Ex-Penn State Assistant: Joe Paterno Knows Everything; Jerry Sandusky Was Always Grabbing the Players

A former Penn State graduate assistant has made claims that question Joe Paterno’s role in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, and he says Sandusky’s behavior towards players was sketchy.

Matt Paknis was a graduate assistant on the Nittany Lions football staff in 1987 and 1988. He says Jerry Sandusky exhibited questionable behavior towards the players back then.

“He was always grabbing the players,” Paknis says. “He would get in their space, lean up right against them. I’d also been taught you don’t touch anyone unless you are teaching a technique. Boundaries were clearly an issue. It made me feel awkward, the way he would grab or pinch them.”

Paknis believes former head coach Joe Paterno knew of Sandusky’s behavior prior to the defensive coordinator’s retirement in 1999.

“Joe knows everything,” he says.

Paknis then appeared on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN on Tuesday, and reiterated more of the same points. The entire interview can be heard here and is worth listening to, but here is some of what Paknis told Francesa.

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Joe Paterno Turned Down the Steelers Head Coaching Job in 1969

When disaster strikes and a legend’s career goes up in flames, it’s only natural to wonder what could have been.  What if someone had stopped Jerry Sandusky as soon as they heard about what he was allegedly doing?  What if Joe Paterno reported Sandusky to the police instead of only informing those who he worked under?  What if Paterno retired years ago, like many expected he would?  Better yet, what if Paterno became the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers over 30 years ago and never became a Penn State icon?

On Thursday, Shutdown Corner passed along an interesting blurb from the book, “Pittsburgh Steelers: The Complete Illustrated History.”  According to page 71 of the publication, Paterno was offered the Steelers head coaching job in 1969 — three years after he became the coach at Penn State.  Despite being offered a $70,000 salary when he was only making $20,000 at Penn State, Paterno declined.

“It was an awful lot of money, a fantastic offer. I’d never dreamed of making that much money. Then I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I had put some things out of whack. I haven’t done the job I set out to do at Penn State.”

After Paterno turned them down, the Rooney family offered the job to one of Don Shula’s Baltimore assistants named Chuck Noll.  As you may know, Noll went on to win more than a couple games for Pittsburgh and define the Steelers franchise.  Ah, what could have been.

Ashton Kutcher Tweets He Can’t Believe Joe Paterno Was Fired, Then Deletes it

Everyone has an opinion on the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  In addition, everyone has an opinion of Joe Paterno as it relates to the scandal.  Paterno has been an icon at Penn State for more than 60 years, and people need more than one person to blame when something terrible happens.  It only makes sense that Paterno — who certainly should have done more to help stop Sandusky — has become one of the fall guys.

While clearly not a part of the majority, some people have defended Paterno.  When Penn State announced that Paterno had been fired on Wednesday night, one of those people was Ashton Kutcher.  However, he quickly changed his tune when he was bashed by many of his 8 million followers.

“How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste,” Kutcher initially tweeted.  It didn’t take him long to feel that an apology was necessary.

“Heard Joe was fired, fully recant previous tweet!” he wrote. “Didn’t have full story. #admitwhenYoumakemistakes.”

Unless Kutcher just returned to the U.S. from a third world country that has no TV, no computers, no radio, and does not allow cell phone use, he had to have known what was going on.  He then went on to write, “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case.”  It almost sounds as though Paterno is the alleged child molester and Kutcher had to do some damage control for defending him.

Kutcher then ended the evening by vowing to stop tweeting until he can “properly manage this feed.”  He also said he “feels awful about this error.”  Again, it sounds like Ashton defended Sandusky himself and is apologizing for it.  While it is not the most popular opinion, you could make an argument that Paterno is taking the fall for mistakes made by a number of people, which makes sense considering he’s the head football coach.  However, you have to wonder if Kutcher did know what was going on and had to rescind his opinion simply to conform with the majority.

