Skip to comments.Bob Costas Talks Freeh Report, NCAA, and Paterno
Posted on 03/12/2013 10:04:39 PM PDT by FlJoePa
Do you see the Freeh report differently now than you did at the time?
Oh yes, very much so.
Those words came from Emmy-winning journalist Bob Costas last week in a radio interview with Kevin Slaten of KQQZ in St. Louis. Costas spoke at length to Slaten about his evolving opinion of the Freeh report, Joe Paternos legacy, and the Penn State situation as a whole in what is some of the most balanced rhetoric Ive heard from a national media source about the Sandusky scandal.
Costas has been on top of this story from the start, most notably in his infamous interview with Sandusky after he was arrested in November. When the Freeh report was released this June, Costas said publicly that Penn State should shut down the football program for a year and claimed that Joe Paterno was complicit in a coverup.
With the benefit of time, Costas is rethinking his opinion on the entire matter. You can listen to the entire clip here but below are some of the key excerpts from the interview.
The Freeh report came out literally as I landed in London a couple of weeks before the Olympic games and a producer from the Today Show briefed me on the phone about the essence of the report. The idea was that this was credible and based off that I said the next day on NBC, this looks very very bad for Joe Paternos reputation because now it doesnt just look like it was negligence but Freeh has concluded that he was complacent I have to give you (Slaten) a lot of credit. As someone with a legal background, you read the Freeh report before I was able to because I was in London.
The NCAA using that as its pretext comes down very very hard on Penn State. I thought that Penn State mightve decided, at that point of its own volition, to suspend its program for a year to get its house in order, but the NCAA came crashing down on them and the Freeh report was really their justification.
I have gone over [the Freeh report] several times and subsequently read Dick Thornbughs report and the other information which those representing the Paterno family to refute it. And now Im much more familiar with all the whys and wherefores and I think many of the questions that you (Slaten) raised at that time are legitimate.
Im not proclaiming a conclusion, but lets understand what the Freeh report really amounts to. The Freeh report amounts to an indictment. Well anyone who is indicted, including someone who is as loathsome as Jerry Sandusky, is entitled to a defense and entitled to their day in court. Sanduskys day in court ended up as it should have. Well, Paterno will never have that day in court. Not only was Paterno never interviewed, but the other principal figures were never interviewed except for Spanier briefly the day before the Freeh report came out.
Although the Freeh report talks about the hundreds of people they spoke with, most of those people were quite peripheral to the case. Its like saying were going to do a full report about the New England Patriots and were not talking to Belichick, were not talking to any of the players, were not talking to Robert Kraft, but we did talk to the guy who runs the elevator at the stadium, and we talked to the groundskeeper, and we talked to the guy who drives the team bus. I mean, a lot of it is almost entirely in that category.
What Freeh did, it seems to me, was not only gather facts but he reached a conclusion which is at least debatable from those facts and than he assigned a motivation, not only to Curley and Schultz and Spanier, but he specifically assigned a very dark motivation to Joe Paterno, which seems like it might be quite a leap.
If people are able to go over the response that the Paterno family has marshaled including with Dick Thornburgh, a person with at least the credentials of Louis Freeh, a reasonable person will at least conclude that there is some doubt here and that the other side of the story deserves to be heard.
At minimum, Paterno failed to see what a person as sharp as he and a person who had lived, by all accounts, a life of principle, should have perceived. He should have seen that there was something here, because he at least saw the tip of the iceberg. There are different versions of how direct McQueary was with Paterno, but he reported that something happened in the showers with Sandusky and a young boy. If Joe was really sharp and really on it, he would have done more than what was required, which is that he reported it to the athletic director, he would have had more of an active curiosity. I realize legally there are some constraints as to how much he could have been involved, but he is Joe Paterno in State College, and he could have had a more active curiosity. And so I think that he fell short that he fell short of his own standards of conduct.
On the other hand, its a far cry from saying that and what Freeh concluded which was that Joe Paterno had basic knowledge of, if not every single thing Jerry Sandusky had ever done, he had a general outline of Sanduskys ongoing behavior. So on an ongoing basis, he knew that kids were being abused, and not only did he do nothing about it, but knowingly and actively was part of a coverup whose motivation it was to place the image of Joe Paterno and Penn State football above the welfare of these harmless kids. That is a charge, which if true, is beyond horrific. And I believe there is insufficient evidence to put that charge on Joe Paterno.
