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. V. Kurt Bellman

    Penn State will now be known as the school that molests the rule of law and has an utterly gutless Board of Trustees. They will deserve that label far longer than anything having to do with Sandusky.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kenster66

    Joe Pa has probably spiked a few end-zone's in his time. That's why no one has been fired over the years. He approved of the behaviour.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cecilia H,

    V.Kurt Bellmmman our Board of Trustees acted decisively and is not gutless. Your comment labels you, not Penn State.
    Kenster66, if you think Paterno approved of the behavior reported to him, after reporting it to the campus police (Shultz,)
    you are wrong and you comments say nothing about Joe Paterno, but a lot about you.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kenster66

    Joe will be up on charges over all this in a few weeks. With the size of this mess, more heads will roll.
    If anyone thinks Joe Pa is innocent in all this, you will quickly be proven wrong in a few short days.

    November 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Patty Flores

    So in todays society, if I say I was told by someone that you were molesting a child, I'd be sued. Will someone please tell me why the man who saw the abuse did not go to the Police? Why did he wait? The Police are not that slow, 2002 to 2011. Why was that witness not screaming bloody murder? If I hadn't been interviewed by Detectives in 72 hours, I'd be raising hell and calling the newspapers..Did he tell the kids parents? I do not watch football, I really care not, but Paterno appears to have given a lot, and it seems like he is being scapegoated...No one has said he say the abuse. He only had "I was told...Rumers also get people fired...

    November 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sandy

    He met his 'legal obligation' by reporting it. That's wonderful. But he didn't report it to POLICE. I wonder if it had been one of this 17 grandchildren if he would have done more? He may be (have been) a great coach, but he is a disgrace. More kids were abused in those years because he sat back and said "I did what I was supposed to do", and nothing more. HOW DID HE EVEN LOOK AT SANDUSKY DAY AFTER DAY, YEAR AFTER YEAR, KNOWING WHAT HE KNEW!?

    November 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Alison

    My biggest problem with the media and some of these comments has to do with the fact that many people blame Joe Paterno or other members of the University for not doing more. But take a moment to think about what you would have actually done in this situation? Sandusky was a man that these guys knew for 20 or 30 years, a man who was then respected and admired. What would you have done if you heard similar accusations about a loved one or someone that you were so close too? It must have been incredibly difficult to hear these allegations and to reconcile them with the person that they knew. While I wish things had been done differently, hindsight is always 20/20. It's a lot easier to say now, what actions should have been taken after the fact. Now, more than ever, the Penn State community and beyond has to come together in order to make sure this tragic event NEVER occurs again.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JanGirl

    Hypocracy. Everyone loves to blame. Everyone loves a scandal. Paterno should NOT be fired. The school's policy was followed. Polices are not corrected or modified until their used. Who would have seen this monster coming and write a policy to "correctly" handle it? Everyone loves to see someone's life destroyed, cause it's better than yours. Anyone making comments should read the Grand Jury Indictment prior to speaking anymore. There are many other's to blame for this tragedy. Victim? Yes, I've been one. And I don't sit back freely anymore and watch anything get hurt. Complete WITCH HUNT! Too bad all this energy is being wasted, aim it toward Congress.

    November 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bigwilliestyles

    CNN; what a pos.

    November 10, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jason

    Why is Mike McQueary being allowed to stay on the coaching staff? He actually witnessed Sandusky showering with the child. Why didn't he call the policed immediately?

    November 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WDP

    This is real simple people, What would Joe or you have done if you or he were told it was your or his 10 year old son or Grandson in that shower. CASE CLOSED

    November 10, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anonymous

    I am a PSU alum and still proud of my school. I will not let a few people who made a wrong decision mar the good of an entire University and the good the students can do (example Dance Marathon) and the Alumni. Joe will be missed – love him and always will!! Why is it he is fired but the key eyewitness is still on the coaching staff?

    November 10, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      One additional comment on the facts: Joe did report this to police and in 2002, Sandusky was NOT a University employee. Maybe one thought is prior employees should not be given access to their prior place of employment – just a thought.

      November 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jean travers

    This whole incident goes to show how low the morals and priorities of our young people today. The Penn State rioters should be railing against Paterno instead of supporting him. He looked the other way. It's called "consequences". For Paterno and these protestors, football took top priority over the protection of students and their well-being. They all should be shamed!!!

    November 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. truth

    I am not even a fan of PSU and still feel that Paterno deserves better than this. He told the authorities(university police), he told the AD. Why is he being used as the scapegoat. When the whole truth comes out, I bet we'll find that the board knew about this for a while and sat on it. In the military, fire dept., police department and most other organizations chain of command is preached. Paterno did all this and more. I realize that this is a tragic situation and people are looking for someone to blame. However we shouldn't run blindly without considering all the facts. I just don't like the idea of Paterno being used as scapegoat or some mechanism of self-preservation.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • BMcGee

      Well in the human race, we would call 911 when we see or hear of a violent crime committed against a child. And for child abuse, you do not have to be a witness to report it. Chain of command is irrelevant here.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. ann anoymous

    The students rioting should be ashamed of themselves. They are declaring football and school notoriety comes before the safety and well-being of other students.

    November 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
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