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. Jonathan

    Joe Paterno did nothing wrong, either legally or morally. He went up the chain of command and informed the AD of what was told to him. Because Paterno did not witness the assault then he has no obligation, legally or morally, to pursue this further. He did exactly what he should have done. The media needs to stop all of this nonsense. This man has been a philanthropist and a great man of character, for decades and this certainly does not diminish my opinion of him. If anybody needed to take further action it was McQueary because he actually witnessed the assault.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      He shouldn't go to prison. . .but if I get a report about him showering with a 10 year old boy, you can be sure I don't give him access to my facilities. You can be sure I follow up to find out what happened. Paterno should have done more. You know as well as I do that he runs that place. Reporting it to the AD was the proper thing to do, yes. Not following up to make sure it was checked out, while not criminal, is certainly negligent and dereliction of duty.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • mr smith

      lol

      November 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I am a long-time Paterno and a Penn State fan. The vitriol that the news and others have attacked him with is astounding. Joe reported what he had been told. One thing that get s me angry is that the first couple news stories saying Joe should immediately resign were written by black reporters. I wonder what they would have said if Joe was black.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      100% correct. Also worth noting that here is the link to the Child Abuse Prevention center. http://www.brightfutures4kids.org/

      Anybody on a message board showing moral outrage towards Paterno maybe could better spend that time volunteering or donating money to actually prevent child abuse. Of course, that sounds like a lot of work, and bashing a football coach on the internet is much easier.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • R Hill

      "JoePa" and every single one of the people that covered this up are in for a lot of tough days... If Paterno is at that school for even one more game then Penn State is a definite joke.. the number of victims is now doubled and continues to grow.. sad sad mess

      November 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • whoknew

      SO true. My husband is a teacher of young children, and they have to go to classes every year on how to protect our youth. They are told each and every year, that they are to tell their boss, and it is their bosses responsibility to contact authorities. People also need to keep in mind, that when this encounter was reported to Joe, Sandusky no longer worked for him. He was there working with his charity organization. So the fact that Joe went to ANYONE speaks to his integrity, as he had no obligation to do so (given that Sandusky was no longer employed at PSU). And also keep in mind, Joe was 75 years old and from a much different thinking generation. When he told his boss, and he was told their was already an investigation into it, he probably trusted what he was being told. Call it naive, but it's also a generational gap. Think of when you are 75, and laws change. Can you say you will be entirely versed on the appropriate legal recourse necessary when you are 75 and someone tells you something is already known and being investigated???? Joe should be allowed to retire on his own terms. He did nothing wrong!

      November 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerald

      Paterno needs to go now. As i have said on other posts, "an action passed is not an action completed". First rule of management! He knew for years that the Penn State Administration had not acted on one of his own employees egregious violations against children and he acted like all was normal. He is a disgrace to mankind first, his family, and the University. If Penn State is interested in rebuilding its reputation, they start today and either fire or force his resignation! Forget about the end of the season. Paterno is "focusing on Saturday's game and praying". That should tell you what is really important to Paterno!

      November 9, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerald

      whoknew–are you kidding–read my earlier post. He cared about football, not the abused children. I will repeat–he still cares only about football and not the children. Give it up he is a horrible example of someone who was in a leadership position and did not lead. You obviously do not know anything about leadership and the value of morals and integrity that are required to be a good leader!

      November 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beerzie

      Wow. Try telling the parents that. If one of my subordinates was anally raping a ten-year old, I'd be straight to the cops. Anything less is a moral failure. Case Closed.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • NCMike

      Joe Pa is getting the brunt of this because he is the big name in all of this. I belive any and everyone involved is guilty of a systematic cover up. Everyone, including Joe Pa, the janitor, and especially McQueary and his dad should face some sort of negligence charge. No one did the right thing in this situation. The simple and right thing is to call the police. McQueary runs home and tellls his dad? Really? It seems like his, and everyone else's, first thought was to protect the program not the past, present and future victims of Sandusky.

      Going up the chain of command and washing your hands of the situation works for catching someone stealing out of the supply closet or embezzling but the chain of command "cleansing" should not hold water for anyone involved. I wonder if it would have gone up a chain of command if that 10 year boy in the shower was Joe Pa's grandson or if every thing would have come out in the open then?

      Sandusky had been investigated before for inappropriate behavior with boys so Joe Pa and the school had to know there could be some truth to it. Why not get the authorities involved and truly wash your hands of it and him.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Yep report it and move on nothing to see here. Of course if this was you son, cousin, brother or someone you cared about you might be singing a different tune. So I guess when he saw him on campus again with another child he should of assumed that he changed right.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      Joe Paterno did nothing right. Joe did not contact off campus police or child protection services in 48 hours as the law required. When Campus officials did not notify authorities Joe Paterno again did not obey the law & report the abuse. Joe had training in s3xual abuse laws as a coach. He ignored the laws. He had knowledge of the s3xual abuse. He continued to have contact with Sandusky & was aware the authorities had not investigated the crime. Joe acted like an accessory after the fact.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TexasJack

    Legally, JP did probably the only thing he was able to do. He wasn't a witness to the event(s), nor did he receive a confession from the guy. Everyone is making the case against JP: "He should have gone to the law?" WITH WHAT, A COOKIE? If anyone should have gone first to the police it should have been the grad assistant as it was happening. University Police probably would have swarmed that shower-room in 30 seconds flat.

    James 4:11 [People], do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against [People] or judges [them] speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • indepvot

      Under PA law, Paterno, as grad asst's supervisor, was legally required to notify police. NOT campus security either.
      State Police.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric L. Timmons

      Paterno, as a state employee, is also bound by the state of Pennsylvania's mandatory reporting statute for suspected child abuse (23 PA C.S. Section 6311, "Child Protective Services Law").

      November 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      Ignorant. You don't have to witness child abuse, only suspect it. And report it to police and child welfare agencies according to the laws these fine people have provided you with, above.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      Paterno could have gone to the state police with the "witness". When you have a witness the police listen & investigate.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Scott

    guilty guilty guilty. He should have know better and followed up to make sure it was dealt with properly.
    It is just another case of turning a blind eye because winning was more important.
    If he did the right thing, some young men would not have to spend the rest of their lives feelingthe way they do.
    What if it happened to one of his 16 grand kids? What woudl he say now?

    He makes me sick, even if he has the winningest record.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Guilty of what? You obviously are not thinking logically because Joe Pa did nothing wrong, morally or legally. Typical media, making him a scapegoat for someone's else actions. The police had investigated Sandusky in 1998 but did not pursue him further as Sandusky promised not to shower with boys anymore. If police had done a more thorough investigation in the late 90's this would have never happened. Joe Pa in no way should take any blame for what is happening.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom Flanagan

      Paterno and Sardusky are tighter than tight (personally) regular dinner partners and only recently was asked not to use Penn States facility. Evidently Johnathan doesn't understand that Joe got a one year notice and Sardusky got a three year notice. The victims (many, many) got no notice. Evidently football coaches in PA like little boys.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJC

      If Joe did nothing wrong, either legally or morally, then why does he wish he'd done more? The lost trust and innocence of every child molested since that incident may not make him legally guilt, but every coward turned a blind eye to this pervert is, if not in the legal sense, most definitely morally guilty of being an accessory. Paterno NOW wants to pray for the victims. If not for moral cowardice, there would be fewer victims to pray for!

      November 9, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uthor

      Guilty? Sanduasky is the one charged with a crime. Some people posting here are strangely worked up with the enjoyment of the apparent downfall of Paterno.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Jonathan, so you're saying that just because the police didn't have enough evidence to prosecute in 1998, it was totally appropriate to allow someone accused of child molestation to continue to have full access to the facility without supervision with young children? That's good management and admirable behavior to you? Even though Sandusky lost his child-guest priviledges after the alleged shower incident, he was still a visible part of the football community. He wasn't shunned, he was just told to indulge his proclivities elsewhere. He received no consequences. Why? To have done so would have raised a lot embarassing questions. To have done so would have rocked the boat, and Sandusky was a big part of that boat.
      It's just such a shame that these men who were held to such an admirable standard failed so miserably when it really did count. This really is one of those moments when you just want someone, ANYone, to stand up and take accountablilty for the burden they share in this awful mess.
      There is a part of me that empathsizes with JoePa. I couldn't imagine living life for 76 years, having the struggles and successes that a passionately lived life bring (and there's no doubting his passion) and have to face the fact that a guy I've believed in, confided in, TRUSTED was a sick b@stard. There had to have been so much denial from him in all of this, especially as a practicing Catholic ten years ago. He had to have been having a serious crisis of faith. And then Sadusky's betrayal? I feel for him.
      That doesn't mean I have to accept any of his behavior or tolerate his decisions.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. wendy

    Wow! I guess I'm definitely in the minority here. You guys sound like a lynch mob ready to burn Joe Paterno at the stake. He wanted his players to take more than a game away when they left Penn State, he wanted them to take full advantage of the educational opportunity they were given. He was trying to do his part in making them into team players, and good students, people who would go on to make a difference. He wanted them to be able to read and understand a football contract when they left Penn State. He passed on what his grad asst told him to Sandusky's supervisor. Maybe my opinion is based on his legend in college football. But how many men has he impacted in all the years he was coaching? Yes, what Sandusky did is gross, horrible, incomprehensible. We should be tying him to the stake. My heart goes out to his victims.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom Flanagan

      Sorry but Joe is a phony. He and Sardusky are two of a kind. It wasonly recently that the two were not dinner partners, regularly. Waiter in witness.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tom Flanagan

    Oh no Joe. Wouldn't stand for this. He get's a year notice. Sadusky a regular dinner guest at Joe's House get's three years notice. The victimims got no notice. They're both criminal. The Penn Gov and Education Chancellor should fire them and the Penn Board. Did Jow like little boys as well...you know those catholics.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tv

    Am I confused or doesn't Paterno's contract expire at the end of this season? Exactly how is this a punishment?

    November 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Absolutely correct. They should cut the BS and fire him now.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom Flanagan

      exactly. His behavior anywhere else is criminal.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    I have a few Penn State Alums in my family so I know more than a little about Joe Paterno. He was a rare talent as a coach who did more for his students than most. Unfortunately, if all he ever did was the bare minimum in regards to the molestation than that isn't enough. You cannot claim to protect schildren when you don't do EVERYTHING in you power to protect them. They should have fired Paterno.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      Sadly, I agree!!

      November 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mthompson

      AGREED!!! Who cares how many football games he won?? His silence and lack of followup shows exactly who this man is. Would he have done the same thing if it was his kid?? Or one of his players? LOSER!!

      November 9, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. tv

    Am I confused or doesn't Paterno's contract expire at the end of this season? Exactly how is this a punishment? He was already going to retire at exactly the same time. The only distraction it seems he doesn't want to cause is one that would draw attention to himself and his obvious involvement. Looking the other way for a decade is a crime!

    November 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tom Flanagan

    This is so sad. No Governor outrage, No education chancellor outrage, President is not fired, complicit board is not fired, ....what about these young lifes ruined. Sardusky had three years notice???? do you get this? Paterno gets a year to retire? They're criminals. What if it was your daughter or your son??????? Would this be okay with you. I'd be loading up.

    November 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tom Flanagan

    When did catholics decide to canonize Paterno. Joe is a criminal. Lives were ruinned. Kids were abused. Where's our outrage!

    November 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Hi, Tom. Let's see....how many more people can you smear while you're on your soapbox?

      November 9, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. steve

    Ohio states problems are so minor now. Yes joepa reported it to the AD, but this crime goes beyond ....... no follow up joe?

    not talking tatoos and cash. men with boys is a direct call to the police. nothing less.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom Flanagan

      Finally, Bookgirl and Steve realize its about the children.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bookgirl

    Being an Ohio State fan, I know how it feels to be disappointed in someone you held in high regard. Of course, the Tressel's actions pale in comparison to covering up child molestation, but still, Paterno was revered much like Tressel and the more they are revered the bigger the disappointment. My heart goes out to Penn State fans and to, of course, the poor young men hurt by this tragedy.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Landshark

    Paterno doing the absolute minimum required by law is hypocritical. I’m quite certain if any of his players simply put forth the minimum required effort to maintain their position on the team, they’d be gone. For decades he’s been a champion of giving it all you have for the team. When he had an opportunity to do a little more than he was legally required to do, he chose not to. Instead, he chose to take the easy route, do the minimum and step back. He expected someone else to do the heavy lifting. As a coach, Paterno wouldn’t have tolerated this methodology from his players yet he expects us to accept from him. A lack of effort on the field resulting in a lost game is intolerable to Paterno. His inaction caused more kids to be assaulted, this is intolerable to me. He should not be allowed to end his tenure as coach on his own terms. He should be held to the same standard he expects his own players to abide by and be told to leave immediately.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomf

      So right on!

      November 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jon

    why have trials anymore? Why bother? the media ensures someone's convicted previous to any process.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomf

      Maybe you'd like to wait till a sardusky molests your child.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Something you want to tell us, Tom? You seem uneasy over this topic.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nighttalk

    legally this old fart will not go to court or jail...morally he is guilty...he knew what was going on...he didn't want to raise concerns...retire?...at the end of the season?...throw his ass out now...he isn't a nice old man...these types of men are not worth the air I breathe...cut him loose...a legend...oh, yeah...numbers...oh, yeah...he didn't do it...the ballplayers did...sick old man...

    November 9, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • tomf

      So, So right on.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
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