Paterno Brings On PR Guru, Releases Statement

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It took less than 24 hours for Scott Paterno to realize that he was in over his bloated head.

Enter Dan McGinn, PR guru.

This morning, Scott Tweeted the following:

All future media requests regarding the Sandusky matter will be handled by Dan McGinn at (703) 312-0140. 


Jeez, McGinn may want to up his phone plan.

McGinn is the CEO of TMG Strategies, a public relations consultancy that counts General Motors, Texaco, and Coke as clients

TMG describes itself thusly:

For more than 20 years, CEOs, general counsels, university and non-profit presidents, elected officials and media executives have turned to TMG for advice on some of the most complex and high-profile disputes and reputation threats of this era. The following sample of our engagements illustrates the level of communications challenges we have worked on and the range of services we have provided.


Put simply: They fix shit. Or at least try to.

When university president Graham Spanier cancelled yesterday’s press conference – an action that was immediately met by a response from Scott Paterno, who said that his father wanted to speak – it became the administration vs. Joe Pa. At that point, this thing entered Bizarro World, a place where up is down, down is up, and students sing Sweet Caroline in a strange on-campus scene. 

In the eyes of many, Spanier immediately became the heel– think of the cowardly Billy Zane in Titanic, running around with a gun and hopping in the life boat for women and children. Or, in this case, sprinting out the side door of Old Main on Penn State’s campus.

Joe Pa is the aging hero– the captain of the ship who, until now, didn’t realize realize his vessel was sinking. All he heard was the band (students) playing soothing songs on the ship’s deck as the world collapsed around them. 

It seems now Paterno (or his son) realizes that there’s no lifeboat for this one… despite the best efforts of his supporters. It’s all about perception, and the perception is not good. Scott is ill-equipped to change that fact.

As our friend Adam Reigner points out, you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain (yep, Batman'd). McGinn is going to do his best to prevent the latter from happening to Paterno. But he faces a long, uphill battle.

Here’s step one: A statement from Paterno which was released this morning:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 9, 2011 — "I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.

I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.

My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University." 

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34 Responses

  1. I don’t get what the anti-JoeP backlash is about. He was informed of a crime by a subordinate, he informed a superior and the superior failed to do his job.
    I do understand the horror of what happened, but Joe followed proper protocol.
    The person we should be most upset with is the Grad Assistant that had to ask his father what to do about the situation. Call the cops moron.

  2. To Scott Paterno
    How about you, Lash LaRue? You think you can keep your spurs from jinglin’ and janglin’?

  3. I agree. I wrote yesterday that he “kind of made a mistake.” I take that back. He made a moral mistake. If he claims he didn’t know the extent of the charges, etc… then why are we to believe he is lying? All people ever say is how squeaky clean that program has been and how fantastic an individual JoePa is… so now all the sudden he is lying to cover is own ass? He did what he had to do, he told someone. Unfortuantely the acts of some almost always take down other with them. It’s a shame he is going out on this note.

  4. @Happyendingvalley
    Your comment is hilarious because you answer your first sentence with your own last sentence. So let me get this straight…the grad assistant is a moron because HE didn’t call the cops, but JoePa informed his superior so he’s covered? Why isn’t JoePa a moron too? He didn’t call the cops either. I’d also point out that the grad assistant also informed HIS superior when he told Paterno to his face the next day.
    Also, wouldn’t you expect Paterno to maybe follow up? “Hey guys, remember those reports of my former DC butt fucking young boys on campus in OUR showers? Did anything ever come of that?”
    Nope, instead he did nothing for over a decade and still allowed the man on campus to use the various facilities. Get your head out of the sand.

  5. @Happyendingvalley-JoePa has built his legacy on having Integrity. He failed at following his own “beliefs” by knowing of the allegations and not acting. Yeah he reported it to his “superiors” but a man with integrity would have alerted the proper authorities after knowing his “superiors” weren’t going to do so. I also find it funny to hear that JoePa would have to report to anybody. Any PSU student knows that man runs that school, he doesn’t really report to any superiors. Clean house, save face, WE ARE PENN STATE!

  6. I’m just going to pretend that picture is of Scott denying any involvement in the bankruptcy of the Golden Corral buffet, to cheer myself up.

  7. Completely agree with Deezy. Well said. Does anyone know the line on the Penn State Nebraska game coming up?

  8. @Happyendingvalley,
    You don’t get what all the JoePa backlash is about? You’ve got to be kidding me.
    He played an active part in a cover-up that allowed Sandusky to continuously RAPE little boys.
    Paterno, Spanier and McQueary – plus anybody else that knew and said nothing – should all face legal ramifications.
    “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

  9. “with the benefit of hindsight”
    This is the key phrase in the PR. It admits he unequivocally had the detailed knowledge that should have caused him to take more pressing action. And he admits he didn’t. If there wasn’t evidence to this fact than they would not have made this damning comment as it is basically an admission of guilt.
    This is an attempt to negotiation with the University in the media and a threat that if they take him out prematurely that he will NOT spend the rest of his life doing everything he can to help the School.
    Joe is turning this into a war game and putting himself and his reputation before the school. It’s a disgrace to the institution.
    I will be surprised if he is the coach on Saturday.
    Here is what he should have said in conclusion:
    Out of respect for the University, Alumni, faculty, staff and students, I’m stepping down as coach effective immediatly.