Video: Penn State Board of Trustees Fires Joe Paterno

The Penn State Board of Trustees announced on Wednesday night that they were firing Joe Paterno as head coach of Penn State’s football team. Paterno had coached at the school since 1950 and was the program’s head coach since 1966. He won 409 games, two national championships, and a record 24 bowl games, but none of that mattered amidst the frenzy and pressure that mounted over Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse scandal. Paterno did not do enough to stop alleged sexual abuser Jerry Sandusky, his former defensive coordinator. Here is a video of the press conference held by the Penn State Board of Trustees Wednesday night:

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Joe Paterno Likely Did Not Know in 2002 What We Know About Jerry Sandusky Now

Now that more and more details about Jerry Sandusky’s sexually abusive past are being revealed, people are becoming more and more upset. They’re getting angry. They’re getting outraged. And their blind rage is causing them to become irrational. When people get as upset as they are now, they often look for scapegoats. Joe Paterno, because he is such a widely known and widely revered figure, has become that scapegoat. Most of it may be undeserved.

First off, one serious problem here is that many people have shifted the blame from Jerry Sandusky to Joe Paterno. It’s like people are forgetting who the real monster is. Jerry Sandusky is the person alleged to have sexually abused multiple young boys over a long period of time. If you want to be angry with someone, be angry with him.

He’s allegedly been abusing young boys for over 15 years. Is Joe Paterno the only one didn’t do enough here? The Penn State university police had an incident reported to them in 1998 and didn’t charge Sandusky. What about all the people at The Second Mile, Sandusky’s organization intended to help troubled young boys. Did they ever suspect any wrongdoing or do anything about it? What about all the parents who sent their children to be with him? Should they all be fired as parents for allowing their boys to sleep at Sandusky’s house? What about Sandusky’s wife, who allowed the abuse to take place in her home? Why didn’t she stop any of it?

One big reason is because plenty of people were fooled by Sandusky. Either that, or because they did not know. If they weren’t, this would have been stopped a long time ago. We showed you a video from 2007 where the public perception of Sandusky was that he was an excellent community man doing wonderful things for young kids. Given that was the perception of him, it’s no wonder everyone is shocked and stunned over what’s transpired. Additionally, most people don’t look at every person they come across as a child sex abuser. If you do, that’s an unfair judgment to make about someone. Even if you’ve heard something about someone, if you’ve known them to be a good person for 30 years, would you immediately believe it’s true? Maybe you’d have some doubts.

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Joe Paterno Issues Statement Announcing Retirement at End of Season

Call it being forced out or call it a choice. It’s tough to say whether or not Joe Paterno would have called it quits at the end of this season anyway, considering he is turning 85 in a month. Whether you feel the urge to blame some of what happened with the Jerry Sandusky scandal on JoePa or not, his legacy will forever be tarnished by it.  Had Paterno retired years ago when it made sense biologically, he could have avoided at least some of the scrutiny he has faced as a result of the disgusting alleged behavior of Sandusky.

On Wednesday, Paterno released a statement announcing his retirement.  Here is the release, courtesy of @MicheleSteele:

I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.

I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

That’s why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.

My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University.

We have said it before and we will say it again: The issue is one about doing the right thing as a society and policing one another.  The nature of such a disgusting act leaves the general public wanting several people to blame — not just Sandusky.  Paterno has a responsibility to report such activity as the coach of the football program, but he has no more a responsibility than anyone else as an American citizen to report the incident to the proper authorities.  The lynch-mob mentality, which has been brought about by the release of information that Paterno and company likely were not aware of in 2002, has made it hard for many to come to rational conclusions.

Video: Joe Paterno Speaks with Adoring Fans at His House

Lest ye figured the old fans of Penn State University would leave Joe Paterno for the lions, we have video proving otherwise. The legendary coach addressed the legions of fans who were outside his home Tuesday to support him. Ben Jones reports he said “No matter what happens to some people I’m proud of you.” Here’s a video of the scene from JoePa’s house, along with an up-close video where you can hear Paterno’s message to his fans:

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