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. janez

    no. now.

    November 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gene shaffer

    I bet if someone had told him a relative of his was the one assaulted he would have done more. He should retire right away instead of padding his record with more games

    November 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Padding his record? What can't stand the fact the man is one of the Greatest Coaches? Please go fall off your drama high-horse.

      November 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    Joe PA got rail roaded with this. Half these people spouting off that he should be fire probably never even knew about him before this past week

    November 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • bg

      Had it been your kid/grandkid, would it have been ok for Joe to report it to his boss? I still don't understand how "reporting the incident to his supervisor" is fulfilling your legal obligation? Are state laws re: child abuse written to include reporting to a boss? What if Joe were a Penn State board member who has NO boss–to whom would he be "legally" obliged to report the abuse? Bull Sh..

      November 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parent

      I don't care if Joe is a great coach or the president of the United States. I don't care if he's black or white. I don't care if he's running for office or if he collects trash for a living. I don't care what his win or loss record is. I care about the children and I know the law. He did not do what he was supposed to do and as the direct Manager....good lord, read up on employment law. Had Sandusky shot and killed 9 people in assembly hall and Joe was told...telling his boss about it would be enough? So sad we are teaching these students that "he did the right thing". Failing to report a crime IS a crime! Hello????

      November 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parent

      What this man did regarding football prior to this is absolutely IRRELEVANT!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • fumed!

      bg–> his boss happens to work with the University Police, with his reporting thought it would go to the police. you guys are jumping into the wrong bandwagon. Read the grand jury reports!!!! I'm pretty sure JoePa didn't know the details

      November 10, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. MFR

    Once again we believe EVERYTHING the media tells us. That's what makes me sad. Glenn is right. Schultz was the head of the University Police and is who Paterno reported to. 1) The fact that this is all that embodies Penn State is ridiculous and 2) That Joe Paterno has done incredible things for that football program, it is sad that he is being forced out. As an alum, I am sad. It's too bad we have to depend on speculative media to make our decisions for us rather than being able to make our own.

    November 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aries

      Paterno told the Athletic Director, Tim Curley, not the campus police. Makes you wonder why he didn't go directly to the police, tho, doesn't it (since we're all making our own decisions)?

      November 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aries

      Also - since we don't want to be beholden to the media for the facts - try reading the grand jury report. Be sure to read about Victim #2, and then go revel in your alum status. http://i.cdn.turner.com/dr/teg/tsg/release/sites/default/files/assets/sanduskygrangjury.pdf

      November 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trinka

      Wasn't he also the head of the capus police? Yeah, he was. Shut up.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Parent

      And if it were a teacher's Manager at Penn State aware that the teacher was raping students (ON CAMPUS B!Y THE WAY SO IT IS PENN STATE'S RESPONSIBILITY), should the Manager stay til year end? Oh sure....A Coach, an assistant coach or whatever is NOT GOD! God help the alum who can't see past a football score. So so sad.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bill

    I'm sure a person as responsible at joe paterno did all he morally deemed right in this case. If he's not as moral as some critics so be it

    November 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Willie

    Posted on Why's the media reporting that Penn State's planning to dismiss Paterno? He only stayed on to break Eddie Robinson's NCAA all-time wins record last week! Now if you're gonna dimiss the people that covered; that'll be newsworthy! Congrats Joe Pa; although we know you really weren't coaching the last 4 years and some wins should be vacated!! The media cant be that consumed with a scandal that they can't see what's so obvious!

    I have a great deal of respect for Joe Paterno; he an Eddie Robinson epitomize what it what being a coach and leader are about! I wish he had stepped out on faith and did a better job in this scandal.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Having dealt with university police, (not penn State's though) I can tell you that if someone called the town police directly on a campus matter, no matter what it was, the town police would bounce it back to the campus police, which supersedes the town authority in most cases.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Is Penn State only noted for football, or do they teach academics as well?
    I wasn't aware that all of the students at Penn were on the football team.
    Surely there are alums that can be proud of the school academics...

    November 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trinka

      To hear people talk, football only. Idiots.

      November 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kim

    I can't help but wonder why no one is questioning Mike McQueary's role in this? If what he told the Grand Jury (Did you read the report?) is true, he actually witnessed a child being sodomized, WHY DIDN"T HE STOP IT? Instead, a 28-year-old football coach, left the building and called his father!!! Then he went to Paterno the next day, who in my mind did the right thing. He after all, received information second-hand, and I truly believe that he was not told the graphic details, or police would have been contacted.
    McQueary, the eyewitness, had the ultimate responsibility to contact police. He was later informed of how the admin. responded, indeed minimal. But since HE WAS THE ONLY ONE TO WITNESS the brutality of the crime, he should not have sat back for the last 8 years without having reported it further then!!
    And where were the parents in all the instances of this happening over the years, I only read of one mother who involved herself.
    I still believe that Joe Paterno is a good man, and this witch hunt has decided to make him the face, when in reality it should be Jerry Sandusky.

