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Paterno defended football, Penn State in letter before his death

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:15 AM EDT, Thu July 12, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "This is not a football scandal," Paterno writes in the letter
  • It was intended to be published as a guest editorial, his family says
  • Paterno was fired amid the sex scandal involving his former assistant coach
  • He died in January

(CNN) -- Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno wrote a letter before his death saying the sex abuse scandal involving his assistant coach was "not a football scandal."

Read the full text of the letter

His family authenticated the letter, written late last year, after it emerged Wednesday.

"This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one," wrote Paterno, who died in January. "It is not an academic scandal and does not in any way tarnish the hard-earned and well-deserved academic reputation of Penn State."

Anticipation builds ahead of Sandusky report

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program. Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno died on January 22. He was 85. The legendary coach, seen here in 1988, was fired in November 2011 during his 46th season at the helm of the Nittany Lions program.
Paterno as Penn State coach
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Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on Friday, June 22. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse in handcuffs after a jury found him guilty in his sex abuse trial on Friday, June 22.
Jerry Sandusky convicted
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Paterno's family discuss his final days
Community grieves Paterno's passing

Family spokeswoman Mara Vandlik said the letter was intended to be published as a guest editorial, but that never happened, and it was probably released by one of the former players who had received a copy.

Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted last month for sexually abusing young boys over a 15-year period.

Joe Paterno, a flawed hero?

Paterno and former Penn State President Graham Spanier were fired after the Sandusky scandal broke in November.

The findings of an internal review into the sex scandal are scheduled to be released Thursday. The lengthy report is expected to focus on school officials, what they knew about Sandusky's behavior and whether they tried to cover it up.

Despite scandal, Penn State draws $208.7 million in donations

The internal review is separate from criminal investigations that have resulted in Sandusky's conviction, and charges of perjury and failing to report abuse against former athletic director Tim Curley and former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The Pennsylvania attorney general's office is investigating what the university knew about a 2001 incident involving Sandusky and a young boy in a university shower, which was reported by then-Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary.

The scandal has shaken the university and the nation, and has raised questions about Penn State's response to the allegations. Some claim the school put its reputation ahead of protecting potential child victims.

Review into Penn State's handling of Sandusky released

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