Photo: AP Images
In a letter to former players prior to his death, Joe Paterno appeared to be angry and defiant that the Jerry Sandusky scandal was tarnishing the reputation of Penn State University and its football program. The letter was first obtained by FightonState.com, and later authenticated by the Associated Press (via ESPN.com)…I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal…Let me say that again so I am not misunderstood: regardless of anyone’s opinion of my actions or the actions of the handful of administration officials in this matter, the fact is nothing alleged is an indictment of football or evidence that the spectacular collections of accomplishments by dedicated student athletes should be in anyway tarnished…Yet, over and over again, I have heard Penn State officials decrying the influence of football and have heard such ignorant comments like Penn State will no longer be a “football factory” and we are going to “start” focusing on integrity in athletics. These statements are simply unsupported by the five decades of evidence to the contrary — and succeed only in unfairly besmirching both a great university and the players and alumni of the football program who have given of themselves to help make it great….It must stop. This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one. It is not an academic scandal and does not in any way tarnish the hard earned and well-deserved academic reputation of Penn State. That Penn State officials would suggest otherwise is a disservice to every one of the over 500,000 living alumni.
While there is something to be said about Paterno trying to shield the football players from a scandal they had nothing to do with, it is hard to believe that many people will agree that this is not, in fact, a football scandal.
Based on recently uncovered emails, today’s Freeh report, as well as the general perception of Paterno’s stature at Penn State, it is hard not to see that other school officials cowered to Paterno and the power of the school’s football program.
So while the players may be innocent, the football program is not. And while this is first-and-foremost a child rape scandal, it is also, to a lesser extent, a football scandal.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.