Overheard on CNN.com: Paterno witch hunt?
Penn State head coach Joe Paterno announced he will be retiring at the end of the 2011 football season.
November 9th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Paterno witch hunt?

Comments of the morning:

“What a sad day for PSU.” - redleg
“So, Joe wants us to pray for the victims. I have to wonder if he has been doing this for the past 12 years.” - bear
“Sad way to end a great career, but sadder still that he did not call police.” - Vic

Paterno set to retire

Longtime Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno announced his resignation Wednesday, as a sex-abuse scandal, involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, rocked the university.

Days after details of the scandal broke, furor over Paterno’s inaction increasingly led to demands for his dismissal. But CNN.com readers have been torn. Some say the focus should be on Sandusky and that calling for Paterno’s demise amounts to nothing more than a witch hunt. But other readers strongly disagree.

Jeff said, “You people need to give it a rest...don't you read the news? The majority of the students and alumni are standing behind Paterno. He has done more for the university and more for athletes than you will ever do in your life. He has earned our support and the benefit of the doubt. Thousands of students gathered in support of him at this home. You are hardly hearing anything about Sandusky in all of this. The headlines should be about him not Paterno.!”

David said, “This whole situation is STUPID! If I hear an allegation of misconduct at a place of work, I would report it to my superiors - which Mr. Paterno did. It is the responsibility of the person who witnessed criminal activity to report it to the police. The sports radio talk show hosts have been grilling him about not doing more about these allegations, ALLEGATIONS! They have used this for their own personal gain, the selfish slobs that they are. A respectable gentlemen like Joe Paterno deserves far better than this.”

Anonymous said, “I know Joe, or at least I did 20 years ago. He met his legal obligations, but not his moral ones. If this had been some random Duke coach or something, I wouldn't expect anything else. But I expected more from JoePa.”

Cheryl said, “Why is he allowed to stay until the end of this season. He should be booted immediately! Disgusting!”

Glenn said, “Don't comment on the man's character if you don't know him. I happen to. Paterno reported the abuse to George Schultz immediately. Schultz was the head of the university police. In other words, Joe reported this to the police. Joe is being run out of the position over BS allegations that he somehow failed to report. Also, don't blame Mike McQueary. He reported it. Without his eyewitness testimony, Sandusky likely would not have been indicted. I hope Spanier gets crucified because I am positive he knew about this and helped cover it up.”

Jmdb25 said, “No one is saying Joe Pa was a part of the abuse. He was a part of the cover up. Really who does Joe report to at PSU? No one! This was not a witch hunt rather a very serious cover up by top and lower level officials at this campus. All to save football. Very sad.”

Leesure said, “Let's not forget who was at fault...Sandusky. Paterno reported it. Would I have preferred he follow up when it was clear there was a cover up going on? You betcha, but he did what he was supposed to do. Blame Sandusky. Blame those who failed to report it. Let Paterno retire and live with his disgrace.”

Matt said, “Why should you be fired for committing no crime? JoPa has earned the right to leave on his terms. He built that University and football has paid a lot of the university's bills for a long time. Sandusky will pay for his crime. No need for the witch-hunt.”

Tony Hopp said, “Actually, Matt, failure to report a crime IS a crime.”

MEP said, “'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.' -Edmund Burke”

Bellabiv Devot said, “With what happened, that's not good enough. He needs to go ASAP.”

Mark said, “If McQueary tells Paterno in 2002 that he saw Sandusky and Joe's grandson in the shower, is Sandusky in prison today?”

PSU Alumnus said, “Let's all remember the real criminal is Jerry Sandusky if the allegations prove true; which highly likely they will. Paterno indirectly admitted that in hindsight he could have done more which further suggests Sandusky is quilty. For many PSU staff to know about Sandusky's secret life and to still allow him to grace PSU property all those years. Unthinkable.I hope the victims can all recover from this horror and move on with their lives.”

mlt1473 said, “If he truly wants to help the university, walk away NOW, forgo any and all retirement benefits he is currently set to receive (or better yet – put it all into a trust to help the kids whose lives were RUINED by his ego) and swear publicly that he will cooperate fully with all investigations into these atrocities, and grovel for forgiveness to the victims (in person with no damn camera crews).”

banasy© said, “So the witch hunt was successful. I hope to see every other University official, from the President on down, step down, also. They hold the same culpability in this shameful matter as Joe Paterno.”

