The notion of exhuming Joe Paterno and/or dragging his statue through the streets of State College, PA was ridiculed in this space yesterday, particularly as there are other Jerry Sandusky enablers still amongst the living (and as of yet, unconvicted). But if we’re really in need of someone to direct additional venom at, who better than ESPN analyst / PSU alum Matt Millen, roundly mocked by Deadspin’s Drew Margery within minutes of the former reacting to the Freeh Report. Of the embarrassing display yesterday morning, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes, “Millen’s worst day as general manager of the Lions was better than his few minutes of airtime Thursday.”
Millen, straight-faced, contended Paterno was running a “pristine program.” Maybe from the outside looking in. Yet the Freeh report concludes Paterno first knew about Sandusky’s deviance in 1998, which would certainly strip Paterno’s program of the “pristine” status Millen anointed it with.
“My opinion is he (Paterno) made a mistake. “… I’m going to believe the (Freeh) report. He (Paterno) made a mistake and it was compounded and it was over a course of time,” Millen said. “ What means something to me is what he (Paterno) stood for. And what he was. And the character part and the character side of what he was. And what he stood for was significant.
“It (the report) shows he was fallible,” Millen continued. “He made a mistake for whatever his reasons are. Is it spoiled? It’s absolutely spoiled but there is still a lot of good there.”
Not for the kids Sandusky raped. Paterno enabled him to do it by doing nothing. Millen did not have much to say about the kids who were victimized. Guess they were not part of this show. Besides, any reference to them would’ve only taken away from Millen’s attempt to prop up Paterno’s stained legacy (“way ahead of the curve in academics” or how he taught players to “be a productive person”).
Thursday, this all was meaningless. It cannot even be considered spin, just words from a man whose emotional connection to Paterno is strong and, at this point, irrational.