LaVar Arrington was an acclaimed linebacker at Penn State and has defended the college’s culture in the wake of the Joe Paterno scandal, but even he had no answer to the scathing report released this week that showed Paterno actively covered up child sexual abuse taking place under his watch.
Speaking on the “Wetzel to Forde” radio show, Arrington said looking back he never really knew Paterno as a person, Yahoo Sports reported.
“If you really think about it, how much do I really know [coach Joe Paterno]?” LaVar Arrington told the show’s hosts. “How much do we really know him? I know the coaching figure – just like with Jerry Sandusky, I knew the coaching figure. I mean, there’s obvious ways of looking at this right now with 20-20 hindsight, but I didn’t know the person I thought I did.”
Arrington’s reaction came after the release of the Freeh report, an eight-month investigation into exactly how assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was able to repeatedly sexually abuse young boys in and around the Penn State campus. The report showed that Joe Paterno and other high-ranking Penn State officials were part of an active cover-up that allowed Sandusky to remain in contact with young boys even after allegations of abuse surfaced.
Arrington had vehemently defended Penn State’s culture and remained so until the trial of Jerry Sandusky, when he learned that he was used to help lure victims to campus. One of the victims testified that Sandusky knew that Arrington was his favorite player, and used the prospect of meeting Arrington to get the boy to the campus. In an op-ed piece to the Washington Post, Arrington said he wished he could have noticed the warning signs to stop the abuse.
“I didn’t know that there’s words to describe the amount of disappointment that I’m feeling at this point,” said Arrington, a two-time All-American for Penn State. “I mean, that was a low moment when I heard and knew exactly who the kid was, but it got even lower to know that no one was trying to help these kids.”
LaVar Arrington said the scandal did not erase all of the good Paterno had done at the university, but did represent a “big mark, a bad mark on his resume. It certainly does tarnish his reputation.”