This morning the NCAA severely sanctioned the Penn State University football program
essentially destroying it and the players who committed to playing for it. And yesterday, the
statue of revered football coach Joe Paterno was taken down from the entrance to Beaver
Stadium. Why did these things happen? Because Joe Paterno was convicted of a crime in a
court of law? NO, because one man decided that Joe Paterno was guilty. A man who
conducted another sports-related investigation that was determined to be insufficient to prove
the culpability that it placed on someone whose reputation is now, irreparably tarnished.
Freeh, former director of the FBI under Bill Clinton, conducted an “investigation” for the
Board of Trustees of Penn State University in an effort to determine who knew what and when –
regarding the criminal activity of Jerry Sandusky. In a 162 page report, Mr. Freeh draws
conclusions from insufficient facts to reach his conclusion that Joe Paterno failed to act to
protect innocent children from Jerry Sandusky. And, more disturbing, the University and the
NCAA took Freeh’s assertions to be gospel and crucified Paterno and the football program
without obtaining facts or testimony from any of the accused.
What the media and the University officials apparently failed to do is actually READ the
report to determine how Mr. Freeh reached this conclusion. Because my husband played for
Joe Paterno and knew Coach and his family well, I did, in fact, read this report and analyze it. I
determined that Mr. Freeh did not have sufficient evidence to reach his conclusion about Joe
But what is so shocking and frightening to me is how one man’s conclusion – devoid of
fact and due process – has resulted in such drastic actions by the public, the media, the
University and the NCAA. Blind sheep from the University and the NCAA took radical steps to
decimate Joe Paterno’s reputation and contributions to 60 years of Penn State football without
questioning the report, its contents or those who have first hand knowledge as to what occurred
and what people knew.
None of the critical witnesses in the case were interviewed for Freeh’s report. Yet the
public has torn apart the Penn State football team and stripped Joe Paterno of his legitimately
I’m sure that Qatari Mohammed Bin Hammam would agree with me. Never heard of
him? Neither had I until the Penn State Freeh report reared its ugly head.
Bin Hammam wanted to run for the position of President of FIFA which is an international
soccer association. But because of an “investigation” by the same Louis Freeh, he was
prevented from doing so and banned for life from the organization. Apparently Mr. Freeh
concluded that Bin Hammamsolicited bribes – a pretty hefty charge. Just days ago, however, a
Swiss court overturned FIFA’s ban of Bin Hammam citing the lack of evidence in Mr. Freeh’s
report to reach the conclusions that he drew. I believe that time will show Mr. Freeh’s report to
be similarly devoid of evidence but the damage his report is causing is unconscionable and
The NCAA similarly reached its conclusions and issued its sanctions against Penn State
without conducting its own investigation but rather by relying on Mr. Freeh’s report!! If our
country is headed for conviction of people without evidence and due process, heaven help us
all. But this is exactly what has happened.
Joe Paterno, as he tries to rest in peace, has no voice in this mess – yet we have
allowed one man to undermine his lifetime of contributions to the Penn State football program
and thousands of students whose lives he touched.
I don’t know what Joe Paterno knew or didn’t know – but I do know this: Mr. Freeh’s
report in no way, shape or form supports the conclusions that he made about Coach Paterno
and we should not allow a man to be condemned without his “day in court.” I stand by Coach
Paterno and offer my support to his family because in the America that I know, men are
presumed innocent until proven guilty and there is no proof in this report.