Document Reveals What Joe Paterno Would Have Said About Jerry Sandusky If Given The Chance

Don Van Natta Jr.'s lengthy account of the Penn State scandal for an upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine does not contain a whole lot of new information for anyone who's been following the story closely. It is, however, an excellent overall summary of the case—particularly Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett's role. Corbett's investigation of Jerry Sandusky during Corbett's time as state attorney general—which coincided with Corbett's campaign for governor in 2010—has led to serious questions about the slow pace of the inquiry in its earliest stages.

One noteworthy new nugget of information is a copy of the statement Joe Paterno was prepared to read at his usual Tuesday press conference in the days after the Nov. 5 release of the grand jury presentment. That press conference was eventually cancelled just before it was going to begin. The next day, just hours after Paterno issued a different statement announcing his intention to retire at the end of the 2011 season—along with a declaration that "the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status"—the board voted unanimously to fire him.

The statement Paterno never got to give is below. In it, Paterno says Mike McQueary, whom he does not identify by name, "made no specific allegations of any identifiable sexual act" when he came to Paterno's home in March 2002 to tell him he had seen "something inappropriate" involving Sandusky and a boy in a Penn State football building shower the night before. For that reason, and because Sandusky was by then retired, Paterno says he took "the appropriate next step" of informing "the head of my department," whom we now know to be athletic director Tim Curley (as opposed to the police). It's worth adding that Paterno had also testified under oath that McQueary told him he had witnessed something of "a sexual nature"—a phrase Paterno specifically avoids using in this statement. Paterno's supporters have used this sort of lawyerly distinction to justify his inaction ever since.

Fight on State [ESPN]