There were some things that raise an eyebrow. But theres a difference between raising an eyebrow and levying such a serious charge. Ive often wondered why Paterno, who reportedly didnt like Sandusky, once he had heard about 98 and once he heard about what McQueary observed, why would he even be in the same place as Sandusky?
I think a lot of this, and how people responded to it, could be summed up in an exchange I had with Joe Posnanski In many corners, Joe was pilloried for going too soft on Paterno in the book because his conclusion was that Paterno had come up short but had not been guilty of anything like Freeh alleged. You know what I think some of this comes down to? At least now, people are so repulsed by what Sandusky did and so startled that somebody, somehow, didnt observe it, figure it out, and stop him, that they think that anything short of a blanket condemnation of everybody there somehow translated into you being insufficiently concerned about the victims, and insufficiently outraged by Sanduskys behavior. So no shades of grey in degrees of culpability are permitted the only way that you can spread your righteous indignation is to say damn them all. And that may be understandable, but it may not be fair.
Joe Paterno had a long standing reputation, not only for melding academics and athletics as well as you possibly can, but a long standing reputation for active concern for young people, for following up, for walking the walk, for long after the player had been gone by following their career and walking with them and guiding them in some way, of demanding high standards. But its pretty hard to believe that a man of Joe Paternos background and character with that kind of track record that if he were really confronted with the basic facts of how horrific of what Jerry Sandusky was doing and continued to do was, I just find it very hard to believe that Joe Paterno would have said, yeah, well, the first thing we need to do is cover this up. His life defies that. Plus, as you know, if there was a coverup it was a pretty lousy coverup, because at least 14 people knew of what McQueary told Paterno. And theres no evidence that Paterno ever went to any of them and said, Okay lets make sure we have our story straight. No evidence at all.
The cops didnt see it, people in child welfare and child services didnt see it, people at the Second Mile didnt see it .We hope that we are more aware we hope that there are greater safeguards in place and at least something good came of this.
In fairness, a lot of people didnt see it. And what we learn from people that specialize in this field that a lot of these guys are master deceivers. Theyre clever, they groom their victims
they cultivate a different sort of image and a lot of people are taken in by that.
Quite possibly one of the creepiest things I've ever heard on the radio. I knew then Sandusky was as guilty as can be.
Everybody loves a good lynching while the fires are burning, but the next morning when the fires cool, some people regret the murderous acts of the previous night.
Costas is too tedious to watch or listen to. His love for himself is unequaled.
And scapegoated. Once he was sufficiently condemned and destroyed in the court of public opinion the anger went away.
The university’s administration that enabled this far more than Paterno got off pretty easy. But the press focused on the vacated wins and called it quits.
Well Bob Costas is a joke so his opinion is not worth.
More pedophile apologetics.
Bullcrap. Sandusky was his right-hand man, and Paterno repeatedly looked the other way in order to protect his precious football program. His own grand jury testimony damns him.
Bob Costas is no better than any liberal on Earth. That means he is a worthless piece of crap.
It’s all part of a concerted effort to to rehab the image.
While it’s tragic and sad, many people in State College had questions about Sandusky...and did nothing!
Many people knew and did nothing. The jokes were across the town. People were laughing at what was not funny.
I've never quite figured it out. (I always thought it was just me.)
I think you just nailed it.
Paterno notified his boss, the athletic director, the president's office, and the chief of police.
They investigated. They failed to carry it further stating lack of evidence.
Paterno was the high profile scapegoat to cover for the Trustees and Freeh was their assassin.
Pedophile enabler. Case closed.
The date is January 12th, 2011, 11:06 a.m. The questions were asked by Ms. Jonelle Eshbach, Witness, Joseph V. Paterno.
Q: Would you please introduce yourself to the Grand Jury?
Mr. Paterno: My name is Joseph V. Paterno.
Q: Im sure everyone in the room knows, but just in case theres anyone that doesnt, how are you employed?
Mr. Paterno: Im a football coach at the Pennsylvania State University.
Q: As that football coach at the Pennsylvania State University, did you have as employed under you an individual by the name of Jerry Sandusky?
Mr. Paterno: I did for a while, yes.
Q: Do you currently have employed for you since sometime in the early 2000s an assistant coach named Michael McQueary?
Mr. Paterno: Yes.
Q: Id like to direct your attention to what I believe would be a spring break of 2002, around that time. Do you recall Michael McQueary calling you and asking to have a discussion with you about something that he observed?
