Former Penn St. Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Jay Paterno, son of Joe Paterno, was interviewed Thursday on ESPN after the release of the Freeh report, which contends that the former head coach repeatedly put children in danger by covering up Jerry Sandusky's actions.
Jay Paterno called the report "basically an opinion" and "not a legal document," finding that Freeh came to "reasonable conclusions" in the absence of facts and used the "same facts we've had" to come to a "different interpretation." The apparently damning emails "were conversations [investigators] were not party to, that they subscribed meaning to."
Jay Paterno touted the "higher burden of proof" of "sworn testimony" that runs contrary to the items in the Freeh report. He noted the 1998 incident was not pursued by law enforcement and the coach turned the 2001 claim over to his superiors.
"I think we have to keep in context one thing," Jay Paterno said in response to a question about whether his father showed "callous disregard" for child safety, as the report claims. "It's always easier to judge people based on the information we have in 2012. When this was brought to Joe's attention, Jerry Sandusky had never been charged with a crime. Joe has been the only leader to say, with the benefit of hindsight, that he would've done more."
He also shot down the use of certain emails in the report's reconstructed timeline, which appear to show other members of Penn State's leadership conferring with the coach on what to do about Sandusky.
"After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps," former athletic director Tim Curley wrote in one email.
When asked what he wishes his father had done, Jay Paterno said he doesn't know, but wishes somebody in the program saw "a sign or something that we could've caught on" to in order to prevent further victimization. He defended the oversight by noting that adoption agencies and other professionals were unaware Sandusky was a serial rapist.
On the removal of his father's name from Nike's child care center and what it means for the future of the name's legacy, Jay Paterno called it "an emotional issue."
"They're a public company. I'm not going to judge what they did," he said. "Phil Knight continues to be a family friend."
And as for the future of the statue of his father outside Beaver Stadium, Jay Paterno said, "This episode is one chapter in a very, very big life, and this chapter is not even finished being written yet. There are still more facts to come out as we go into sworn testimony.
"I think the statue belongs there," said the coach's son.