    November 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trinka

      Exactly! It wouldn't be nearly as fun to have JoePa drawn and quarterd by his haters if his GA had done HIS part? Blame it on Joe. BS!!!!!!

      November 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Penn State Alumni

      Well put! These were exactly my thoughts.

      November 10, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. wirebiter1

    Joe did report what he heard to his superior. Should he have done more? Probably. But he is the face of Penn State. From this day on when they see him, people will think of this tragic crime. It doesn't matter whether he commited it or not. For Pen State to separate itself from this, JoePa has to go. It is so very sad for all involved.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Luther

    If you decide to have a public role and especially a role of authority- you have to realize that scrutinty comes with the territory. I don't care who you are, how much money you make, or how saintly you have been-when you are a public figure you always run the risk of being scrutinized of the choices you make or don't make. This is a story of a group of boys who have had their lives taken away from them. Children. All of those involved must come under scrutinty. Period.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gung hoe

    Anyone who had been abused as a child ,this story strikes a nerve of anger ,hatred and just total disbelieve . Old sandusky has got to be greatful that it wasnt me that observed him with that young boy in the shower,lets just say he would never have the desire to ever do that again.As for coach paterno my respect for him went out the window when I found out he knew about this
    since 02 and did nothing more all the while knowing sandusky was B F ing more young boys ,shame on you PA

    November 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    While alot of posters like to blame the media & its "sheep" like followers, I'm not reading that in most posts! It seems Most of CNN bloggers are very asstute & informed from many sources! As I've said before, I often get as much insight from the posts as the articles! This situation is reminiscent of the bishops who protect child molesting priests with little or no action! I agree that the main focus should be on the perpetrator, Sandusky, but Paterno didn't do enough! Neither did Campus Police, or other people in authority positions at Penn State! This really is a classic, textbook example of "dropping the ball," as it were, because so many people could have followed up but didn't! I don't think we're doing enough as a society to protect kids from being ra.ped, threatned & toyed with for some sick pos enjoyment! Even though I disagree with Philip about his behavior on the blogs, I am in agreement with him on the issue of child molestation! These individuals need to be cas.tra.ted & be done with!!

    November 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J

    Today is a tragedy. A man who has given his life to the lives of so many and has helped so many grow, develop, and become the men they are today is being robbed of his career. All of this is done because someone else committed a crime. I hope those of you involved of getting him out feel ashamed. Put the focus where it needs to be on SANDUSKY!!! Leave Joe Paterno alone focus stories on things that are facts, maybe take a step back before making such rash decisions.

    This is amazing, and outright disgusting. I agree the focus should be on SANDUSKY! I guess the media need someone to point the finger at and so you spend all of this time investing the actions of a man who has done nothing more than stand behind a school of morals. So some believe his actions were morally inappropriate, were you there? My thought is probably not. Without witnessing the actions himself and simply going off what someone else said that they saw he did what was expected of him. Yes SANDUSKY continued to work and the school. So people say Joe Paterno should have known that nothing was being done, and how is that so? He is suppose to follow up on an allegation. He reported it and you have all shorted his career and in doing so I believe you have done much much more damage than good. You are tearing apart a university because of what you think, not knowing any actual facts for yourself, since you probably were not there, that is the moral thing to do for sure. Child abuse is a disgusting, unspeakable crime and I believe all those involved should be prosecuted to the full degree. If we are going to point the finger at anyone why is no one talking about what the person who actually saw the acts did? Should it not be the person who actually saw the crime committed that makes sure things are followed through and the answer is no. As a citizen you have a duty to report abuse, child, adult or elder. Once you have reported it the proper authorities are to do their jobs. After reporting it is kind of out of your own control.

    November 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gung hoe

    @luther you are so right brother.all of them boys will have to face a life of therapy to try to get their heads in order.There is not a punishment appropriate enough to enact on you mr sandusky.and like I stated in my post before just resign please the sooner the better,your presense just digs up old bones

    November 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luther

      I agree with you Gung Ho- The sooner the better. He doesn't need to be there Saturday. He needs to be out of his office today. Have a nice dinner tonight with his players to say goodbye. A farewell tour of POOR-POOR JOE will only bring more disgrace upon him, his family, the players, and the university. But most importantly, a farewell tour with media coverage only brings more pain to the victims of those who are suffering. Children.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
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