Mr. Paterno: Im not sure of the date, but he did call me on a Saturday morning. He said he had something that he wanted to discuss. I said, come on over to the house.
He came over to the house.
And as I said, Im not sure what year it was, but I know it was a Saturday morning and we discussed something he had seen.
Q: Without getting into any graphic detail, what did Mr. McQueary tell you he had seen and where?
Mr. Paterno: Well, he had seen a person, an older not an older, but a mature person who was fondling, whatever you might call it Im not sure what the term would be a young boy.
Q: Did he identify who that older person was?
Mr. Paterno: Yes, a man by the name of Jerry Sandusky who had been one of our coaches, was not at the time.
Q: Youre saying that at the time this incident was reported to you, Sandusky was no longer a coach? Mr. Paterno: No, he had retired voluntarily. Im not sure exactly the year, but I think it was either 98 or 99.
Q: I think you used the term fondling. Is that the term that you used?
Mr. Paterno: Well, I dont know what you would call it. Obviously, he was doing something with the youngster.
It was a sexual nature. Im not sure exactly what it was.
I didnt push Mike to describe exactly what it was because he was very upset. Obviously, I was in a little bit of a dilemma since Mr. Sandusky was not working for me anymore.
So I told I didnt go any further than that except I knew Mike was upset and I knew some kind of inappropriate action was being taken by Jerry Sandusky with a youngster.
Q: Did Mike McQueary tell you where he had seen this inappropriate conduct take place?
Mr. Paterno: In the shower.
Q: Where was the shower?
Mr. Paterno: In the Lasch Building.
Q: Is that on the campus of Penn State University?
Mr. Paterno: Its right on the campus.
Q: Did you tell Mike McQueary at that time what you were going to do with that information that he had provided to you?
Mr. Paterno: I dont know whether I was specific or not. I did tell Mike, Mike, you did what was right; you told me.
Even though Jerry does not work for the football staff any longer, I would refer his concerns to the right people.
Q: You recall this taking place on a Saturday morning, the conversation with Mike?
Mr. Paterno: Yes.
Q: When did you did you do something with that information?
Mr. Paterno: Well, I cant be precise.
I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didnt want to interfere with their weekends.
So I dont know whether I did it Saturday or did it early the next week.
Im not sure when, but I did it within the week.
Q: To whom or with whom did you share the information that McQueary had given you?
Mr. Paterno: I talked to my immediate boss, our athletic director.
Q: What is that persons name?
Mr. Paterno: Tim Curley.
Q: How did you contact Mr. Curley?
Mr. Paterno: I believe I did it by phone. As I recall, I called him and I said, hey, we got a problem, and I explained the problem to him.
Q: Was the information that you passed along substantially the same information that Mr. McQueary had given you?
Mr. Paterno: Yes.
Q: Other than the incident that Mike McQueary reported to you, do you know in any way, through rumor, direct knowledge or any other fashion, of any other inappropriate sexual conduct by Jerry Sandusky with young boys?
Mr. Paterno: I do not know of anything else that Jerry would be involved in of that nature, no. I do not know of it.
You did mention I think you said something about a rumor. It may have been discussed in my presence, something else about somebody.
I dont know.
I dont remember, and I could not honestly say I heard a rumor.
Q: You indicated that your report was made directly to Tim Curley. Do you know of that report being made to anyone else that was a university official?
Mr. Paterno: No, because I figured that Tim would handle it appropriately.
I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mr. Curley and I thought he would look into it and handle it appropriately.
Q: We have no further questions of you.
"When Paterno was given the sanitized version of the event in the shower by McQueary he went straight to the administrative head of campus police, the police agency that had the jurisdiction over any crime committed on the campus of Penn State. Joe Paterno went to the proper authority, he went immediately and he went as high as he could go. "
Within 24 hours of of being told what happened by McQueary, Paterno reported it to both his boss, the athletic director, and the chief of campus police. He called the subsequent meeting with the police head.
He was told a second hand story about a guy he knew for twenty some years. He did not defend him. He went straight to the top, his boss and the head of police. What more could he have done? Shot Sandusky himself?
Seriously, a friend tells you about a crime that occurs at work. You call the boss and let him know. Then, you call the police chief and let him know. What more would you or could you do? There's no enabling. A verbal report of a crime was given to him. He's not a cop or in charge of the athletic programs....so he tells those who are.
At Penn State, Paterno WAS the boss, and they all deferred to him.
Football coach the boss of the university.
Wow, that is beyond moronic.