Ellen said, “It's a sad, sad day for Penn State. Sad for the victims, and sad for a man who's dedicated his life to the school, only to see himself become a scapegoat in a horrific scandal.”

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. hey hey

    Paterno can rot in hell all I gotta say. Who cares about the dude who didn't report it he should not have been doing this in the first place. Jack ........... Football coach or whatever. I would ring his neck if he did what he did to my kid!

    November 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Witch hunt, You bet it is. Scape goat, you bet it is. Joe reported the issue to his superiors in 2002? Nothing happened!!
      Why? because the superiors wiped it under carpet. now joe had to take his hat. Joe go get a good lawyer and sue Penn state for wrongful dismissal.

      November 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • 3rdprty

      The trial being conducted in the media is pretty obvious by your statement. Did you even read the jury report – you don't need to answer that because if you had then you would know that Paterno had reported it to the Assistant Chief of Police. The disgusting part about this entire media-fest is that the University is being put to blame – not the 4 individuals who perpetrated the horrific incidents. You know who will suffer? The children who were already tortured, over 100,000 students, and families across the entire state of Pennsylvania. The reason is because the name of Penn State is being blamed instead of Sandusky. He is the criminal here – NOT Penn State.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Since when are conspirators scapegoats? He openly said that he had knowledge and could have done more. He claims that he didn't have details, but a grown man in a shower with a child should have been enough to make sure he was not able to come in contact with other children. Besides, what I don't understand is how all these supporters talk about how great and influential JoePa was to the school, but he didn't have enough influence to convince higher ups to take action against someone who may possibly be acting inappropriately with children? JoePa you are just as bad as the rest of them.....

      November 16, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. MARIE

    WHAT HE DID BY NOT REPORTING IT WAS WRONG.HE SHOULD HAVE GONE TO THE POLICE,BUT WITH WHAT HEAR SAY?THEY SHOULD HAVE LEFT HIM FINISH THE SEASON.WHAT ABOUT THE GRAD (NOW DEFENSE COUCH)THAT SAW IT WITH THE NAKED EYE.WHY WILL HE STILL BE AT THE GAMES?PROTECTED BY A PRESS BOX.HE REALLY SHOULD BE THE ONE TAKING THE FALL FOR THIS,NOT JOEPA.HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE ONE GIVEN THE BOOT.JOE PA WAS GOING TO RETIRE AT THE END OF THE SEASON.DID THEY GET RID OF HIM FOR THIS OR WAS IT BECAUSE THEY TRIED BEFORE AND FAILED?

    November 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Colleen Ouimet

    I AM A MOTHER AND A GRANDMOTHER. AT SOME POINT IN TIME PROBALBLY WHILE THIS WAS HAPPENING ALL 4 ADULTS INVOLVED WERE EITHER FATHERS, GRANDPARENTS, OLDER BROTHERS OR COUSINS OF A YOUNG BOY HOW COULD THEY NOT HAVE STEPPED INTO THE FIRE AND RESCUED HIM AND THE OTHERS THAT FOLLOWED? HOW DO THEY EXPLAIN THEIR NON ACTION TO THEIR WIVES, DAUGHTERS, SONS, GRANDSONS, GRANDDAUGHTERS.? THAT IT IS OKAY IF THE PERSON IS FAMOUS AND IT DOESN'T INVOLVE THIER FAMAILIES?

    I DON'T CARE WHO YOU ARE YOU ARE AS GUILTY AS THE PERPATRAITOR FOR NOT INVOLVING THE POLICE. BUT YOU DIDN'T AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING YOU DID TO YOURSELVES AND YOU MOST DEFINATELY DESERVE. WHY DOES THE COACH WHO FIRST REPORTED IT STILL HAVE HIS JOB?. WHY WASN'T HE ARRESTED AND HIS FATHER, AND JOEP.? YOU ALL KNOW THAT NOT HAVING BEEN QUESTIONED BY THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THIS INCIDENT IT WAS NOT REPORTED. ALL OF YOU STUDENTS AT PENN STATE. YOU ALL DESERVED TO BE ARRESTED FOR DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AND EXPELLED FROM SCHOOL FOR YOUR SHEER STUPIDITY AT NOT REALISING THAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN YOU, YOUR THE RIGHT AGE NOW TO HAVE BEEN THAT POOR SOUL WHOS LIFE WAS DESTROYED AND NOW YOU CONDONE IT BY YOUR STUPIDITY

