Penn State Scandal: My Statement to the Paterno Family

"The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best." -- The Paterno Family, in a statement (how else?), 7/23/12

Since the moment that Jerry Sandusky was whisked out of the back of the courtroom on that fateful Friday night, with that creepy, blank stare and sporting that dog shit brown blazer, relatives of Joe Paterno have made it their personal business to provide ongoing reminders that they will not be ignored via crafted statements from their legal counsel.

Sandusky goes to prison? Here's a statement from the Paterno family.

Freeh Report is released implicating their old man as being complicit in Sandusky's abuse of these poor kids? Another statement from the Paternos (and a proclamation that they'd be launching their own investigation).

Joe Paterno statue is sent to statue Siberia? Paterno family statement.

You can set your goddamn watch to it.

So when the NCAA announced its decision to whack the Penn State football program to the tune of a 65-scholarship limit for the next four seasons, a four-year bowl ban, a $60 million fine, and the vacating of all wins between 1998 and 2011, naturally the Paterno spin brigade went into overdrive with yet another unsolicited "statement from the family:

"Sexual abuse is reprehensible, especially when it involves children, and no one starting with Joe Paterno condones or minimizes it. The horrific acts committed by Jerry Sandusky shock the conscience of every decent human being. How Sandusky was able to get away with his crimes for so long has yet to be fully understood, despite the claims and assertions of the Freeh report.

"The release of the Freeh report has triggered an avalanche of vitriol, condemnation and posthumous punishment on Joe Paterno. The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal. The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.

"That the President, the Athletic Director and the Board of Trustees accepted this unprecedented action by the NCAA without requiring a full due process hearing before the Committee on Infractions is an abdication of their responsibilities and a breach of their fiduciary duties to the University and the 500,000 alumni. Punishing past, present and future students of the University because of Sandusky's crimes does not serve justice. This is not a fair or thoughtful action; it is a panicked response to the public's understandable revulsion at what Sandusky did.

"The point of due process is to protect against this sort of reflexive action. Joe Paterno was never interviewed by the University or the Freeh Group. His counsel has not been able to interview key witnesses as they are represented by counsel related to ongoing litigation. We have had no access to the records reviewed by the Freeh group. The NCAA never contacted our family or our legal counsel. And the fact that several parties have pending trials that could produce evidence and testimony relevant to this matter has been totally discounted.

"Unfortunately all of these facts have been ignored by the NCAA, the Freeh Group and the University."

Same ol' set of Mad Libs -- distance their father from Sandusky, remind us what an amazing coach and person he was, whine about the lack of due process, place hands in both pockets and kick dirt. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Since it appears that the Paterno family is only capable of speaking in the age old language of Released Statement-ese, allow me to release my statement to them:

Shut the fuck up. Seriously, shut the fuck up.

Unless you have something of substance to add to the allegations against Jerry Sandusky or have a fat six figure check you wish to donate to a charity helping the victims of child sexual abuse heal, nobody gives a rat's ass what you think about the removal of your father's statue, the removal of scholarships from Penn State's program, or the removal of dog shit from your front yard.

Perhaps this is why the NCAA didn't seek any "input from [your] family" -- they didn't want it, they didn't need it. Seriously, what color is the sky in your world, Paterno family? I realize that you've gone through virtually your entire lives with the keys to State College in your back pocket, but in the real world, when one of us fucks up, they don't ask our loved ones their opinion on our punishment. There's no consensus building going on. Authority figures mete out punishment, and then you accept it like a man. I realize that you're just now learning what these strange beings called "authority figures" are, since your dad basically ran things in that navy blue cocoon you've all been living in, but to be clear, these authority figures -- THEY establish the rules, THEY enforce the rules. You follow them.

Your dad, Jerry Sandusky, Graham Spanier, Bill Curley, Gary Schultz. They broke the rules. Now, they pay. And they're bringing a whole lot of innocent people with them, too. And yet you're the ones who can't get to a keyboard fast enough to start banging out these ridiculous proclamations every time you feel wronged? Your arrogance is galling.

You lament that your father was never interviewed by the University or the Freeh Group, to which I say, be glad he wasn't. History tells us he would have just lied, more and more lies, and bathed himself in more perjury. It's what he did when he met with the grand jury in 2011. Why would this time have been any different?

I notice, by the way, that you call your dad a "great coach and educator" in this latest chapter of Paterno Family Statements. I seem to remember the wall behind the statue saying "COACH, EDUCATOR, HUMANITARIAN." Thank you for leaving "humanitarian" out of your latest statement. It was that statement's only redeeming quality.

Speaking of which, how about that statue, huh? Quite a scene watching that thing get carted off by those construction workers with a sheet over its head, almost like they were taking Statue JoePa to a secluded area to waterboard him and find out what he really knows about Sandusky. The realism was striking, right down to the statue maintaining its "number one finger" pose. I mean, say what you will about the authenticity of the statue's looks, but to me the statue's having self awareness identical to that of the real Joe Paterno is its defining trait.

I'm hoping they send the statue to jail, perhaps to share a cell with Sandusky. Or Sandusky's rectum.

By the way, how is your investigation into the documentation compiled by Louis Freeh coming along? Are you unearthing any new nuggets of information? Have you found the magic crystal that miraculously exonerates your dad from any culpability in this case? Or the mystical goblet that somehow reverses time back to 1998 (or whenever it was that the old man first learned that Jerry Sandusky took sadistic pleasure in raping young boys) and gives him the clarity to think that perhaps protecting his football program wasn't the end all and be all?

Me, I picture your "investigation" consisting of big, fat Scott Paterno sitting at his mom Sue's kitchen table thumbing through a huge pile of printed emails, getting winded after the first five or six, and then screaming at Sue to bring him some more double chocolate chip cookies and a towel to mop up his pit sweat. And then after like ten minutes, he says "Fuck it," plops down on the couch, and turns on one of the 50 episodes of Man vs Food he has saved on VHS tape.

Your investigation is for shit. Your family statements are for shit.

Oh, and one other thing. Stop calling your father by his first name. It sounds creepy when the sons are calling the dad "Joe" or "Coach" in interviews and social settings. That's fucked up. Stop doing it.

Also, I hope Nebraska kicks the shit out of you this year.

Go away, assholes. Now.

Love, Sean

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at

Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast