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Morning Coffee: A Lion's legacy

Friday, July 13

Far away from the exciting recruiting drama of five-star announcements and big weekends, something truly rotten continued to fester in Pennsylvania.

The big story nationally Thursday was the release of a report prepared by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who thoroughly investigated Penn State's role in the horrific Jerry Sandusky saga. As expected, it wasn't pleasant for Penn State as a whole, it's former adminisrators or the late Joe Paterno.

Basically, Freeh found that "In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at the university ... repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse," thus helping a now-convicted child molestor to continue to prey on his victims with the protection of a major college football program.

View the 267-page report here (courtesy of the Harrisburg Patriot-News). Or you could read ace reporter Sara Ganim's summary of the highlights of the report.

It is rotten stuff, enough to draw a response from seemingly everyone, but as one of the final chapters in what is likely to go down as the worst scandal in American sports history, here are a view of the responses we collected.

Some took a very hard stance, calling for Penn State to stop playing football because of this.
Among them ...

Christine Brennan of USA Today ...

If Penn State doesn't do the right thing and immediately shut down the program itself, the NCAA should step in and do it, perhaps in concert with the Big Ten Conference, of which Penn State is a member. This is an extraordinarily awful incident requiring strong and willful leadership and decision-making. What happened at Penn State is the worst scandal to ever occur in an athletic department at a U.S. university. It must be treated as such. SMU's football program received the so-called death penalty decades ago for sports-related improprieties. This is worse. Far worse.

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And Jeff Schultz of the AJC ...

Penn State put football and its image above all us. That’s beyond wrong. What they did is beyond anything any college athletic program has ever done, beyond free clothes, free rent and academic fraud. As a result, they (deserved) to be hit hard by the NCAA. It may seem unfair to the student-athletes and university employees who knew nothing of Sandusky’s acts or the cover-up, but that’s the case with all NCAA sanctions.

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Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! was a bit more tempered in an outstanding column that outlined specifically how Paterno failed and how his legacy is tarnished ...

The reason Paterno was able to wield such influence is the outsized value placed on college sports and the coaches who deliver those winning programs. A "pyramid of power," Freeh described it. And anyone pointing to all the players he helped is just repeating the same pathetic concept.

Paterno did help his football players. Those men, however, were heavily recruited, talented and often highly motivated people. If they hadn't gone to Penn State they would've gone to Michigan or Virginia or Notre Dame. ...

Conversely, the kids that Jerry Sandusky tricked, molested and damaged wouldn't have lived the same life had Paterno done the right thing. They were attacked, out of nowhere. Without fault. Without provocation. Without the opportunity to create their own destiny.
The lives of these kids were profoundly and forever destroyed because of the actions of Sandusky, Spanier, Schultz, Curley and, yes, Joe Paterno.

There could never be enough victories, enough perfect graduation rates, enough national championships to justify that.

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Meanwhile, Paterno's family did release a statement on behalf of the coach as well Thursday.

Joe Paterno wasn't perfect. He made mistakes and he regretted them. He is still the only leader to step forward and say that with the benefit of hindsight he wished he had done more. To think, however, that he would have protected Jerry Sandusky to avoid bad publicity is simply not realistic. If Joe Paterno had understood what Sandusky was, a fear of bad publicity would not have factored into his actions.

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So what do you think?

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ON THE AGENDA

Busy day ahead ...

It's DawgNight time, and we'll have you covered with three reporters on hand, a running story updated by the minute and other coverage.

In addition, UGA coordinators Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham are also planning to meet with the media for a routine update that will be covered later this morning.

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TWEET(S) OF THE DAY

What do we sacrifice in the name of what's right? What will we stand up to? Requires courage. The PSU story is horrifying, not surprising.

Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

#NCAA didn't suspend a player when it knew his father shopped his services. Shutting down Penn St? I'll believe it when i see it.

Matt Hayes of The Sporting News

If nothing else, Penn State scandal should teach college football fans not to worship coaches like a god.

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News

If its one thing you can count on, you can count on me

DB commit Shaq Wiggins

Be good at the things that don't take talent.

LB Christian Robinson

I WILL BE IN ATHENS TONIGHT #DawgNation #DawgNight

This is a Business trip for me. Point_______ period. #uga #DawgNation

2014 TE recruit Milan Richard

Looks like auburn is gettin good! Congrats rueben even though you picked the wrong school

OL commit Brandon Kublanow

Jus drove over the #suwannee river ..... Dreading the drive but can't wait to be in #Athens #GoDawgs

LB commit Ryne Rankin

I'm the next Harrison Smith meaning they never saw me coming.

DB Shawn Williams

Congrats to Matt Stafford winning the Comeback Player of the Year Award last night at the ESPYS. Now that's a great Dawg!!

Coach Mark Richt

Met a lot of cool people at the ESPYs. Tried to play it cool but here's the one pic I couldn't resist getting. pic.twitter.com/Jg22hNfL

Alabama OL Barrett Jones

New Orleans here I come. Can't wait to work with the Manning brothers later today

QB Aaron Murray

Fina slide to athens tonight see whats poppin

DB commit Steven Nelson

Some people speak of change but do they try to change some things they are doing..

DB Devin Bowman

Waiting for the bus.... #scooterproblemz

OL Greg Pyke

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