    November 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quinton

      So you want to see another witch hunt bring down more innocent people. If you read the grand jury report you would see that JoePa reported the allegations to Shultz. Shultz was in charge of the University Police at the time. If you were at Penn State like I am, you would have seen that the destruction of property was carried out by a few rowdy people and that most of the crowd was peaceful. You should be banned from making comments due to sheer ignorance. Dont act like judge and jury when you have no idea of the situation. Also I'm sure that many of these so called "stupid" students are at least smart enough to know that generalizations do not accurately depict the truth.

      November 14, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sheryl9000

    Joe Paterno and the president fired...In my humble opinion....it's awesome and a few more of them ought to go too! The old "I told my supervisor and the campus police and nothing was done, so it's not my fault" reasoning just don't fly with me! You don't just let it go! You have to move heaven and earth to make sure something is done...not just the absolute bare minimum. Go to the police, the media, the governor...wherever to make sure something is done! There were children out there that were being raped and Joe Paterno and the others all just let it happen! It's just like it always seems to be....when it's anything to do with sports at college level....the sport, coaches and players are always more important. It's all about the game. Forget that their are adults walking around today with childhood scars that will never fade because of it all. For them all to sweep it under the rug is freaking disgusting and makes me wanna puke!

    November 10, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. THIRSTING FOR THE WORD

    @ Colleen
    Every abused boy thanks you for those words. (HUG)

    November 11, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sundaram Venkitarama

    The one question to be asked of Joe Paterno and all the rest who were aware of these crimes is – 'what would you do if that 10 year old who was abused, was your own child?" It is absolutely shameful and disgusting that these people did not set in motion the full might of the legal system. Their 'cover my own ass' impulse overcame any shred of collective responsibility in them !

    November 11, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dick Nichols

    Just watched a report aired just minutes ago about the victims...........Ya Know, Ya Know, Ya Know, Ya Know, Ya Know,
    Ya Know, Ya Know...........get a reporter who has a command of the English language or........a stutterer.

    November 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barry Ernst

    I would like to know where the PA Governor is at this time. Why has he not made a public statement concerning this situation? After all, he is at the top of the Chain of Command and apparently none of this has gotten to the top of the chain in the past (or has it?).

    November 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve_PA

      The PA governor was the attorney general when this investigation started. During the 3 year investigation, he did nothing to keep Sandusky away from children.

      November 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. billgme

    Joe Pa affected very positively thousands of lives of young men during his 61 years at Penn St. As he said in hindsight I should have done more. He has to live with his inaction in this case. He is a man of the Catholic faith and he knows as he told the students outside his home on Wed, go to class and pray for the victims. He called it one of the great sorrows of his life. This is a tragedy not a witchhunt.

    November 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. boyd10

    Sounds like the church to me

    November 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AaronG

    Everyone who says Paterno didn't report it is clearly not paying attention. He did not ONLY tell his superiors, but Gary Schultz who was in charge of the university police. He earned and deserved more respect than he is getting now as his reputation has been ripped to shreds. He got fired over the phone...61 years at the university and no one had the guts to even sit down and have a face to face meeting with him. Let's call this what it is–the court of (misinformed) public opinion. Terrible. Especially when you realize that with Paterno's face at the front of this story, Sandusky is being forgotten. Something is very wrong with this picture.

    November 12, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Joy

      I totally agree with you. Well put.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      I'm glad that Joe Paterno was fired because he should have done more...period. I wonder how many JoePa supporters would stand behind him if it was one of their own kids. All of them are a bunch of punks that wanted to save their own jobs and image. For the people who made comments about who did what legally, please stop the nonsense...it is a ridiculous argument. I guess the judge who set that pedophile free was did what she was supposed to do legally too....whatever!!!!

      November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    This is a major cover up and someone has to be the scapegoat. Does anyone truly believe that the Penn State Board of Directors had absolutely no knowledge of Sandusky's crimes ? Of course they knew and they have thrown Paterno under the bus in order to protect themselves!

    November 13, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
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