Penn State Scandal: Joe Paterno Family Slams Allegations In New Book

   on April 20 2012 1:48 PM
Joe Paterno
The family of the late Joe Paterno has slammed a newly-released book on the Penn State scandal. Reuters

The family of the late Joe Paterno, the famed head football coach of Penn State University, has slammed a recent book about the scandal that rocked college sports.

Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and the Culture of Silence by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporters Bill Moushey and Robert Dvorchak, and published by HarperCollins imprint William Morrow, has hit book stores, and is being slammed by the Paterno family for inaccuracies. Paterno was fired from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, for his failure to report Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of minors to police, and later died of complications from lung cancer on Jan. 22 at age 85.

Sandusky served as an assistant coach under Paterno for roughly 30 years before retiring in June 1999. On Nov. 4, Sandusky was arrested and charged with more than 40 counts of sexual abuse over a 15-year span.

In a recent statement, the Paterno family claimed that the book contains false and slanderous statements about the late football coach, who was affectionately known as JoePa.

This unprofessional and irresponsible rehash from clip files and anonymous interviews was slapped together in a matter of weeks and rushed to market, as the authors have acknowledged, the statement read. The authors also admit that most people they contacted did not want to talk with them, and many of the ones who did talk insisted on not being identified.

The family's biggest gripe about the book is the authors' claim that Paterno knew about a previous investigation against Sandusky that occurred in the late 90s.

To fully correct these errors and outright lies would take far more words than this slanderous account is worth, the statement read. However, one outrageous and baseless claim that cannot go unchallenged is that Coach Paterno knew about a 1998 incident involving Jerry Sandusky that was investigated by local law enforcement. There is indisputable evidence showing that Coach Paterno was not informed about that investigation, as well as the Coach's own sworn testimony to that effect. Further, their claim that knowledge of Sandusky's alleged conduct led Coach Paterno to push for Sandusky's retirement in 1999 also is baseless and unsupported by any evidence.

The Sandusky scandal set off a series of reports and events that tarnished the reputation of the one of the most respected coaching figures in American sports. Paterno, who had been with the university since 1950, had announced his decision to retire from coaching at the end of the football season in the midst of the scandal, but school officials fired him before the season was over. 

While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police, Penn State trustees said in a statement. We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno.

Moushey and Dvorchak recently spoke about their book with CBS This Morning. They described Paterno, who coached Penn State football for more than 40 years, as a man who knew everything that went on at the university.

He helped them develop the entire program and he basically ran the institution and had pretty much say over everything, including when he decided he might want to leave and who was going to be hired after him, Moushey told CBS.

According to Taryn Luna of the Pittzburgh Post Gazette, Game Over was written over the course of 10 weeks and was described as the most demanding writing assignment we've ever tackled by Moushey and Dvorchak.

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