Following the Freeh report, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post released the following statement regarding Joe Paterno. You may recall that Sally Jenkins was the last person to interview Paterno before he succumbed to lung cancer in January. She was hand-selected by the Paterno family and interviewed him over several days, interrupted by trips to the hospital.
Follow me below the jump for her full statement
Joe Paterno was a liar, there’s no doubt about that now. He was also a cover-up artist. If the Freeh Report is correct in its summary of the Penn State child molestation scandal, the public Paterno of the last few years was a work of fiction. In his place is a hubristic, indictable hypocrite.Ms. Jenkins said that she pressed Joe Paterno on that important date - the 1998 incident
In the last interview before his death, Paterno insisted as strenuously as a dying man could that he had absolutely no knowledge of a 1998 police inquiry into child molestation accusations against his assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. This has always been the critical point in assessing whether Paterno and other Penn State leaders enabled Sandusky’s crimes.
If Paterno knew about ’98, then he wasn’t some aging granddad who was deceived, but a canny and unfeeling power broker who put protecting his reputation ahead of protecting children.
If he knew about ’98, then he understood the import of graduate assistant Mike McQueary’s distraught account in 2001 that he witnessed Sandusky assaulting a boy in the Penn State showers.
If he knew about ’98, then he also perjured himself before a grand jury.
Paterno didn’t always give lucid answers in his final interview conducted with The Washington Post three days before his death, but on this point he was categorical and clear as a bell. He pled total, lying ignorance of the ’98 investigation into a local mother’s claim Sandusky had groped her son in the shower at the football building. How could Paterno have no knowledge of this, I asked him?The infamous never heard of rape and a man statement:
“Nobody knew,” he said.
Never heard a rumor?
“I never heard a thing,” he said.
He heard everything.
Not a whisper? How is that possible?
“If Jerry’s guilty, nobody found out til after several incidents.”
In his final interview, he played the faux-naif who insisted he had “never heard of rape and a man.” Who hadn’t followed up on McQueary’s report out of squeamishness. Who was wary of interfering in university “procedure.” Who insisted it was unfair to put Penn State on trial along with a pedophile, and that this was not “a football scandal.”
In fact, in 2001 Paterno had every reason to suspect Sandusky was a serial defiler of children. In fact, Paterno was not reluctant to interfere in university procedure; he helped dictate it. In fact, this was a football scandal. The crimes were committed by a former assistant football coach in the football building. Ten boys, and 45 criminal counts, at least five of them molested on the Penn State campus after 1998 when Paterno committed the awful misjudgment of continuing to allow Sandusky to bring boys to his locker room, so sure was he that Sandusky was “a good guy.”
She closes with this statement - the question everyone is asking:
In asking how a paragon of virtue could have behaved like such a thoroughly bad guy, the only available answer is that Paterno fell prey to the single most corrosive sin in sports: the belief that winning on the field makes you better and more important than other people.You can view her entire story here Joe Paterno, at the end, showed more interest in his legacy than Sandusky's victims