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. bigwilliestyles

    If I am concerned about anything, it is that this slimy pos has had all these years to prey on children, and the prestige of Penn State to enable his rotten activities. He used their facilities for God's sake! Paterno's job and Penn's black eye are a small price to pay for something that we really can only guess at the horrible magnitude of after all these years.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. Blake Bradley

    Why are your reporters continually failing to report correct information and misleading americans with regards to what he did with the information provided to him by Mike McQuery. I would sue you if I were him and I would win. He did take the information to the appropriate people to be handled. He deserves credit for that.

    Also, why is nobody following up on the DA from 1998 that turned up missing in 2005 just 3 years after the 2002 event that Joe knew of came to be. What happened to him? He was proclaimed dead but body was never found. Just a trashed computer. Anyone think someone on the BOT much higher than Joe might have offed him.

    November 10, 2011 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. matt

    as psu grad, this emotional swing of the gavel by the board will do irreparable damage to the university. Joe had resigned made a plan to exit and to fire him is to insult his dignity. In doing this the back lash on the board will be immediate, recruiting will dry up, applicants who would have come to psu will no longer apply. It will have decades of impact in contributions.

    November 10, 2011 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Cecilia H,

    As a PSU grad, I believe The Board of Trustees had no choice but to dismiss Pres. Spanier and Coach Paterno, There will be decades of pain surrounding the crimes that were committed against helpless children. The entire Penn State Community
    is ashamed of the initial response to these shameful acts, but the entire Penn State Community is FAR MORE THAN one sport. For a CNN commentator to ignorantly claim that Happy Valley is called Happy Valley because of the football program shows his ignorance of all that is good about Penn State.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. kim

    Excuse me, but what about McQueary? How has HE lived with himself since he witnessed this incident? How is he still employed and why isn't he being charged for not reporting a crime? He not only saw it, he could have stopped it. Pathetic and cowardly, all around.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      Keep watching. I bet you something will be in the news about him in the next couple of weeks. He won't get away unscathed.

      November 10, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    This is such a tragedy for the victims and CNN, you should be ashamed of yourselves. This is not investigative journalism, as you so proudly tout for your news organization. You have tried and convicted Mr. Paterno as if he was the perpetrator himself in these alleged incidents. Your commentators openly called for the ousting of Mr. Paterno – based on what? What right do you have to judge him? What happened to reporting the facts in an unbiased manor? I am a manager in a large corporation and if someone had reported an alleged incident such as this, by company policy, I would have to report it up the chain – I could not call the police – I would have to trust that those above me would so their jobs. Have you even investigated what Penn State’s policies are? I believe you owe an apology to Mr. Paterno and all those associated with the Penn State organization. You have given into sensationalism and personal opinion, instead of focusing on the facts, the alleged perpetrators, those that did not do their jobs, and the individuals victimized. My heart goes out to the victims.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cecilia H,

    It makes no sense to me that McQuery was not dismissed.

    November 10, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. tom

    this coaches give the real meaning of boys of fall.

    November 10, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. fumed!

    I'm not happy with what the Board of Trustee did with JoePa, he informed them he will retire at the end of the year and insult him with firing? He did report to his supervisor the incident but he didn't witness it, Where Mike McQuery thought all these witch hunt?? Why he still has a job and not JoePa?? Bring him back and finish with honor or SUE PSU and those board of trustee!

    November 10, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Really?

    Good Job CNN for not reporting the facts and hanging Mr. Paterno in the court of public opinion. I might as well have watched FOX news or some other shark news organization that smells blood in the water. Mr. Paterno did report it, that's all he could do within the confines of the University's policies. Go after those that did nothing and stop showing Mr. Paterno 10 times to the every 1 time you show of Sandusky. God help the victims in this media circus!

    November 10, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. Arni Cohn

    It is sad that the U.S. would aspire to be the moral standard for the world. Yet it seems that a large number do not understand that Joe Paterno knew of Sandusky's behaivor and condoned it by allowing it to continue. The fact he told his superiors did not relief him of the responsibility to stop this action if they did nothing. He shirked his moral responsibility. This is not different than the church's approach to their situation.
    This is an example of a decaying society – where greed and power seem to be the goals.

    November 10, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kenster66

    Penn State will now be known as the school that molests young boys. Whenever the talk is Penn state...people will be saying, Oh yeah, wasn't that the school that was full of child molesters.

    November 10, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Cecilia H,

      Maybe in 99 days, you will become aware of THON. Many of us know that NO STUDENT ORGANIZATION in THE WORLD has raised more money for helping children than Penn State students, who since 1972 have held a huge dance marathon to raise money for children's cancer research and treatment via THE FOUR DIAMONDS FUND. They work all year to raise money for THON, the dance marathon is the finale. I also think of the THOUSANDS of Penn State grads who are teachers, lawyers, nurses, doctors, business leaders, innovators, cyber security specialist, artists, writers, and innovators who protect children every day. Helping Sandusky's victims should be Penn State's next focus, but the horror of Sandusky's crimes will not define Penn State's future.

      November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matrix

    Did it ever occur to anyone at all that there was a gigantic cover-up surrounding Sandusky, and Paterno was deliberately kept on the dark, BECAUSE they knew he would make suck a stink about it? I can see it. Paterno is a simple man who lived for Penn Football. How nice of everybody to destroy an old man. Now there are more victims besides those poor boys. SHOW MORE SANDUSKY!!! HE'S THE CRIMINAL, NOT PATERNO!!! PUT THE BLAME OF THAT PIG SANDUSKY!!!

    Is Paterno being unfairly targeted because he IS the face of Penn State? I think so, yeah.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sandy

      Only ignorance is ones who put their heads in the sand...Paterno is as guilty as the rest, he knew, he did nothing except report to next higher up...he let that guy keep bringing kids in...he should go to prison old man or not...big cover up all in the name of sports is what it is period!! Maybe he will feel different if it was his grand child or child...disgusting!!!

      November 10, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Matrix

    Yeah, except it wasn't the school, it was ONE MAN!!!! ONE MAN DID IT!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Matrix

    "Penn State will now be known as the school that molests young boys. Whenever the talk is Penn state…people will be saying, Oh yeah, wasn’t that the school that was full of child molesters."
    Except it's not full of chold molesters! One man! One!!! God, people are ignorant!
    This is the king of stuff I'm talking about!

    November 10, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
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