Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell: Paterno Statue Should Come Down, Penn State Should Give Up All Football Profits

July 17, 2012 – 6:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

One of Pennsylvania’s former governors does not believe the NCAA should give Penn State the death penalty, but he’s not encouraging a slap on the wrist, either. Ed Rendell weighed in on the ongoing saga surrounding Jerry Sandusky, and said that the program shouldn’t get the death penalty because the student-athletes did nothing wrong.

Instead, Rendell said, Penn State should be forced to give up any profits made by the football program for at least the upcoming season by donating them to charities that fight child abuse. He also minced no words in stating that keeping the statue of Joe Paterno in place would be a mistake.

Ed Rendell joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia with Mike Missanelli to discuss his reaction to the Freeh report, how a group of leaders could cover this situation up, the emails that came out of the report, the non-action by the attorney general, the Paterno statue and what penalties the NCAA should hand down.

What was your reaction when the Freeh report came out?:

“I was legitimately shocked. I was one of those people who reacted with my heart in this. I got to know Joe over the years and got to really like him and I was hoping Joe’s involvement was just what he said it was — that he notified Curley and did what he was legally obligated to do and probably should’ve done a little bit more. But I never would have believed that Joe was part of this 14-year coverup. The great irony of it is the four men involved thought they were protecting the program but they did the exact opposite of what they should have to protect the program.”

On how a group of people could collectively think that they were doing the right thing:

“As the Freeh report said, callous disregard for the welfare of children. If they had turned Sandusky in, even after the McQueary incident, I think four children would not have gotten abused and that’s four lives that would not have gotten severely screwed up.”

Doesn’t the email conversation where Curley says they’re ready to go in one direction but then says Paterno isn’t comfortable doing that put a bulk of the blame on Paterno?:

“Sure, except if you’re the college president, your job is to make the decisions, not the football coach. … Look, someone in that group should have had the sense to say, ‘This has got to stop and we’ve got to stop it, and if it mars the football program, so be it.’ The problem is, and it’s not just a Penn State problem, it’s a problem in a lot of major institutions … but the problem is that football becomes bigger than the institution. It becomes the thing that drives the institution. Remember the two janitors who caught Sandusky in the act? They said they were afraid to turn them in because football runs Penn State. They would’ve lost their jobs. That’s an attitude.”

On the actions, or non-action, taken by the attorney general in this:

“Obviously the first thought that comes into people’s minds is, if Louis Freeh can find this stuff out, why didn’t the attorney general’s investigation find it out? And I don’t know the answer to that. … That’s certainly something the governor should answer. And the second question is why the governor or the attorney general, why did they allocate such [little] manpower. … Why did the whole thing take so long? Those are legitimate questions.”

On the issue of the Paterno statue remaining in its place:

“That’s a mistake. Clearly, even if you care about Joe, you don’t want that there as a reminder every time there’s a football game and 100,000 people walk by it and the network’s there. It’s just a distraction to the program. I love Joe and I don’t think it should stay.”

What do you think the NCAA should do about the situation?:

“There’s something to be said for giving the program the death penalty because the message has to be delivered that Penn State and Texas and North Carolina and Duke and Stanford and Michigan and Ohio State, they’re all universities that are bigger than their sports programs. Maybe that’s the only way to get the message across. However, my personally belief is you do not punish the kids. The kids on the football team did nothing wrong. … I think the appropriate punishment, if the NCAA feels they have to do something, and I think they should, they should force Penn State to [give up] profits from the football program for at least this year, maybe more, and give those profits to agencies that fight child abuse.”

Listen to Ed Rendell on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia here

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