McGinn and Company, spokespeople for the Paterno family, have issued a statement responding to the op-ed written by Joe Paterno prior to his death that was published today by Fight On State.
"We can confirm that this statement was written by Joe Paterno late last year," they said according to the statement. "It was his intent to have it published as a guest editorial. With the rush of events that never happened. Over the last few months it has been shared with a number of former players. We are assuming one of them released it."
Today, Fight On State published for the first time a column written by former head coach Paterno in late December and early January that addressed the criticism the Penn State football program received as a result of the incidents surrounding Jerry Sandusky’s actions.
According to Fight On State, the column was sent to "former" Penn State football players in the form of a word file Wednesday morning.
In the column, Paterno did not defend himself so much as he defended the program which he used to operate.
“Forget my career in terms of my accomplishments and look at the last 40 years as I do: as the aggregate achievements of hundreds of young men working to become better people as they got an education and became better football players,” Paterno wrote. “Look at those men and what they have done in the world since they left Penn State and assess their contributions as an aggregate - is this a collection of jocks who did nothing but skate by at a football factory, or are these men who earned an education and built a reputation second to none as a place where academic integrity and gridiron success could thrive together?”
Paterno died on January 22 of lung cancer. He was fired on November 9 during his 46th season as head coach because of a failure to do more regarding an incident involving Sandusky and a boy in a Lasch Football Building shower.
“Whatever failings that may have happened at Penn State, whatever conclusions about my or others' conduct you may wish to draw from a fair view of the allegations, it is inarguable that these actions had nothing to do with this last team or any of the hundreds of prior graduates of the “Grand Experiment,” Paterno wrote.