Joe Paterno Interview: 'I Didn’t Know Exactly How To Handle It'

Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno broke his silence and spoke with the Washington Post about the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

In the wak of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, many wondered how it could have gone on as long as it did without something happening sooner than it did. Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno finally broke his silence on the situation and talked about what went on.

"I didn't know exactly how to handle it," Paterno told Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post. "I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," Paterno added. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."

Paterno was never charged with anything during the whole ordeal, but there is a running sentiment that he is somewhat responsible. Paterno was relieved of his duties as the head football coach at Penn State by the Board of Trustees in a somewhat cryptic way -- something he and his wife both lamented in the interview.

Surma told Paterno, "In the best interests of the university, you are terminated." Paterno hung up and repeated the words to his wife. She grabbed the phone and redialed.

"After 61 years he deserved better," she snapped. "He deserved better."

Paterno wondered, multiple times, about his legacy, feeling he'd done all he could at Penn State, both on the field and off. Now, though, Paterno is in another battle, facing rigorous cancer treatments that have sapped him of his strength. He did the interview from a wheelchair, then in bed before checking into a hospital late this last week.

Read the full interview over at the Washington Post.

For more on Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal, visit SB Nation's Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries and SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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