Nightly News | November 08, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: College football's most legendary active coach, Penn State 's Joe Paterno , may be on his way out tonight in the wake of these revelations about a child abuse scandal involving one of his assistant coaches at Penn State . Reporters and students gathered outside the Paternos ' house tonight not far from campus. We caught a glimpse of the coach through the window. He was said by observers to be moved to tears at the show of support. NBC 's Ron Allen is with us from State College , PA , tonight. Ron , good evening.
RON ALLEN reporting: Good evening, Brian . We have not heard from Coach Paterno directly today, but The New York Times is reporting that university officials here are very busy planning for his exist sometime in the days or weeks to come. That as the calls for the coach to step down grow louder. The coach could hear a few fans as he left for practice, refusing to answer questions about the 40 count indictment alleging his longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused at least eight young boys for more than 10 years. Paterno 's son spoke for him.
Unidentified Man #1: No one has asked Joe to step down, that's all I can say at this time.
Unidentified Reporter: If they do...
ALLEN: Earlier, Paterno 's weekly media briefing was abruptly canceled.
Unidentified Man #2: We have determined that today's press conference cannot be held and will not be rescheduled.
Mr. BOB FLOUNDERS: I don't see him surviving. I don't think he should. But that's just my opinion.
ALLEN: Reporter Bob Flounders ' paper, The Harrisburg Patriot-News , is one of many harshly criticizing Paterno , saying he should have done more. Back in 2002 , prosecutors say the coach did, in fact, report an abuse complaint about Sandusky to athletic director Tim Curley , who along with vice president Gary Schultz has been charged with failing to alert authorities about abuse cases and lying to a grand jury. Both men deny the charges. But many say while Paterno followed the letter of the law , he should have also alerted police and should now step down.
Mr. FLOUNDERS: The moral question is out there and it comes -- I think -- I think the answer is he comes up short on the moral question, and that's a huge deal in a case like this.
Unidentified Man #3: Go!
ALLEN: It is a profound fall from grace for a coach who had a pristine reputation. Paterno , now 84, is the winningest college football coach ever. He's brought tens of millions of dollars to the school that has his name and image all over campus. Neil Rudel has covered Penn State football for 34 years.
Mr. NEIL RUDEL (Altoona Mirror): It's been the kingdom and the power of Joe Paterno , and I think, unfortunately, it all came back to roost. It's going to take a clean sweep of everybody who's been involved.
ALLEN: Paterno is a fighter, and his son said today that he wanted to tell his side of the story but the university shut down that media event. Meanwhile tonight, there are reports a ninth victim has come forward with a similar story of being abused at a football facility. Brian :
WILLIAMS: So, Ron , we have these dual tracks. Impossible to overstate the human damage if any of these allegations are true; also, impossible to overstate the legend of this man they call " Joe Pa " locally, even though there have been discussions about an exit strategy before this scandal.
ALLEN: Indeed, Brian . This is a very profound thing that's happened to this campus, to this community. It's just really something that came out of the blue . Today, the mothers of some of those alleged victims were quoted in the local newspaper of telling how difficult it was for their sons to come forward to take on this very powerful institution. Remember, this has been going on for many years, and some of those -- some of their complaints were discounted early on in the process. And, yes, there is a lot of affection for Joe Paterno here, but people just feel that this -- they have to get past this, and the only way for that to happen is for him and perhaps the university president and others to resign.
WILLIAMS: All right.
ALLEN: Brian :
WILLIAMS: Ron Allen on this enveloping scandal in State College , PA. Ron , thanks.