Joe Paterno Wouldn’t Have Answered Jerry Sandusky Questions at Weekly Conference Call, Which Gets Canceled Anyway


November 8, 2011

Editor's note: This story was originally published prior to the Penn State football news conference that ended up being canceled. The story has been changed to reflect the cancellation.

If you were a member of the media and you planned on attending Penn State head coach Joe Paterno's news conference on Tuesday, you should have been prepared with some tough questions.

How do you plan to contain Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead, Joe?

What'd you learn about the Huskers from their loss to Northwestern, Joe?

How proud are you of your team, Joe?

Those hard-hitting football questions were the only things reporters would have been allowed to ask the 84-year-old coach. Any questions about Jerry Sandusky or the investigation into the sexual abuse of children that took place on campus would have had to wait.

As it turns out, all questions will have to wait, as the school canceled the meeting with the media.

Deadspin published the email that was sent out to media outlets in advance of the conference call.

"Media planning to attend Tuesday's Penn State Football weekly teleconference are advised that [the] primary focus of the teleconference is to answer questions related to Penn State's Senior Day game with Nebraska this Saturday," wrote Jeff Nelson, the man with the unenviable job as assitant athletic director for communications. "Head coach Joe Paterno and any Penn State football student-athletes in attendance will be answering questions about the Nebraska game, Penn State's season thus far and other topics related to the current college football season."

That email, translated to its simplest form, can be read thusly: "Nothing to see here, people. Move along."

It makes sense, obviously, that the football team wouldn't want to talk about the allegations against Sandusky. Nelson and PSU are trying to manage the message. The job of the school, the athletic department and the football team is to present itself as well as possible in the public eye.

That ship, however, has sailed, and telling professional reporters what they can and can't do only makes the school look worse.

Photo of the day

Did Penn State make itself look worse by telling the media how to do their jobs?

Joe Paterno Wouldn't Have Answered Jerry Sandusky Questions at Weekly Conference Call, Which Gets Canceled Anyway

Quote of the day

"We need to keep getting better."
–Eagles coach Andy Reid, stating the obvious after Philadelphia fell to 3-5 on the season

Video of the day

Penn State is probably hoping this "reporter" calls in to talk to Paterno on Tuesday. Here's his "question": "Coach, college football wishes that you would continue to coach for as long as you can, because you bring integrity to the game, and you have [for a long time]. When you look at the embarrassment that Ohio State brought on the Big Ten and college football, and the pressures that are on collegiate athletes as well as coaches, when you look at a Joe Paterno, the fact that you're at Penn State."

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