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. Ben

    This is a witch hunt people! I am not saying that Joe couldn't have done more from a moral standpoint, but he was the only one who did what he was supposed to do at all, once again I am not saying there was not more he could have done but he was still the most honest person involved and he is taking the most heat for this! In am a current PSU student and there is much more to this that the national media has misinterpreted or just plain not reported at all(I am not claiming they are doing this on purpose or anything). All you people who claim that Joe failed in a moral sense, why are you not saying the same about PSU President Graham Spanier? He had the same knowledge as Joe and did not report it to authorities either, so why are you giving him a pass? I also read an article that said that current Governor of PA Tom Corbett knew about these allegations when he was Attorney General of PA and upon seeing the inaction of Administrative officials did nothing himself to intervene in the situation. Why is he getting a pass? These people are using Joe Paterno as a crash test dummy to save their own hides, and after all he has given to Penn State that is unforgivable!

    November 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luther

      Ben- All of those who knew must be scrutinized. That is the price you pay for being in a public role. If the former Attorney General did nothing he must be scrutinized as well. Children-Ben-Children. All must pay the piper. Children.

      November 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      These jocks don't care about some dude having intercourse with a 10 year old boy. Admit it.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sheila

    Let's not forget that Sandusky was not on staff when Mr. Paterno was informed of the allegations by the GA. Then Mr. Paterno told the campus police. He did his job. How many of us look back on our lives and say I wish I had done more and not even in a criminal situation just with helping a neighbor. Mr. Paterno has had a storied coaching career whose real legacy is the number of young people he has helped form into good men. Many of us can't say the same. I don't think that Mr. Paterno needs to be judged so harshly. We all wish that we could change something in our past. God Bless JoPa

    November 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth


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

    * Timeline Of Events

    * Jerry Sandusky
    * The former defensive coordinator was charged with s-e-xually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period. Sandusky, 67, maintains he is innocent. He played football at Penn State and was a coach there for 32 years — 23 of them as the team’s defensive coordinator. He and his wife, Dottie, raised six adopted children.
    * Tim Curley
    * The Penn State athletic director, 57, denies being told of s-e-xual misconduct by Sandusky in 2002 but is accused of covering up allegations tied to the scandal. He was named athletic director on Dec. 30, 1993. Curley went on administrative leave the day before his Nov. 7 arraignment.
    * Gary Schultz
    * As the senior vice president for finance and business — which gives him oversight of university police — Schultz, 62, has been charged with covering up abuse allegations. He served as Penn State’s senior vice president and treasurer from 1993 to 2009, when he retired. Schultz returned to the same job in 2011, on a temporary basis. In early 2010, the university named a campus child care center after Schultz, who retired again on Nov. 6.
    * Joe Paterno
    * “Joe Pa,” 84, has been an assistant or head coach at Penn State University since 1950. Coming under increasing pressure to resign in the wake of the scandal, he plans to retire at the end of the 2011 season. In a statement, Paterno said, “This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.” Law enforcement officials say he is not a target in their investigation. Paterno has five children, all of whom attended Penn State.
    * Graham Spanier
    * Spanier, 63, became the university’s president in 1995, after serving at universities in Oregon, Nebraska, and New York. A faculty and staff member at Penn State from 1973 to 1982, Spanier’s academic background is in sociology and family counseling.
    * Mike McQueary
    * In 2002, the then-graduate assistant told Paterno that he had witnessed Sandusky abusing a boy in a Penn State locker room shower. Paterno informed Curley, who later met with the graduate assistant and Schultz. McQueary, who is now an assistant coach at Penn State, reiterated his statement to the grand jury.
    * Jim Calhoun
    * A temporary worker whose job as a janitor at Penn State lasted only eight months, Calhoun told co-workers and a supervisor in 2000 that he witnessed Sandusky engaging in s-e-xual activity with a boy in a campus locker-room shower. Several staff members later said that Calhoun, a veteran of the Korean War, was visibly shaken by what he reported seeing. He now resides in an assisted living facility and reportedly has dementia.
    * Ray Gricar
    * Declared legally dead in July, Gricar was the Centre County district attorney from 1985 to 2005, when he disappeared. He chose not to prosecute Sandusky in 1998, after allegations of inappropriate contact with young boys surfaced. The decision helped to end a police investigation into the report.
    * Wendell Courtney
    * The former general counsel for Penn State University is also the longtime lawyer for Sandusky’s charity foundation, The Second Mile. He was working for both organizations when, according to Schultz, he reviewed the 1998 university police report about Sandusky’s behavior with boys.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Sorry, forgot to say the above is from a gentlemen's view .com

    November 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BJT

    Sandusky should be jailed for life.
    Joe Pa – fire him NOW, do not give him until the end of the season ... NO WAY...that little boy didn't get any say so.
    Everyone else that kept their mouths shut should be fired and/or serve some time in jail too.
    It is the lowest you can go when people care more for a stupid sports team than the well being and safety of little boys/all children. These people involved make me SICK and they should PAY!

    November 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kathleen

    Let's put it this way...suppose some random staff assistant walked in on some guy raping YOUR child or grandchild and then went to tell Coach Paterno....how would YOU want the Coach to handle it if it was YOUR child/grandchild??

    And one more thing...if that staff assistant saw it with his own eyes, why didn't he TAKE THAT PERVERT OUT right there on the spot???

    November 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • PSUAlum

      I'd want whomever witnessed the crime to report it to the police, because the police want first hand accounts, not second-hand accounts.

      November 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johhny law

    This is Mafia type behavior, just like the Catholic Church. Sports is more important to the morons in Pennsylvania, because they have nothing else to be proud of.Look at Steelers Bg Ben.They used to hang guys for raping white girls in Georgia. PSU did not want to be bothered with the problems caused by the 'raping of little boys". Head should roll. Kill the football programs and invest it in science programs. They don't believe in evolution in Pa, but again, the strong took advantage of the weak.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    I think this going to get uglier before it gets better.Lets go back to 1998 when this first happened a child was molested by Sandusky it was reported to the police by the parents.They then taped a phone call from the child to Sandusky and he admitted to what he did no charges were filed and the case was dropped.The parents did nothing at all they let it drop. Why?Did the child get a free PSU education for letting the case be dropped? Since then the D A in that case has disappeared and in 2005 he was declared dead in 2005.How come the parents did nothing?If that was my son someone would have had a bullet in the head.Joe Pa did nothing wrong go after the real people who covered this whole thing up since 1998.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      I don't believe the parents have a say on whether a criminal trial is dropped by the DA. A civil trial yes, but you are really stretchnig it here.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    Joe did the right thing. In a court of law, what Paterno knew would be hearsay. Some one told him that they had seen something illegal happening. Joe told his boss that someone told him yada ...yada. It would be the higher up, Joe's boss, to launch an investigation. If Paterno had seen, first hand, the actual incident, then he would have been culpable as his boss if no action were taken.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mmmmm

    Civil suits should fly...the DA should revist this case...the school is attempting to protect itself....

    November 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Penn student

    The kids were weaklings. Screw them! They would never have made it on one of Joe's teams. Football is the most important thing here at Penn and Joe Paterno IS football at Penn. Joe is King! Get off his damn back.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mmmmm

    so sad to see Penn students supporting corrupt men who assisted and condone abuse against boys...these Penn students are unethical.

    November 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Janie

    I am very disappointed with the students reaction. I can't help but wonder how they would feel if the victim were their child or perhaps their brother, cousin or friend. I am sure the reaction would be completely different.

    November 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kim

    I'm sitting here watching CNN, announcing the firing of Joe Paterno, then they continue to show his photos, WHILE DISCUSSING THE CHARGES AGAINST JERRY SANDUSKY. Again the media chooses Joe Pa's face to portray the criminal rather than the less famous face of the one accused. SENSATIONALISM at its sleaziest!!!!
    And their CNN legal analyst portraying this whole story as a group cover-up for years, implying the guilt of PSU and making the assumption of what staff knew, talk of lawsuits, etc., etc.
    Jeffrey T , Senior Legal analyst-- Were you present for that conversation with Paterno, that you can state with certainty what exactly he was told? NO! Do you in fact, know what was known on campus? NO! Your comments only add fuel to this escalating situation, of which you truly know nothing more than anyone else who read the Grand Jury report.
    This has so been turned around from what the story should be. I held CNN in higher regard, but am now seeing that apparently all media outlets are engaging in a race to be the first one with the biggest, breaking story - not the one to present an honest investigation of what happened, who does it effect, and how can we overcome what did happen?
    Shame on us all for letting it happen–

    November 9, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Penn State Alumni

      Excellent points!!!

      November 10, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Portland tony

    Goodbye Joe!

    November 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
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