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Joe Paterno Was Never Fired by Penn State, Still Getting Paid

So that whole thing about Joe Paterno getting fired as head coach of Penn State’s football team? That was a matter of semantics. Though he’s no longer coaching the team, Paterno was never fired. In fact, he’s still getting paid by the school.

“Coach Paterno remains employed by the University as a tenured faculty member,” the Penn State Board of Trustees said in a statement released Thursday. “The details of his retirement are being worked out and will be made public when they are finalized. Generally speaking, the University intends to honor the terms of his employment contract and is treating him financially as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season.”

As Adam Hoge of CBS Chicago writes, Paterno was suspended without pay, and now that the season is over, he can retire. Unsurprisingly, the Board of Trustees responded to complaints from alumni who wonder why he was fired. This should come as no shock; Penn State created a culture where football was valued over everything, including protecting sexually abused children.

Joe Paterno Checked Up on Mike McQueary Months Later, But Didn’t Bother Following Up on Jerry Sandusky

How innocent is Joe Paterno concerning the Jerry Sandusky investigation? His list of possible excuses is thinning, and he’s looking much worse now than before.

Mike McQueary testified Friday that he told Joe Paterno what he saw in the shower, and it was apparently so bad JoePa apologized. Paterno also felt so badly he later followed up with McQueary.

“I went to his house and sat at his kitchen table and told him I saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower. That it was way over the lines and extremely sexual in nature,” McQueary testified. “The rough positioning I described but not in much detail.

“(Paterno) was slumped back in his chair, he said well I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s terrible. I need to think and tell some people about what you saw and I’ll let you know what we’ll do next.”

Yes, what McQueary told Paterno was so bad, the coach apologized to his assistant. But here is what really shows Paterno’s complete irresponsibility.

“Coach Paterno did ask me … two or three months after that… if I was OK in relation to what I saw and if I was handling it OK,” McQueary said.

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Dick Vermeil Still Believes Joe Paterno Is a Man of Class and Quality Who Was Treated Unfairly

Former Super Bowl winning coach Dick Vermeil was stunned by the allegations against Jerry Sandusky, and he feels the treatment of Joe Paterno was unfair. Vermeil was involved with The Second Mile charity for over 30 years. He even wrote the forward to Jerry Sandusky’s book.

In an interview with ESPN 760 Wednesday, Vermeil expressed shock and disappointment regarding the allegations.

“I still don’t really want to believe it to be true,” Vermeil said of the Sandusky allegations. “It’s a real downer for me. It’s disappointing as heck. I still hold hope that it’s not all true.”

Vermeil likely is hoping it’s not all true for two reasons. First, one would hope he wouldn’t want bad things to happen to the children. Two, it’s clear he felt Sandusky did a lot of good.

“I know for a fact [The Second Mile] helped a ton of kids. A lot of kids. And I know that Jerry really cared about them, in a different way than is being portrayed right now,” said Vermeil.

He also feels like Joe Paterno, who was fired as head coach of the football team a few days after the Grand Jury presentment was released, was treated unfairly.

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Joe Paterno a Racist? Wasn’t Ready to Play Black Quarterback in Late ’80s

While Andre Ware was winning a Heisman for Houston, and Randall Cunningham was putting up sick stats for the Eagles, Joe Paterno reportedly refused to play a black quarterback for Penn State.

Matt Paknis is a former graduate assistant who was part of the Penn State football program in 1987 and 1988. A few days ago, we passed along a report where Paknis says Joe Paterno knew everything about the Penn State program. Paknis also recognized in the late ’80s that Jerry Sandusky was always grabbing the players and had boundary issues. Well Paknis also says Joe Paterno wasn’t ready to play a black quarterback in the late ’80s.

“I was in a staff meeting one time and we were having some problems at quarterback with [Matt] Knizner, and someone recommended ‘what about Darren Roberts?'” Paknis recalled during an appearance on WFAN. “[Roberts] was an All-State quarterback from New Jersey. And Coach [Paterno] just said we’re not ready for a black quarterback.

“And we had Ron Dickerson in the room who was an assistant, and he just went ballistic. And I always thought was pretty cool that he stood up to Joe. But Randall Cunningham was the starting quarterback at the time for the Eagles. But Darren never got a chance for us — I don’t know why — but that was stated in the room.”

On his personal blog, Paknis said of Paterno “He was the consummate bully and control freak who banished players and their potential careers when they did not buy into Joe’s persona.”

Not buying into the Penn State way is a big part of the reason why Paknis left the program. Paterno eventually had black quarterbacks later in his career. Wally Richardson played quarterback in 1995, and Rashard Casey, Michael Robinson and Darryl Clark came later. But if Joe Paterno wasn’t willing to do the right thing back then — play a quarterback regardless of their race — what makes you think he’d be doing the right thing now?

