Commentary: Paterno Report Shifts Story from Blame to Awareness

“With the Benefit of Hindsight, I wish I had done more”

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno

If you have look at my bio, you know I graduated from Penn State.(Class of 1999, Telecommunications) I know that by bringing up Jerry Sandusky again, it’s like ripping the bandaid off of a wound that is still healing.  Many people forget the first part of the quote above when taking about the sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State.

Aside from players, and coaches and what they have to say about their coach I wanted to give my perspective on Joe Paterno. I met him on several occasions when I worked for Forever Broadcasting in State College as a DJ and Production Director.

Paterno came into the studio, with his signature thick glasses, to record a radio commercial for a local car dealer and as you could imagine, I was pretty nervous the first time meeting him as I had to record the audio for the client with Joe Pa’s voice. He did the first cut and looked at me with a slight smile as if to say, we’re good, right? I froze for a moment and thought to myself, “do I have him record it again, or go with the first take.” I had him do it one more time and gave the choice to the client which cut to use. We shook hands, and off he went.

With the Freeh Report and the Paterno Report coming out yesterday, which did say it was a rush to judge the former Penn State coach, the focus has now turned to awareness, not just for State College and Penn State, but for the country. The interview with Katie Couric that included Sue Paterno, Joe’s wife and their children showed the kind of man that Paterno was. He lived in the same house in State College on a quiet  street. He raised his children to have honesty and integrity in their lives and with hindsight I do believe that Sandusky would have been brought to justice back in 2001. It was brought up that back in 2001 no one knew the warning signs to look for. Paterno and Sandusky’s kids would play in pools together on bowl trips, no one knew. Jerry Sandusky and his wife adopted children, the people at the agency who allowed him to have those children did not know.

“If the experts didn’t know, how could we be expected to know” – Sue Paterno on Jerry Sandusky

The blame of this story has now shifted to helping people become more aware of this issue at hand. I do not believe that Joe Paterno was made aware of anything concerning Sandusky until 2001, in his meeting with Mike McQueary which he sent up to his superiors.

You can read both the Freeh Report and the Paterno Report on, but if nothing else allow this post to help you to be more aware.

-Justin Phillips/


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Justin Phillips is Sports Reporter for Newsradio 1120 KPNW in Eugene, Oregon


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