According to an editorial written late last year by Joe Paterno -- published online only today -- the former Penn State University head football coach did not want to see the Jerry Sandusky scandal tarnish the reputation of the school's football program or the generations of players who were part of it under his leadership.
"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," Paterno wrote in the column, published on the Fight On State website, which covers Penn State athletics.
Mara Vandlik, of the firm McGinn and Company which released a statement on the Paterno family's behalf Tuesday, confirmed that the column was written by Paterno late last year.
"It was his intent to have it published as a guest editorial," she said in a written statement. "With the rush of events that never happened. Over the last few months it has been shared with a number of former players. We are assuming one of them released it."
The website said the Paterno column was forwarded to Nittany Lions players this morning.
The release comes a day before an investigative report on the Sandusky scandal and how it was handled by university administrators is released by Louis Freeh, a former FBI director and federal judge, whose firm was hired by a Penn State special investigation committee in November.
A retired assistant Penn State football coach, Sandusky was convicted last month on 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. The scandal led the firing of Paterno and the ouster of former Penn State President Graham Spanier.
In his editorial, Paterno said he had not discussed the specifics of his grand jury testimony at the request of the state attorney general's office but that he felt compelled to respond to negative comments he heard people making about the Penn State football program.
"For over 40 years young men have come to Penn State with the idea that they were going to do something different -- they were coming to a place where they would be expected to compete at the highest levels of college football and challenged to get a degree," Paterno wrote. "And they succeeded -- during the last 45 years no one has won more games while graduating more players" -- something he referred to as his "Grand Experiment."
Those players, Paterno wrote, should not be "dismissed as part of a 'football factory.'"
And he wrote that he did not believe that university officials should be making comments that tarnished the reputation of Penn State's football or academic programs.
"Whatever failings that may have happened at Penn State, whatever conclusions about my or others' conduct you may wish to draw from a fair view of the allegations, it is inarguable that these actions had nothing to do with this last team or any of the hundreds of prior graduates of the 'Grand Experiment,'" Paterno wrote.
Mary Niederberger: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1590. First Published July 11, 2012 7:15 PM