UPDATE: As someone points out in the comments, Penn State briefly had a black quarterback in 1970. His name was Mike Cooper. It doesn’t mean what Paknis says is false, but it shows they did have a black quarterback in 1970. Perhaps Paterno felt the community was not ready for a black quarterback in 1987 or 1988.

H/T Deadspin, Sports Radio Interviews

More on the Penn State Scandal:
Joe Paterno Turned Down the Steelers Head Coaching Job in 1969
Joe Paterno sold house to wife for $1 to protect his assets?

Did Joe Paterno Sell His House to His Wife for $1 to Avoid Civil Lawsuits?

As more information from the Penn State scandal leaks out, I’m sure we will be uncovering plenty more pieces of shady information like this one. Joe Paterno and his wife bought a home near the Penn State campus for $58,000 in 1969. According to court documents filed in Centre County, Penn. that were uncovered by the New York Times, the house is now valued at $594,484.40. Paterno and his wife, Suzanne, had joint ownership of the home until recently.  Now that’s what I call a solid investment.

For whatever reason, Paterno decided to sell the house to his wife for $1 four months ago, placing ownership of the property solely in her name.  Actually, he sold it to her for $1 plus “love and affection.”  What would inspire Paterno and his wife to complete such an odd transaction?

According to one of JoePa’s lawyers, Wick Sollers, the transaction was simply part of a “multiyear estate planning program” and the transfer was just an element of that plan.  Naturally, they insist Paterno selling his own home to his wife has nothing to do with the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

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Franco Harris Fired as Casino Spokesman for Supporting Joe Paterno

Slowly but surely, people will begin to get the hint. Defending someone at Penn State or anyone with a connection to the Penn State scandal is not going to get you anywhere.  In fact, you could lose your job over it.  Just ask former Penn State linebacker Franco Harris, who was fired from his job as spokesman for The Meadows Race Track and Casino in Pennsylvania after he went to bat for Joe Paterno.

“I feel that the board made a bad decision in letting Joe Paterno go,” the Hall of Famer said last week according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m very disappointed in their decision. I thought they showed no courage, not to back someone who really needed it at the time. They were saying the football program under Joe was at fault.

“They really wouldn’t give a reason. They’re linking the football program to the scandal and, possibly, the cover up. That’s very disturbing to me. … I think there should be no connection to the football program, only in the case that it happened at the football building with an ex-coach. I’m still trying to find out who gave him access to the building, who signed that contract.”

On Tuesday, Harris was dismissed with the following explanation from the Meadows:

“In light of the recent developments with Franco Harris regarding Joe Paterno’s dismissal, Franco and The Meadows have mutually decided to put their business relationship on hold at this time, while these matters are looked into further.”

The moral of the story is we are dealing with an issue of child molestation here.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a fun-loving celebrity or a widely-respected coach, you had better think long and hard before defending Paterno or anyone within the Penn State program.  As Harris’ individual case has shown us, speaking out about such a sensitive issue can cost you more than just a reputation.

H/T to Off the Bench for sharing the story with us.

Mike Krzyzewski Defends Joe Paterno, Implies Age is a Factor

With all that has gone on regarding the Penn State scandal, I must admit I’m a little surprised that more people haven’t pulled out the “poor old man” card for Joe Paterno.  The American public has a tendency to view senior citizens as children at times.  Despite the fact that the Jerry Sandusky scandal has allegedly been ongoing for years, it came to light at a time when Paterno is an 84-year-old man.  Paterno’s age is undoubtedly a factor in earning him sympathy from certain people, and with the way Mike Krzyzewski spoke about the situation you might think he is one of them.

“Well, I think, unless you’re there, it’s tough to comment about everything,’’ Krzyzewski said according to the New York Times. “I just feel badly for him and whatever he is responsible for, it’ll come out and hopefully it’ll come out from him.

“I think one thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno’s 84 years old. I’m not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he’s been involved in both football-wise and socially, have been immense changes and how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different.

“But as we judge, remember that there’s just a lot there. There’s a lot, lot there. I think he’s a great man and it’s a horrific situation.”

Coach K may insist he’s not using Paterno’s age as an excuse, but he brought it up for a reason. We aren’t talking about smoking cigarettes. This is child molestation. How has culture changed in the last 30 years regarding how issues of child molestation are handled?  If at any point age limited Paterno from doing his job properly — not just coaching football — then it was his responsibility to retire.  The fact that he is 84 is completely irrelevant.  At this point it’s tough to see JoePa as a “great man” considering he allowed a “horrific situation” to develop under his watch.

H/T to Deadspin for passing the story along.