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.”

Post by:
Filed under: College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • Penn State • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Jaxson

    Amazing. All of Of the Penn State alum and Joe Pasupporters are right. He did nothing legally wrong. He fulfilled the minimum legal. What about morally? Can you honestly tell me he fulfilled his moral obligations? What about all of the ideals and obligations he preached to his players? Is he exempt from those? He allowed it to protect his friend and the program. Sad and wrong

    November 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. crowgan

    Paterno did nothing wrong? We'll find out soon enough what he knew and what he was told when the DA starts turning the scews on these clowns (McQueary, Shultz, et al) This is not even close to being over.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim S.

    Actually, Joe Paterno "did" tolerate this.
    Because of his "lack" of action and others, Penn State will forever now be known as Pedophile State University.
    If they do not forfeit this week's game, it's further proof that they just still don't get it.

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

      Perv State University or Pedophile State University, take your pick, But you are precisely correct. Their effort to protect PSU's image and its "Success With Honor" motto in 2002, is now costing it dearly in 2011. Just as Woody Hayes' career at Ohio State will be forever tainted by his hitting a Clemson player, Joe Paterno's image will be tainted as having hired a pedophile, enabled a pedophile, and ignored a pedophile and his victims.
      And you do know that Woody Hayes won more national championships than Paterno, right? Well don't feel bad, nobody does ... all they know is he hit some player. And decades from now, all we'll remember about Paterno is his effort to protect his pedophile assistant coach back in the early 2000s.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Selly

    Let me get this right....some of you think it's perfectly OK that Paterno allowed and was apparently fine with letting this known child molester hang around for 10 years because he did his "legal duty" and reported it??? If I heard from a credible source that someone at my work facility was SEEN molesting a child, I would NOT be able to work one more day there and turn a blnd eye to this person's presence and you can dang well bet I would be picking up the phone and calling the cops and CPS if I did see this person on campus again. Even Paterno himself knows he screwed up. I sure hope Nome of you sickos are ever informed of something that serious...this is about CHILDREN not FOOTBALL!

    November 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalMom74

      Well said. I've brought up the same points.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bb

    Paterno is getting a bad deal here. Guy spent all his life helping kids.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Selly

      Well, he flushed it all down the toilet when he decided he was OK with seeing this guy hang around his facilities and didn't pursue it further. What if it was your child he was molesting in the showers and you found out the head coach was aware of it and all he did was report it to his superior and then not bother to follow up when this Sicko showed up the next day?

      November 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Locode

      yea, and you could have said exactly the same thing about Sandusky until this happened. So maybe Joe swept it under the rug because he partook as well.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Except the kids with Sandusky.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      Well, he didn't spend ALL of his life ONLY helping kids. He spent the last nine years enabling a pedophile to molest and ruin the lives of an unknown number of kids.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Josh

    Are you kiddiing me, he wasnt the only one tht knew but he still knew and knowing let him run a program with dis advantaged kids while using university facilities so he and the other persons tht did nothing are culpable and if McQueary isnt facing criminal charges for of sum kind idk is wrng wit this world NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO TURN A BLIND EYE TO CHILD MOLESTATION not even Joe Paterno

    November 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MJC

    One of the adults should have done something to protect that child in 2002 and get Sandusky off the street. We all kow what happened the heart of that child, that they didn't even bother to identify, was traded for Penn States reputation and the jobs, income and lively hood of the men involved tnat did nothing. For those of us who are not Penn Staters we know Joe Pa has enough power and influence that if he wanted it investigated it would have been. for gods sake a grown man witnessed the abuse and it was 8 years before it made it to a grand jury. Defense of these actions are by them selves immoral.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mcryebread

    It is a dangerous thing when a public figure, no matter how humble, becomes impervious to scrutiny. While I don't sympathize or excuse the enablers-they should be jailed-I pray that I can build the strength and character to come to the aid of those who need me to protect them. It's worth it to risk everything for a child's safety. Children don't need heroes, they need people humble enough to do what is logical and selfless.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Well said.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. A Finch

    What happend was horrible. It would seem that Paterno should have pressed the issue more at the time than he did but can someone enlighten me on why a Grand Jury that met last December is just now (11 months) later releasing the results and having Sandusky arrested? That certainly doesn't indicate a lot of "we need to get this guy off the streets" urgency.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Penny252

      A lot of child abuse cases take this long to prosecute because of coverups. This is Penn State's Watergate. I read an old quote from Joe Pa-thetic mocking Nixon when he said he knew nothing about what his cronies where doing back then. LOL! How ironic.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lzrdkng4

    Joe Paterno;s influence on PSU operations is legendary. There is nothing with regards to the football program or the University's image that Joe did not have veto over. To portray him as a simple University employee who merely reported this to his "supervisor" (really) and then let the process work is naive or misleading. Joe, for whatever reason, turned his back on this horrific act conducted by one of "his" people in a way that he would never do for anything else related to his program or his University. Shame on you Joe, shame on you Pen State.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Esme

    Umm. . . "Joe wouldn't tolerate" this? Well, apparently he did. Seriously, what did he THINK was going on in that shower? This is no different from the Catholic Church and all their cover-ups that resulted in thousands more victims. Obviously, Joe could tolerate it, and cared so little about it, that he failed to step in and prevent other boys having their lives ruined. Keep drinking that kool-aid, that will get you real far in life, losers.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brad

    For the people who are backing Joe Paterno: You are such a small minority. If you look around, not one opinion story has absolved Joe Paterno of his role in this travesty. Not one. That says a lot, considering how sportswriters can't seem to agree on anything. You can comment all you want on message boards and various articles, but you will change the mind of no one. Unspeakable things were done to children and Paterno et al knew about it (probably since 1998 when the pedophile was forced to retire). Yet no one stopped him and for that people need to be held accountable. It's sad that it has to end this way, but there's no one to blame except those who swept it under the rug. Had Paterno or others taken appropriate steps in 1998 (or again in 2002), we would be reading articles about the Nebraska game this weekend. But we're not. Unfortunately, every article about Joe Pa will from this point forward will mention his failure to stop a pedophile. It's sad considering his legacy as a coach, but what happened to those kids is tragic.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Penny252

    Joe Pa-thetic read the grand jury report....yet it was only 2 weeks ago that Sandusky was allowed on campus. Did Pa-thetic tell the perv to stay away from the campus? NO. Another example of the old fool looking the other way. WE ARE...STATE PENITENTIARY! Lock them all up.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jon

    Tom, let's dial this back a bit and try using logic. Epithets like "if your kid got molested" etc. adds nothing to the debate. What one wonders about is due process, and the fact that one's guilt or innocence is becoming more difficult to find, what with the media hype.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • crowgan

      can't follow your logic. what logic are you referring to? due process only pertains to those charged with crimes.

      November 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    Bull****, he knew. Any money he knew, and let it go on, and on.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12