  10. Wow, the reaction of the PSU community is really starting to concern me. I don’t understand how you can support someone who actively covered up a child rapist. This was not just some creep who did shit at home and worked at the school but a man who brought children to the campus and RAPED them – not just inappropriately touched them – RAPED THEM! The appropriate action is not to report the ” incident” about your friend to your superior – the guy who wouldn’t have the job without your help. It is almost like the entire school is taught to cover this up. The whole ”we help kids with thon” argument makes the situation worse and the ” in joe we trust” signs and posts are just sickening.

  11. Grad assistant did see crime and instead of calling cops, floundered with what to do and had to ask his father.
    Who sees a kid getting raped and has a dilemma with what to do? Who doesn’t help the child right there?

  12. Let’s be clear here: It’s not an either-or situation with the grad assistant and Paterno.
    They BOTH responded in a pathetic, inexcusable way.
    That grad assistant was a grown man — and now, we know, he’s one of Paterno’s assistant coaches.
    He should have stopped the crime in progress, and he didn’t. And the next day, when Paterno learned of it, he should have called the police. Immediately.
    But he didn’t, and kids continued to be abused. That’s not a small thing. That’s a seismic, catastrophic thing.
    Why is this so hard for some people to grasp?

  13. Why does Paterno get to stick around for the rest of the year? To bow out gracefully? Way beyond that…best case for Predator State is to get rid of everybody, yesterday, and have zero ties with anybody attached to this.

  14. Shannon, these Penn Staters in question cannot grasp the point at hand because they are American as fuck from head to toe. They know about obedience and loyalty, but they have no idea what morality is.

  15. Shannon, I understand where you are coming from. All I can say is that for a man like Joe Paterno, who is supposed to embody the integrity of a bygone era, it is going to be telling in one way or another for why the actions that were taken took place. If Joe Paterno is who we thought he was, there is likely more to this story.
    Lots of people want to see heads roll because of justifiable outrage. But let’s remember where the phrase “heads roll” come from. During the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror led to the deaths of at least 20 people per day over a two year period. Much of this bloodshed was based on rumors, conjecture, and lies. The year is 2011 and we live in what is supposed to be a civilized society. It’s okay to be furious. But until we know more facts, judgment should be withheld until we know the whole story (or as much of it as we reasonably can).

  16. Yep, talk about a double whammy. Not only is the news of this man continually raping boys (and bear in mind, this guy is 6’4″ – think of the mechanics for a second) horrifying, but what the hell are people thinking defending ANYONE who allowed it to happen?

  17. We must always fear the wicked. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

  18. One thing I can cast judgment about is the asinine student crowds that have been gathering. It’s pretty clear that this is only about football for some people. That is clearly not acceptable and should be called out.

  19. How many alumni have called in telling the “people who are in charge” if you want my hundred thousand dollar donation to the football program this year or next Joe better be there until his contract is up. I’m sure more than we think.

  20. How can anyone say that he ACTIVELY covered up the scandal? Where is there information that he did that? Curly and Schultz have committed perjury. They lied under oath! How can you say Joe is lying, when they are facing perjury charges? How can you not believe that they lied to Joe about the situation? Wait for more information to present itself before any of you point a finger at a man who’s done more for young adults than all of you combined.

  21. Joe reported on something he was told, not something he witnessed. He told the authorities who had the authority to look into it (which they did not). He had a football team to coach. He’s not a detective. Case closed.

  22. Creighton: You clearly have no understanding of how things work at Penn State.
    At Penn State, particularly a decade ago, Paterno was in charge. He was the singular figure with the authority to stop this abuse.

  23. It’s amazing how many people said that Joe Pa was just an old man who pooped his pants and had no idea about anything 2 weeks ago. Now they claim that a person can’t enter a building without his approval. Hypocrites… you only want blood!

  24. Anybody? Whats the line for the game this Saturday? I wonder if this will be one of Mikey Miss locks of the week.

  25. Any of you young ass holes that can’t see that Joe Pa needed to do more than he did are just young ass holes! You haven’t got the wisdom or the pespective of normal adult and should stop backing up Joe Pa you sound like idiots. What happened here was the most horrible thing that can happen to another human being. Joe Pa was while Head Coach during the time of the last incident part of the Board of Directors, as I read the law and understand the chain of authority a good case can be made that he was at the top of the chain of command, even higher than the Athletic Director, Civily and possibly criminally Joe Pa should be charged.

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