An Open Letter to those Opposed to Penn State Honoring the Late Joe Paterno

An Open Letter to those Opposed to Penn State Honoring the Late Joe Paterno

For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2016

STATE COLLEGE, PA – This Saturday, September 17th, the late Joe Paterno will be celebrated in recognition of the 50th anniversary of his first game as head coach to our university.  Paterno spent sixty-one years of his life with Penn State football, and under his direction, he gave the university 409 wins, twenty-four bowl victories, and five undefeated seasons.  His unwavering dedication to the Nittany Lions never faulted, even as he was offered several times to coach in the National Football League.

In the wake of the negative press coverage following the decision to honor Joe Paterno, we felt it necessary to explain why honoring a football legend like Joe Paterno is not only warranted, but well deserved.

One word: Loyalty.

One of the toughest lesson to pass on to our youth is the importance of loyalty. Not only was Joe Paterno an effective and loyal leader on the field, he was one off the field and created an example that we as a school want to set for our students.

For those asking, “Why is Penn State honoring a man who purposely covered up a child sexual abuse scandal?” We ask, “Why isn’t everyone?”.

Imagine how difficult it was for Joe Paterno to be told that Jerry Sandusky was seen raping a child in Penn State football showers. What about how trying it was for Paterno to tell his then superior, Tim Curley? And how awful it was for Curley to then tell his superior, Gary Schultz? The turmoil those three men faced and the antagonizing decision to never tell the authorities or speak of it ever again is empowering. That kind of traumatic event stays with you.

We honor that sacrifice.

Has anyone taken the time to consider how strenuous it would be to cover up a sexual abuse scandal with a minor, one with an eye witness, while knowing Sandusky was already being investigated by the state in another case of sexual assault on a child?

They did that for the Nittany Lions – they did that for us.

With unwavering loyalty, Paterno saw the future through those coke bottle glasses and knew it would be grim if all of Sandusky’s sexual assaults came to light.  Penn State would be the real victim. The fans, the staff, the alumni and most of all, the donors, would not have what they looked forward to every fall – another winning season under Joe Paterno. He couldn’t take that away from us, we deserved that right.

To everyone looking at Penn State as the enemy for valuing a coach over the children who were sexually abused, we say look within yourself. Ask yourself if you have that kind of loyalty and commitment to anyone or anything, that you could do what Joe did for us.

And that is why Saturday game is dedicated to the late Joe Paterno.

We stand with Joe, because Joe stood for us.


Pennsylvania State University’s Athletic Department


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