Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil, who in 2001 wrote the foreword to Jerry Sandusky’s “Touched” autobiography and assisted the ex-Penn State football coach with his Second Mile charity over three decades, told Jeremy Mark-Peltz of ESPN760.com this week that, “Jerry really cared about (The Second Mile children) in a different way than is being portrayed right now.”
Vermeil also told Marks-Peltz, that the revelations about Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse of children, which has thus far resulted in 52 criminal charges against the former Penn State assistant coach, “is a real downer for me. I still hold hope that it’s not all true.”
On the subject of Joe Paterno’s ouster at Penn State, Vermeil this week labeled the situation to Marks-Peltz as, “Unfair. Especially for a man of his class and quality.”
When asked if Paterno did enough to help a child who in Grand Jury testimony Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary reported under oath was anally raped by Sandusky in the Penn State locker room, Vermeil said of Paterno’s decision to not report the incident to authorities, “I would never second guess him.”
Below is the full transcript from Vermeil’s comments to Marks-Peltz:
Jeremy Marks-Peltz: “You were involved with The Second Mile, how well did you know Jerry Sandusky?”
Vermeil: “I knew Jerry very well, I didn’t know this side of him, I still want to really believe it to be true. I wrote the foreword to his book. I’ve been involved in helping him with that charity over thirty years.
“It’s a real downer for me. It’s disappointing as heck.
“I still hold hope that it’s not all true.”
Marks-Peltz: “When the news came out, was it complete disbelief for you?”
Vermeil: “Yes it was. I’d heard rumors there were investigations like all of us did around Second Mile, you could not. You’d have to be deaf not to hear it. But I would always give him (Sandusky) more credit for those rumors being true.”
Marks-Peltz: “How devastating was it for people involved in the charity?”
Vermeil: “I know for a fact they helped a ton of kids, and I know that Jerry really cared about them in a different way than is being portrayed right now.”
Marks-Peltz: “What did you think of the way Joe Paterno was exited out of Penn State?”
Vermeil: “Unfair. Especially for a man of his class and quality. In two days he went from the epitome of what everyone should be like as a coach and I still believe he belongs in that category.”
Marks-Peltz: “In your mind did he (Paterno) did enough to stop what was happening?”
Vermeil: “I wouldn’t second guess him because if he thought it was more serious than it was he would’ve reacted more seriously. I think he reacted according to what he knew, the way he felt he should.
“I would never second guess him.”
Mike McQueary testified in open court in Pennsylvania today that after he witnessed Sandusky involved in an “extreme sexual” act that resembled “intercourse” with a child in the Penn State locker room in 2002, he told Paterno about the incident the next day:
“I went to his house and sat at his kitchen table and told him I saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower. That it was way over the lines and extremely sexual in nature.
“(Paterno) was slumped back in his chair, he said well I’m sorry you had to see that. It’s terrible. I need to think and tell some people about what you saw and I’ll let you know what we’ll do next.”
Also revealed in the same Harrisburg court proceeding today was the transcript of testimony Paterno previously gave a Centre County (PA) Grand Jury regarding what he was told by McQueary about Sandusky’s alleged rape of a boy in Penn State’s locker room in 2002.
During a reading of Paterno’s previously recorded comments, it was confirmed that Paterno did indeed tell the Grand Jury that McQueary related to him that the incident involving Sandusky and a child in the Penn State locker room was of a “sexual nature.”
In a November 7, 2011, statement Paterno claimed:
“As my grand jury testimony stated. I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.”
As part of his 2001 contribution to Sandusky’s “Touched” autobiography, Vermeil, who was coaching the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs at the time and in 1999 led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title, wrote of the ex-Penn State assistant coach, “He (Sandusky) could very well be the Will Rogers of the coaching profession.”
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