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Commenter Attacks My January 22, 2012 Post Calling For Apology to Paterno.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | July 12, 2012

No. 881

On January 22, 2012, I published the following post, No. 791. At the time I wrote it, Joe Paterno had already died, but that fact was not publicly announced.  I received a comment today that stated that I should probably withdraw my post.  Well,  I won’t.

Paterno may have been powerful and influential, but he was not the decision maker.  If others made wrong decisions based upon his power and influence, the legal responsibility for those decisions still rests with the decision makers.

Louis Freeh conducted an internal investigation at the request of the Penn State Board.  I haven’t read it, but have no doubt that it was carefully prepared and sought to focus on evidence. I understand that it contains evidence that Mr. Paterno participated in at least one meeting that lead to the cover up and that the allegations of other witnesses are at variance with the grand jury testimony of Mr. Paterno and others. This information is disturbing and could well lead to the convictions of members of the Penn State hierarchy. But the report is still only an accusation, not a verdict of a court.  There will be trials and liability will be determined based upon the weight of the evidence.  Until that day, you and I can speculate but we do not know.

The comment I received this evening is reproduced following this post.




The way the Penn State Board fired Joe Paterno was cowardly and wrong.  They bowed to overwhelming pressure of a media-driven lynch mob.  Ultimately, in cooler times, Mr. Paterno will be vindicated before the law and in the court of public opinion. He did what every subordinate in an organization should do, he reported the information to the highest authorities in the University hierarchy, the ones who had the responsibility to make those decisions.  That group included the supervisor of  the University’s private police force.  In time, when the hysteria has dispersed, that truth will be generally recognized. But it appears that JoPa won’t be around to see that day, so it is imperative that Penn State apologize in person and in public now.  But if the craven leadership won’t do it, and they probably won’t, then the rest of us should.

I’m not a Penn Stater, but I once attended an alumni function where I learned something very important.  In response to one of the speakers the gathered alumni repeated a football cheer, but in a somewhat hushed and even reverential mode.  “We are,”  said the speaker, “Penn State,” responded the crowd.  After several repetitions, the room was silent while the meaning of those words sunk in.

We Pennsylvanians are all Penn Staters, whether we attended class there or not.  It is one of our state’s premier universities.  And Joe Paterno did as much as any one person could to make it a great institution of higher education.  If the school’s administration won’t do it, we must.  After all, we are Penn State.



Tom Robertson
July 12th, 2012 @ 10:20 pm edit

So, it has now (July 12, 2012) been discovered that Penn State AND Paterno knew about Sandusky’s sexual preferences since AT LEAST 1997. You should probably remove your pathetic post at this point. These people stood around and did NOTHING to protect those poor kids. Penn State is the most disgusting educational institution on earth.


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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