Brown Football Great Can’t Defend Paterno

Friday, July 13, 2012


An independent probe into the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal by former FBI director Louis Freeh found "total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State." The report specifically criticizes Brown alum and late head football coach Joe Paterno for not taking action when informed of allegations of misconduct by Sandusky.

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Brown University has an award named in Paterno's honor for the first-year Varsity Male Athlete of the Year. The university released a statement in November saying they were "reviewing the matter to consider how best to address it." At the time, Paterno's knowledge of and role in the sexual abuse crimes of assistant Jerry Sandusky were still unclear.

"The whole story is atrocious. It really blew the whistle on everything. I could not stand up for Joe Paterno in this situation at all. There's no excuse in any situation where children are being abused," said Brown Football alum ('99) and Board Member of the Brown Hall of Fame Mike Wall.

According to the report, "critical written correspondence" uncovered earlier this year contained evidence of a proposed plan to report to law enforcement authorities a 2001 incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in a university shower room that was witnessed by fellow assistant Michael McQueary. "After Mr. Curley constuled with Mr. Paterno, however, they changed the plan and decided not to make a report to the Authorities," the report said.

The report goes on to document a 1998 incident as well. "The evidence shows that Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed it closely, but failed to take any action, even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years."

Brown University spokespeople could not be reached for comment over a number of days. The Brown Athletics website lists describes the award, which was once named for Paterno as the "First-Year Male Athlete of the Year Award". "From 1991 to 2011 the award was called the Joseph V. Paterno ’50 Award, in honor of Joe Paterno, the former head football coach at Penn State University." Paterno was also inducted to the Brown Hall of Fame in 1977.

"I really think everything's on the table now in term's of his legacy at Brown," Wall said in regards to renaming Paterno's award and his induction in the Hall of Fame.

This story was updated on July 13, 2012.


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