Lifestyle & Belief

Joe Paterno letter: A response to Freeh report? (VIDEO)


Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno watches his team during practice on November 9, 2011 in State College, Pennsylvania.


Rob Carr

Joe Paterno penned what was meant to be an opinion letter regarding Jerry Sandusky, the scandal, and the Penn State football program, just one month before his death. In the letter made public Wednesday Paterno is focused on one thing: football. 

Penn State has been entrenched in controversy since November 2011 when it was revealed that Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State Football assistant coach,  sexually abused children he met through his charity. Sandusky also abused some children in the Penn State locker room. 

"I do feel compelled to address comments made subsequent to November 9; specifically, I feel compelled to say, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a football scandal," Paterno wrote in the letter. 

Paterno goes on to say that this scandal should focus on the facts, rather than on the hundreds of athletes who have come and gone from the Penn State football program. 

"Penn State is not a football factory and it is ALREADY a great University. We have world-class researchers, degree programs, and students in every discipline. Penn Staters have been pioneers in medical advancements, engineering, and in the humanities. Our graduates have gone on to change the world — even graduates with football lettermen sweaters."

The Paterno family denies releasing the letter themselves. According to the Huffington Post, the letter was made public Wednesday after being posted on, a website dedicated to covering Penn State athletics. The letter was emailed to the website by an unknown ex-player.

The letter was also released just one day prior to the release of the Freeh group report, an independent investigation paid for by The Penn State Board of Trustees to find out who knew what regarding Sandusky. 

According to the Associated Press, the Freeh group found that president Graham Spanier, football coach Joe Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz "repeatedly concealed critical facts" in order to avoid bad publicity.  

Both Spanier and Curley were charged with not reporting an alleged incident of abuse in 2001 to the police. They are charged with lying about their knowledge to the Pennsylvania grand jury, ABC News reported. They both maintain their innocence. 

More from GlobalPost: Penn State report: Joe Paterno and others "repeatedly concealed critical facts"

Paterno finished the letter by asking the reader to look at the accomplishments of the Penn State players and see that the actions of those in charge should not be a reflection on the athletes. 

"Penn Staters across the globe should feel no shame in saying 'We are . Penn State.' This is a great university with one of the best academic performing football programs in major college athletics. Those are facts — and nothing that has been alleged changes them."

Dan McGinn, the Paterno family spokesman, spoke to ESPN: