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. as a victim of gang sodomy at age 8

    In 2002, the state of Pa was presented a chance to expose these pedos. The catholic church lobbied to stop that law. Why we can't catch these pedos is because the child is traumatized for many years into the future. By the time the child awakes, it is too late, statute protects the pedo and the pedo has been off with more victims, who will also wake from irauma too late.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisGar

      It is because "responsible adults" did not act. That is why we should hold the adults who knew about this behavior responsible now.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mort

    If he took it to police and the result was the same as in 1998, what was the next thing Joe was to do ?

    November 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • as a victim of gang sodomy at age 8

      He did not go to the police station to report, period. Had he, we would be hearing about the police joining Patero in the cover ups.Yet no reports of police covering it up.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alum

      Believe me I want Sandusky brought down as much as the next person, but Joe went to the AD Curley, who went to Schultz who was the DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSITY POLICE!! (of course the media is not broadcasting that)

      November 9, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • as a victim of gang sodomy at age 8

      University police???? You have to be kidding me. That is NOT the proper authorities. Joe failed those boys. Did he follow it up? NOOOOO

      November 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alum

      I am not trying to discount any of this or argue with you. What happened was wrong, there should have been follow up. The correct department was notified. Penn State is so large that it has it's own zip code and police depatment....not campus security....police. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_Park,_Pennsylvania

      What do you do when the police don't do anything?

      November 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • as a victim of gang sodomy at age 8

      A university police??? Joe reported it there? No follow up? No care for the child?

      November 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • indepvot

      He went to University police. You mean weaponless campus security? PA law required him to report to real police, State Police. Campus Security, excuse me, University 'police' concealed the secret, never notified local/state authorities and broke the law.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ChrisGar

    How many kids would have to be abused before Nittany Lion fans have acted ?

    November 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedFan

      GREAT question! I have wondered that VERY SAME THING!!!!!!!!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. UtahGirl

    This is unexcuseable! All, coaches and school administrators that knew about this should lose their jobs asap! Child abuse should never be tolerated. As a past victim myself, I still struggle with it daily. I can only imagine how this child has lived with this horrendous memory all his life! Coach Paterno should have reported to the police, once he saw school administrators would do nothing and cover it up (PERIOD)!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M.A.

    Now, I do not know what or if coach Paterno is guilty of wrongdoing or, could or should have done more.

    I will tell you this. The last time I visited a local church, they simply couldn't help me!

    The devil has become so powerful that now even the lunatic is judging God!!! Have you ever noticed how many the seemingly righteous are many involved in these most peculiar "irregularities" occurring in society.

    You are a lie. You do not even exist you are a fraud. You have attempted to take something that which is beauty and attempted destroy it on account of your hate for yourself and life itself.

    Love is the only truth that there is. II pray for these boys and the families....

    Disgusting.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joesmith

    always wondered why a dynamic, skilled, knowledgeable defensive coach, just packed up in 1998..now we all know the answer..the good book says, your sin will find you out, know matter how long it takes..perhaps like the old German who observed.."too late we get smart"..

    November 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. anthony

    UHHH, he would tolerate this, in FACT, he did!!! Its amazing to me that people are defending this geezer perv.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • DisgustedFan

      GREAT point!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Peter

    Well...."Former Penn State player"...he obviously did tolerate it. He may not have condoned it but he sure as hell let it happen and DID NOT report it to police. I think it was probably all about the game...a coach with a winning streak..duh..let the kids suffer..the game is more inmportant than a little molestation..Can you imagine? He is just as guilty!!! And he should have retired 200 years ago! But its these grown up "kids" who can't stop kicking the ball..and at a million dollars a year...what a joke! I hope he gets whats due!

    November 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alum

      Gary Schultz was the poilce

      November 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • cee

      As a public school teacher, I would notify my principal and if I see that she has not informed CPS or the police of a situation of this gravity, I would then (at the very least) make my own phone call to the police/CPS/Social Services. You don't have to give them your name, or where you got your information, etc. But there are ways to get the situation investigated if you want it investigated. As far as JoePa goes... I find myself really torn. He didn't do enough, he didn't do nearly enough. But I have so much loyalty and love for this man, that I cannot fathom someone else as the coach of PSU.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      Alum: Shultz oversaw the police but he was not the police in any way, shape or form. Try 911 and the state police.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mharol

    The problem is Joe did what all public school teachers are told to do; notify your superior. They are not to call the police themselves. Joe is a faculty member who has to play by those rules. He did. Management dropped the ball big time! Joe of not the problem. He is simply the most visible.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alum

      And boy is the media running with it. Why don't they show the real monster.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisGar

      It it was his grandchild - would he have just "notified his superior".

      I work at a college and I can guarantee you if know the law is being broken ... there is no rule saying you are just supposed to "notify your superior."

      November 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      You are making excuses for Paterno.

      There is a statue of Paterno at PENN State. One of the words on this statue used to describe him is 'Humanitarian." His response (or shall I say LACK of response) does not reflect what a HUMANITARIAN should have done in this situation. This a travesty on the part of all the individuals that stood by and let that PREDATOR / PEDOPHILE continue to molest children.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JMM

    This should have surprised no one. There have been numerous incidents in the past few years involving Penn State football players, including assault. Papa Joe's response has been to try to deal with it "in-house". Unfortunately for Joe, this isn't the 1950's anymore. Penn State administration and campus police have looked the other way in the past also. Things aren't so happy in Happy Valley right now, but Paterno's legacy has been, to say the least, tarnished & rightfully so. Joe shoulda retired years ago.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ChrisGar

    "Make no distinction between child molesters and those that harbor them–and hold both to account."

    November 9, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DrJ

    Joe is getting railroaded. Shame of Penn State. He didn't do the wrong. Why punish him and ruin a legacy.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChrisGar

      That's right - we should ignore the fact that he knew Sandusky was raping boys and he didn't do anything to stop it.

      He is a legend - you know.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • what is wrong with people

      HE DIDNT DO ANYTHING WRONG?

      WOULDNT YOU CONFRONT SANDUSKY IF YOU WERE PATERNO AND THE GRAD STUDENT CAME TO YOU WITH THAT ALLEGATION? IF NOT, YOU'RE AS SICK AS PATERNO AND SANDUSKY.

      THIS IDIOT EX-PSU-ER CANT SAY THAT PATERNO WOULDNT TOLERATE THIS BECAUSE HE DID. HE LET SANDUSKY COME ONTO CAMPUS FOR 10+ YEARS AND NEVER CONFRONTED OR SAID A WORD TO HIM? IM SO DISGUSTED AT PSU RIGHT NOW....PSU WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER DIME FROM MY ALUMNI DONATIONS.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DrJ

      Again. Why is this just being DUG UP again, now? If Joe was at fault, why wasn't this handled when it happened? Something stinks here. I smell a book or movie deal brewing.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      You are absolutely correct. HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. And THAT is the problem.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Disgusted

    This should not be tolerated AT ANY LEVEL. Period. The witness, the coach, and the coach's superiors are just as guilty as Sandusky. If you currently attend or if you are a former graduate of Penn State, you must speak out. Don't contribute to this injustice by turning a blind eye.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DrJ

    Why wasn't this handled when it happened. Why is it just being DUG UP now. One word POLITICS!!!!!

    November 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ldstep

      Good grief....I hope you are not part of the alumni from PSU. Your comments get more and more ridiculous.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mort

    If Joe is involved in a coverup he should pay the consequences. It took over two years for the state to build the case against Sandusky. It has only taken a day or two to determine Paterno's guilt with some.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
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