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.
“I felt it was unfair, especially for a man of his class and quality. In two days, he went from being the epitome of what everyone should be like as a coach, and I still believe he belongs in that category.
Asked if he felt Paterno could have done more to stop the alleged abuse, he said no.
“I wouldn’t second guess him, because I felt if he knew it was more serious than it was, he would have reacted more seriously. I think he reacted according to what he knew, the way he felt he should. I would never second guess him.”
Vermeil, rightly or wrongly, is being generous with Paterno. It’s the cautious approach, and it’s one I took at first. As we learn more about the case, hopefully we will find out what role everyone had in stopping or ignoring the potential abuse.
Here’s a video of Vermeil’s interview: