Buzz Bissinger on Joe Paterno: “He was not a good guy. He wasn’t. He was power crazy, he listened to nobody…”

November 18, 2011 – 5:30 am by Michael Bean

We’ve tried to limit our interview coverage of the Jerry Sandusky and Penn State sex scandal to those either directly  involved with the program or with close ties to the individuals at the heart of the sordid saga. But let’s make an exception for the always-opinionated Buzz Bissinger. No, not just because he’s opinionated, but because he’s a Pennsylvanian who knows the how state and local politics work in the state as well as anybody from his time as a reporter and all that went into researching and writing a ‘A Prayer For The City.’  Bissinger also had some outstanding stuff to say about Michael Vick, Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles, as well as what the Phillies front office should do with Jimmy Rollins — but as far as the transcription goes, read on for his take on Sandusky, Joe Paterno and the legal proceedings that are in store.

Bissinger joined WIP in Philadelphia to talk about his impressions of the Penn State sex scandal, the grand jury testimony of McQueary potentially be contradicted by an email the former assistant sent, why he can’t believe that McQueary’s attorneys have not kept a tighter lid on him, how Bob Costas told him the interview was originally supposed to be with Sandusky’s attorney, being totally creeped out by Sandusky’s comments during the interview, why he hasn’t read any of the New York Times’ coverage of the scandal because of how bad they butchered the Duke Lacrosse rape story, how the narrative of Joe Paterno being a good wholesome person is totally bogus, and how Paterno’s limitless power in the area probably made him think the whole incident would blow over.

On his take on the whole Penn State sex scandal mess and what he thinks might be still to come:

“Well I’ve got to say that of all the things that I’ve covered in my life, because of the crimes involved, because it involves sports which has gone completely out of control — so I can’t make wise cracks about it — the most significant thing about it is that e-mail from Mike McQueary. Because what it does now is it presents a credibility issue that a defense attorney… and hopefully it won’t be — not hopefully, if it’s Amendola than the prosecution has a shot. But we do have a situation where he’s conflicting his grand jury testimony. And that’s what any defense attorney looks for. And the ace-in-the-hole in this case if you have one is you have an adult eye-witness to sexual assault of a child. You virtually never, ever have that in a case like this. McQueary doesn’t strike me as particularly smart, but I also think the prosecution, they should have babysat this guy 24 hours a day and said to this guy 80 times a day, ‘you don’t talk to anyone, you don’t email anyone, because everything gets out and if your credibility is in anyway affected, they will try to drive a hole through it.’ Because otherwise, these case always boil down to trying to get at the victim. And in many of these victims, they can’t locate them — in the case of the janitor (I was listening to you yesterday), he has dementia. I mean, this guy could walk if they’re not careful.”

What he made of Sandusky’s interview with Bob Costas earlier in the week:

“Well like everyone else, I was shocked. And even more shocking…I know Bob, and I talked to Bob, and I said ‘Bob, it was a great interview’, which it was. And he said ‘yeah, it was a great interview, and the interesting thing is it was completely accidental. I was going to interview the lawyer, and the lawyer Amendola says hey you want to talk to Jerry.’ I mean, like for a reporter, that;s like multiple orgasm. Of course he wants to talk to him. My impression of Sandusky was I could see him and I could feel him — and I say this in the Daily Beast column today — it doesn’t matter if it was over the phone. He was creepy, he was despicable, I felt he was arrogant, he had this very flat affect in his voice, and I just think he’s a pathological manipulator, and there was this arrogance to him that he could beat this. And he was really trying to woo the public just like he wooed his victims with whatever — with small talk, with gifts, with whatever, this modulated voice of ‘I’m not guilty of anything.’ Yet he incriminates himself basically. He admits that he takes showers with kids as if that’s normal behavior, and towel snapping. I mean, I don’t know, I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms and clubhouses — I can’t imagine 55 year old guy in a shower with a 10 year old kid towel snapping. And he admits to horse play. Obviously he did nothing to help his case.

“I can’t get the sound of his voice out of my mind. I can’t get out of my mind the fact that this guys is on 100,000 non-secure bail because Penn State and Center County is basically incestuous. I’m serious. It reminds of me Deliverance, the movie, and Appalachia. It’s all a walking conflict of interest because of the God of Penn State in Paterno. The judge sets the bail, she does not disclose that she’s a volunteer for 2 Mile — every step of this case has been fraught with pratfalls, and now you have the latest which is McQueary.  It just seems to get worse, and worse, and worse. And I think the next step is — and I think it’s an interesting question — why did [Governor Tom] Corbett take so long? Why did it take three years for the grand jury? In a situation like this, if you have a sexual predator that you think is roaming about, you nail the guy; you don’t wait for three years. Was it politics? Was it because he was running for Governor? There was a story in the Pittsburgh paper about that. You know, Pennsylvania is a very, very strange, backwards state. It’s laws are very, very strange, and it’s a state of essentially corrupt and vacant politics.”

What’s he thinks of the New York Times story noting the sale of Joe Paterno’s to his wife for pennies on the dollar:

“Well I don’t care about this estate planning think. I’d like to point out that the New York Times’ coverage of the Duke Lacrosse scandal was the worst of every major newspaper in the country; they defended the prosecutor to the hill. I would also like to point out that the great Maureen Down — or the headline writer for her column — referred to Penn State as Penn. And that’s true. So I don’t have much faith in the New York Times. What it says to me is we all believe our narratives. It was the same for Michael Vick. We all believed in this guy coming out from prison and becoming a great quarterback. And you know what? He believed it too for awhile. This narrative is of Joe Paterno… like Charlie Manuel — Charlie Manuel is folksy; Joe Paterno is not folksy. Anyone who has dealt with him — ask Frank Fitzpatrick who wrote a book about him — he’s nasty, he’s arrogant, he’s elitist, and he’s always…he’s doing a lot of estate planning, he’s moving money here, he’s moving money there — he was not a good guy. He wasn’t. He was power crazy, he listened to nobody, and you know, the longer this goes on, and the more I hear about him, the less and less respect I have for him. Obviously he did nothing because he didn’t want to deal with it, thought it was unimportant, I mean who cares? The man really has no, as far as I’m concerned, no morality at all. At all. He didn’t see this coming in July. Trust me, Joe thought this was going to blow over. Joe thought this was going to blow over because he’s Joe Paterno, the great god of Penn State. And trust me, he would not have retired ever. He would still be coaching until finally, because he can’t get out of the way of anybody on the sidelines, the trainer hit him and finally he died of two broken legs.”


Listen here to Bissinger with The Morning Team on WIP in Philadelphia

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  1. 20 Responses to “Buzz Bissinger on Joe Paterno: “He was not a good guy. He wasn’t. He was power crazy, he listened to nobody…””

  2. Buzz? What an ignorant, seemingly uneducated moron–he is an embarrassment to our profession.

    By Pat on Nov 18, 2011

  3. Another fool trying to get on the I hate Joe bandwagon. Go away!

    By Don on Nov 18, 2011

  4. Actually, Pat, Buzz Bissinger is not an uneducated moron. He is one person who has a viewpoint worth listening to, as being from the state, experience in politics of that state and in general, and, being the author of Friday Night Lights, knowing about football and the politics that go into it(or any other business worth so much too so many, financially). I wouldn’t take his thoughts on the subject so lightly.
    Also, if the allegations are true, Joe Pa should be hurt….badly.

    By Jonah on Nov 18, 2011

  5. Anyone is entitled to an opinion. Buzz can have his but I certainly don’t agree with him. WIP should consider how his yapping makes the organization look.

    By Bob on Nov 18, 2011

  6. The transcript of this interview is riddled with misspellings/typos…ever heard of proof-reading???

    By Scott on Nov 18, 2011

  7. Wow — this guy loves to heart himself talk! Educated or not, he sounds foolish, and is capitalizing on the opportunity! I wonder what his opinion of Joe Pa was prior to the unfortunate news coming out of PSU?

    By Chuck on Nov 18, 2011

  8. Hey stupid…………..

    Rumor floating around that Paterno followed up with Curley and Shultz a week later…..they told him it was under full investigation. Then three months he followed up again and they told him the police said not enough to charge. Paterno then said he wanted Sandusky barred from campus, and they told him he doesn’t have that power as football coach. Then he told them he wanted him out of the football building, and they said he could do that.

    I hope this is true, because I want Paterno to sue gutless hacks like yourself and give the money to charity,

    By Tom on Nov 18, 2011

  9. Very Important Point (VIP):

    No one has mentioned that when a grown adult showers with ANY child, especially their own, the child’s face is facing the perverts genetals. Full view, in all its disgusting detail. This alone is monstrous, and for any child, utterly heart stopping and mindnumbing.

    Another VIP: On paterno, sandusky, schutz and the Pres: A poem called “The Silent Wall of Birds”

    “Birds of a feather always flock together;
    When threatened they all protect each other;
    When they don’t, bird of a feather blackmail each other,
    Because they are all birds of a feather and
    ‘have stuff on each other’…
    And then all of the birds go silent.

    This poem is not copyrighted, and I stole it anyway, so please pass it on.

    saW”

    By jane hosker on Nov 18, 2011

  10. Oh,yeah, I forgot: McQueary sees a child against a wall with a pervert’s penis in his bottom (hey, let’s get real, SNL uses the word penis and the audience always collapses in hysterical laughter. We are in fact a nation of perverts, apparently) and calls his dad and then goes to the pervert’s boss, Paterno.

    Paterno passes this information (with vague, non-threatening details only) on to the College President. Just him.

    The result in plain words is that the ONLY ACTION TAKEN ( I scream in anger) is that they tell the pervert Sandusky: “DO NOT COMMIT ANY MORE CHILD RAPE AT THE PENN STATE FACILITY GYM SHOWERS. YOU MUST TAKE THESE CHILDREN TO ANOTHER LOCATION.” (implied. There is nothing else to make of the statement that ‘Sandusky was told he could no longer bring children to the gym showers to ‘shower them’)

    And that was the complete and total action of the birds of a feather (Penn State highest officials in charge of the University) involved.

    They did not warn Second Mile adminstration (the private breeding stock charity the pervert created just for this purpose)… nothing. Why? Because is would be redundant?

    And, are birds of a feather running Second Mile? Who else could be that stupid unless similarly involved? It begs a stretch of the imagination beyond what is normal, does it not, that no hint ever reached the administrators of Second Mile? I’m just saying, this whole thing is a huge pile of Pervert Puke stretching for miles and miles.

    Put all of these bastards in jail, period.

    From McCreary on up. And who’s on the Board of Directors that didn’t get a wiff of this?
    Maybe them too.

    Please feel free to pass any of these observations on. It is very difficult to actually “speak reality” and dissect human horror. What with so many lawsuit lawyers and all. We are a very sick nation.

    No? You disagree…?

    Remember: A $100,000 video of a drugged whore in stiletto high heels mashing and crushing
    tiny baby rabbits, kittens, hamsters, you name it was recently–I repeat recently–recognized by our august and learned Supreme Court Judges as a private activity “protected under free speech.” Check out “crush films”. You’ll feel so proud of being an American.

    American was truly once the home of the brave and the land of the free and now it is a huge mudpile of everyone imaginable and the home of the fat, utterly depraved and hell-bound of choice. We’re going to clean it up as a Nation, or perish with it. And probably sooner than you might think.

    By jane hosker on Nov 18, 2011

  11. To Tom, who really loves Paterno, as a lot of people do.

    Listen, I know you are hurting. Just be prepared for the worst because you’ll need to be prepared if is the fire all the smoke points to.

    Never forget that John Wayne Gacy was a beloved contractor in Chicago, was it, and so esteemed by the community that he was chosen to meet with Carter and his wife. I’ve seen that photo. Taken at the time his crawlspaces were crammed with teen boy’s bodies.

    Just don’t ever forget that, because I don’t.
    I give no one a free pass anymore. No one.

    It was one of a million warnings we’ve all had, not saying that Joe is anything, but if he is, then you need to be prepared, my man.

    And if he’s not, then he will be raised up even higher in vindication. And you can dance with him. So don’t keep trying to kill the messengers, ok? Let’s wait and see.

    By jane hosker on Nov 18, 2011

  12. To Tom re: his post

    “Rumor floating around that Paterno followed up with Curley and Shultz a week later…..they told him it was under full investigation. Then three months he followed up again and they told him the police said not enough to charge. Paterno then said he wanted Sandusky barred from campus, and they told him he doesn’t have that power as football coach. Then he told them he wanted him out of the football building, and they said he could do that.”

    I am so glad you posted this because it is what I have been wondering all along. Everyone is jumping to all of these conclusions about what was done and not done and NO ONE has heard Joepa’s side. I have thought from day one that it is totally possible he reported it to his boss (since Sandusky was not Joepa’s employee anymore) and was told repeatedly that they were working on, that they were working wiht police, that they were taking action. If you trust your boss implicitly (like I do), why would you ever doubt what they said. What if Joepa reported it and DID repeatedly check on status and BELIEVED proper action was being taken? Is he a bad person then? I can totally see where I would trust my boss to handle say, an HR violation, and I would understand I could not get the details since that is then private. But if we had a good relationship and he told me it was being taken care of, why would I ever doubt him. Was Joepa jut supposed to say “bullshit, I think you are lying” to his boss if he really believed him??

    By PSUforever on Nov 18, 2011

  13. I’m tired of all the Paterno/McQueary/Penn State bashing….this story is about one sick individual named Sandusky and that’s it…everyone else who behaved admittedly rather deplorably in ignoring it was really only guilty of being decent people fucking up an already bad situation even more by being human .. humans f$^k s%^t up all the time …

    By Alex on Nov 18, 2011

  14. I guess the moral of the story for parents is don’t send your kid to charity camps.

    And what’s up with McQueary? You figure there’s only two options for the situation he found himself in;

    1. Call the cops.
    or
    2. Hit the guy with a chair and then call the cops.

    By Neanderthal Religion on Dec 1, 2011

  15. I agree with Jane Hosker. It is time to do something….”Think For Yourself, Question Authority”

    It never got weird enough for me(HST)

    By Jonah on Dec 21, 2011

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