more about "JoePa" and the coverup designed to save both his, and Pediphile State's reputation....

      November 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Travis

    All of you people screaming bloody vengeance out there have lost sight of the big picture. Everyone in this country is so intensely focused on bringing these children's abusers to justice, and rightly so. I would never in a million years suggest that a child molester should walk free, nor should anyone who assisted in a cover-up of the crimes.

    But you are all forgetting some very crucial pieces of the puzzle. First of all, it is Jerry Sandusky who has been accused of this crime, not Joe Paterno. Secondly, Paterno did exactly what he was supposed to do when he was told of the alleged event by someone else – the key point being that he did not witness the event himself. Frankly, it would have been irresponsible of him to call the police himself without verifying with his immediate superiors whether or not the accusations were valid. Which brings up a third point – are the accusations valid? Maybe, maybe not...we simply won't know until the investigation is complete. If they are, I hope Sandusky and anyone covering for him get what they deserve. If not, we will have destroyed the careers and reputations of several innocent men. It wouldn't be the first time that these kind of allegations were brought against a famous person and were later proven false (SEE: Bryant, Kobe; Jackson, Michael; Lacrosse Team, Duke, etc).

    I am not saying that these accusations are false. I'm not even saying that Joe Paterno is completely innocent. All I am saying is that with the culture of activist media, fickle media viewers, and potentially lucrative litigation in this country, the people investigating this situation need to be extremely careful about who they choose to publicly condemn and vilify. No one wants to see a criminal walk free, but it serves no better purpose to throw innocent people under the bus either.

    November 10, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      Why don't you read the grand jury report already? Grand jury reports are considered findings of fact. Frankly, it was irresponsible and immoral for Paterno AND ANYONE ELSE WHO KNEW ANYTHING, NOT to call the police. You do not have to be an eyewitness to report suspected child abuse, and it is required by law of mandated reporters – educators, counselors, doctors, nurses, etc. See the word SUSPECTED. Protection of children comes first, reputations come second. All of them had knowledge of a violent crime against a child. Why is that so hard for people to understand? Because of the nature of the crime, it has to be pondered, discussed, and shushed? It was a violent crime that needed to be called in to the police immediately. We will see in the near future that McQuery will be dealt with, I am sure.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Sparki

      Sure, Paterno did what he was required to do by law. But he didn't do enough. Think of it this way. If it would have been his own kid or his own grandkid who was molested, do you think he would have just called his boss and then let it drop? No way. He would have hauled a$$ to the locker room and put his fist through Sandusky's face and stood over him until the cops arrived to cart the creep away. But because it was somebody else's kid, some poor, underprivileged kid, it was just fine with Paterno to place one little phone call and forget all about it. THAT is the moral failing that justifies his dismissal.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • MEME

      Where is enough? You tell me where enough is and another person will tell me different.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      He would have killed the man in the locker room if it was his child or least I like to think that he would.....

      November 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |

    @sparki...well said and very sound reasoning on your part. You are to be commended for having eyes that can see what a truly simple issue this is. Those who cannot see that these men lust for boys and cover their own tracks are blind, and by denying these things are actually helping these men reach their goals: more boy butt. You sypathetics will understand when your own 17 or younger son is statutory rayped by one of these men.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |

    @uniblob...child predator? What about those who only prey on boys 17 or younger, never girls? If it were just girls under 18, would you not accuse them of statutory raype?

    November 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fooled Again

    It hurts to even think about it. I can't imagine what the kids went through, it's sad.

    It hurts when you realize that someone you've idolized doesn't meet up to the standard that they create for everyone else. My first feeling is of anger why would you allow this type of person to continue to be part of the University if you even suspected him of anything. You displine players for breaking team rules, you fire staff for poor performance or stealing but you allow a suspected child molester to stay on campus. How does that even pass the sniff rule?

    We all have to make tough decision in our lives but how can you not error on the side making sure children are safe.
    Any more when an issue comes up we pass the buck and don't take ownership. It's easier and safer for someone else to have to deal with it. If I get involved I might be accountable at some point, let someone else deal with the really tough issues.

    Unfornately it appears that some of the students at Penn State aren't mature enough yet to realize that the trustees didn't pass the buck this time. Hopefully the Trustees weren't aware of the problems before hand. Being older and understanding a little more it's easy to think about things differenty than a teenager or early twenty year old.

    It would nice if the student body at the university rallied around the trustee's decision and did a candle light vigil for the victims. Show the true character that we all wanted to believe JoePa stood for. Stand up for what is right even if it does hurt. JoePa made a mistake, a big mistake one that he will probably regret the rest of his life. Penn State students and society in general we need to learn from these mistakes otherwise what does our future look like.

    Stand up for what is right Penn State students now is your chance to show the world.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ann

    jo dropped the ball , if JD was raping his son, do you think jo would have done more !!! damn straight, we all have a moral obligation to protect all children, if some one was raping your child, I would call 911, I would try to stop it, and I would hope that you would do the same if someone was raping my child, we are the adults, we HAVE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SICK PEOPLE LIKE THIS..

    November 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
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