National Columnist

Paterno report will only make true Joe believers feel better


The Paterno report wasn't the joke I expected it to be.

It was worse.

We could go through this outrageous document line by line, but that would make you bored and me sick. So I'll focus instead on the most important part of the Paterno report and explain to you and everyone else, including Sue Paterno and her children, why the Paterno report cannot and will not be believed by anyone but family members and the most loyal fans of Joe Paterno -- who never needed convincing that he was blameless in the Jerry Sandusky reign of terror.

In other words, the Paterno report was 238 pages of failure. It offers something to rally around for those who decided Joe Paterno couldn't possibly bear any responsibility for pedophile Jerry Sandusky's last 10 evil years of freedom, but those people already had something to rally around. They had their memories of Saint Joe, and dammit they weren't going to let those memories go. The Freeh report was wrong because they love Joe Paterno. And they love Joe Paterno, so the Freeh report was wrong. It's circular and it's transparent, and it's pathetic. But have it, Kool-Aid drinkers. This round's on me.

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But the stain is on them. On Paterno, his defenders and the investigators who toiled on the Paterno report that was released Sunday and included a most absurdly ironic line, the only line I need -- though I read it all -- to know this thing was a joke. The line doesn't defend Joe Paterno, because there really is no defending Joe Paterno. The line attacks the Freeh report.

The Freeh report was based on 430 interviews and three million documents, by the way, and it concluded that Paterno knew what Jerry Sandusky was capable of, but partnered with his other self-serving cronies in the Penn State administration to keep this secret to themselves. Why? The Freeh report concluded that Paterno and his minions were trying to avoid bad publicity and protect Penn State football. That's a logical leap, and maybe it was incorrect. We don't know why Paterno and his cronies failed to go to child-protection authorities after being told that something disturbing -- something bad -- had happened with Jerry Sandusky and a little boy in the Penn State showers.

We just know they failed to go to those authorities.

We know they kept their story to themselves, allowing Jerry Sandusky to remain free another decade. We know more boys were hurt along the way.

We know Joe Paterno knew about Jerry Sandusky and that little boy in that shower in 2001 -- knew it was disturbing enough that the young assistant who witnessed it, Mike McQueary, called his dad to talk about it and then showed up at Joe's house to report it -- but that child-protection authorities weren't told about Sandusky in 2001. Or 2002. Or 2003. Or ...

Sickening, right?

So is this report. I still haven't gotten to the only line any of us need to dismiss this thing as a joke, but here it comes:

The Freeh investigators, concluded Paterno investigators, "produced a report that fit their expectations despite contrary evidence or a more reasonable interpretation."

It would be comical, if it weren't so sickening.

The Paterno report did the exact same thing it accuses the Freeh report of doing. You understand that, don't you? The Paterno report did. The. Exact. Same. Thing.

Hell, look at what we're calling it: the Paterno report. It was never, ever going to come up with any conclusion but one that would decide Joe Paterno -- according to the Paterno report -- was blameless as Jerry Sandusky enjoyed his final 10-year run of evil in Joe Paterno's small little town.

Don't be fooled by the high-level investigators who conducted the Paterno report. There is a former U.S attorney general, a former FBI profiler, an expert on sex disorders from Johns Hopkins University. Taken in a vacuum, that's an impressive conglomeration of talent. Could all those people, all those smart people, be wrong?

Well, sure. They were hired to be wrong. Check out any high-level criminal trial and watch both sides produce experts who come to opposite conclusions. How can that happen? Well, the defense team's experts were hired to conclude something for the defense. The prosecution's experts were hired to conclude something for the prosecutors. It's left to the jury to make sense of this.

The jury, today, is you. So understand how this Paterno report came to be. Understand what the high-level investigators -- the former U.S. attorney general, the former FBI profiler -- were told by Paterno's people: Come aboard, they were told, but only if you're already on board with the conclusion this report has been created to find.

That Joe Paterno was blameless.

Nonsense, and I'm positive that most of you get it. The only ones who don't are the ones who didn't need the Paterno report in the first place.

This was a waste of time, Sue Paterno. It won't fool anybody, Jay Paterno. It isn't going to change a single opinion, Scott Paterno. Understand that, OK? Your report is out, but you didn't win.

You lost, again, by bringing up a story that shouldn't fade -- and won't fade any time soon, thanks to you. Penn State took down the statue for a reason. The NCAA crushed Penn State for a reason. The world is appalled at Joe Paterno for a reason.

The Paterno report won't change any of that, Paterno family. All it's going to do is make most of us a little bit more upset with you.

And a little bit more disgusted with Joe Paterno. Because, as the Paterno report confirms, he really did receive a visit from a very troubled Mike McQueary on a Saturday morning in 2001. Paterno really did hear something disturbing had happened in a shower with Jerry Sandusky and a boy. Paterno really did send Mike McQueary home.

And Paterno really didn't do a damn thing to make sure whatever happened in that shower didn't happen again.

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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