Why did Joe Paterno allegedly never confront Jerry Sandusky about claims of sexual abuse?
In Monday night's interview with NBC's Bob Costas, Sandusky denied Paterno ever spoke to him about the 2002 rape allegation raised by then-GA Mike McQueary, despite Sandusky's lingering presence on campus up until October of this year. Unlike several of his other denials, Sandusky was emphatic on that one.
While that was one of many points in the story where a lack of communication helped endanger children, there's a possibility it could stem from a relationship that had simply soured after decades of working together. Reconstructing the scene in your mind, it's hard to piece together why a head coach would put up with seeing an accused child molester on his campus for nine more years without following up, especially if they didn't get along. There's a difference here between trying to shield Penn State and trying to defend Sandusky, though.
From a 1999 Sports Illustrated piece gleaming with ignorant praise of Sandusky:
Working under Paterno takes something out of a man, too. Sandusky was asked last week if he'll miss Joe Pa. "Well, not exactly," he said. "You have to understand that so much of our time was spent under stress, figuring out how to win. That takes a toll. We've had our battles. I've quit. I've been fired. I've walked around the building to cool off."
Paterno evidently felt the same tension:
"In staff meetings, it was getting to be 'We' and 'You' and it should be 'Us.' Jerry [Sandusky's] leaving gave me an opportunity to get that out of the way and do things I'm comfortable with," Paterno told the Centre Daily Times in January 2002.
Related: Jerry Sandusky fallout, replacing Joe Paterno, and Penn State's movement to support sexual abuse survivors. For more on the Nittany Lions, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries. More college football news.