Jan 26, 2012; State College, PA, USA; Sue Paterno (left) and a grandchild leaves the memorial service for former Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State Football: Sue Paterno Releases a Letter, Report To Follow on Sunday


Sue Paterno, wife to the late Joe Paterno, released a letter on Friday, which brings to our attention her thoughts on the scandal that rocked Penn State over a year ago. The entirety of the letter can be read here, but follow along as we take this apart and try to make sense of it all.

First, Sue Paterno dismisses the Louis Freeh report’s claims that paint her late husband in a negative light, noting his “rigidly moral” character:

When the Freeh report was released last July, I was as shocked as anyone by the findings and by Mr. Freeh’s extraordinary attack on Joe’s character and integrity. I did not recognize the man Mr. Freeh described. I am here to tell you as definitively and forcefully as I know how that Mr. Freeh could not have been more wrong in his assessment of Joe. I knew Joe Paterno as well as one human being can know another. Joe was exactly the moral, disciplined and demanding man you knew him to be. Over the years I watched as he struggled with countless personal and professional challenges. Never – not once – did I see him compromise his principles or twist the truth to avoid bad publicity or protect his reputation. Joe was tough, sometimes difficult, always opinionated and extremely demanding. He was also scrupulously honest, rigidly moral and absolutely unafraid of the consequences of doing the right thing.

In essence, Sue Paterno denies that Paterno ever knew anything about the Jerry Sandusky scandal and would never save face by covering up for someone as disgusting as Sandusky. Of course, you expect this from a family member whose husband was accused of befriending a child molester.

Sue Paterno then goes on to announce the release of the report she conducted via her lawyer, which will be made public on Sunday morning:

Although it was not something I ever imagined doing, I directed my lawyer, Wick Sollers, of the King & Spalding firm in Washington DC, to undertake a review of the Freeh report and Joe’s actions. I told him to engage the best, most respected experts, to take whatever time he needed and to go wherever the facts led. Sunday morning at 9am we are releasing the full Report by Wick and his team of experts. The report and additional information will be available at Paterno.com.

So Sue Paterno employed her own lawyer to counter reports that harshly damaged Joe Paterno’s reputation. Given that this letter was written, it’s almost certain that the report will pick and choose facts which paint the late Penn State head coach in the least negative light possible.

And, as you’d expect, that’s exactly what’s in the letter:

I will not attempt in this letter to summarize the Report of the experts except to say that they unreservedly and forcefully confirm my beliefs about Joe’s conduct. In addition, they present a passionate and persuasive critique of the Freeh report as a total disservice to the victims of Sandusky and the cause of preventing child sex offenses. I hope you can take the time to review the report and share it with friends and family.

Here’s Sue Paterno, basically saying that the report wipes her husband’s hands clean of any wrong-doing. The report, she argues, will place blame everywhere else except Joe Paterno.

Sue Paterno closes the letter by answering the many observers’ questions: Why won’t the Paterno family shut up? What is it that the family is trying to accomplish by doing this?

In essence, it’s all about reputation, as it has been from the very beginning. She notes that the restoration of wins, and the resurrection of his statue, are not goals, but to put it simply — and I’m paraphrasing — she wants her husband’s legacy to remain, even if it’s been wiped off the record books.

Nothing good can come of this. At best, the family and die-hard Paterno supporters will rally around this report — which, without a doubt in your mind, will cherry-pick facts left and right — and claim to be at peace, knowing Paterno acted correctly at every step of the way.

But observers detached from the situation, without much connection here, will brush off the report and understand that this is just needless damage control.

If the Paterno family wants this thing to go away, they’d be better off not trying to hoard media attention by releasing reports which will be dripping with bias.

Tags: Football Joe Paterno Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Anon

    “If the Paterno family wants this thing to go away, they’d be better off trying to hoard media attention by releasing reports which will be dripping with bias.”

    dripping with bias…as you clearly display as the author of this article.

    • carlosatUCLA

      You’re right, I forgot about the age-old UCLA-Penn State rivalry that sees every UCLA fan trashing on Penn State as much as possible.

      • joeblow

        Goes to show rivalries and biased reporting are independent. Obviously
        you dislike Paterno and/or Penn State for whatever reason. Maybe you
        are just another lemming that thinks anything and everything printed on
        the internet is fact. But the real truth here is that none of us have
        all the facts. You “journalism” types have done a poor job uncovering
        the facts so you resort to disguising opinions as fact.

        • carlosatUCLA

          “Obviously you dislike Paterno and/or Penn State for whatever reason.”

          Why? Because I wrote something negatively about them? This is not journalism — this is blogging. It’s the New Age media. Computers, Internet. You should know that by now.

          “You “journalism” types have done a poor job uncovering
          the facts so you resort to disguising opinions as fact.”

          Again, not a journalist. I don’t uncover facts — I relay and interpret them. If you don’t like the interpretation, too bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

    This is exactly the the same kind of BS that has followed this case from day one. A supposed journalist writing a piece based on speculation and conjecture. He “Cherry Picks” statements and tries to parlay them into facts. He forgets Sue’s attorney’s were instructed to follow the information wherever that may lead. And if that information led to Joe doing something bad that would be in the report. The Paterno’s have said from day one they want the truth, no matter what that truth is. The problem this guy has is information is now coming out to expose the media for the non factual reporting and lies that has occurred in this affair. How can this clown even give an opinion when the report has not been made public? What a butcher job.

    • carlosatUCLA

      Such a butcher job that you decided to leave a very long comment. Thanks for the pageviews, sir!

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

        Have you always deflected? Yes you wrote a pile of BS. You with your telepathic powers were able to ascertain what was in the report. Yes media arrogance at its height.

        • carlosatUCLA

          Aaaaand thanks for coming back. If you disagree, you’re welcome to voice your opinions in the comments further. But, like, I won’t be listening.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

            You didn’t challenge any of my points about your ignoring Sue’s instructions to her legal team. Whats the matter, can’t make your BS story stand up? You media types are all the same. You get challenged to defend your position with opposing facts and you put your tail between your legs and run away. Seen it happen a lot during this saga.

          • carlosatUCLA

            Nah, it’s clear you know what I think, no need to explain myself further.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

            I thought you wouldn’t be listening. Anyway word has it be ready for some shock and awe when the report is released. Then I’ll wait to see what you have to say.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

            NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT ANY OF THE HATERS ACCUSATIONS, THE MEDIA’s ACCUSATIONS OR ANYONE ELSE’s. NONE. Get i?. Independent. What does NO EVIDENCE mean to you? Didn’t blame anyone else either. Just the facts of evidence. NONE FOUND TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIMS. I love it. So start attacking the messengers and not the facts.

          • carlosatUCLA

            Cherry-picked facts. Thanks for reading/returning.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

            You obviously didn’t read the entire report just like a low life journalist. No wonder your profession is considered a bottom feeding one. If you have the guts to read Sollers, Thornburgs and Clements report you will be a hypocrite for not realizing that Joe should be completely exonerated. But I’m sure the taste of humble pie will dampen your appetite to do some real journalistic research before damning this report. Read the whole thing and then spout off. Cherry picked facts? You didn’t read the whole thing and your statement is BULLSHIT. No facts were cherry picked. Its an evaluation of the evidence that Freeh used. Shows you didn’t read it.

          • carlosatUCLA

            Again, not my profession. This is like your tenth comment though, and so for this I thank you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/bill.porter.3194 Bill Porter

            So when are you going to read the entire report because its “Not dripping with bias” as you proclaimed.

  • Kyle Kensing

    For those interested: http://paterno.com/Default.aspx