- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Penn State board of trustees has given its explanation several times in statements and media interviews about why it fired football coach Joe Paterno on Nov. 9.
The board did so again Monday in a public statement made available on the school's website. The statement recounts the reasons why both Paterno and then-president Graham Spanier were dismissed a few days after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke wide open.
Both were let go for a "failure of leadership," according to the statement. Here's some of what the trustees had to say about Paterno's actions after the coach was informed by assistant Mike McQueary of allegations against Sandusky:
"While Coach Paterno did his legal duty by reporting that information the next day, Sunday, March 3, to his immediate superior, the then Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, the Board reasonably inferred that he did not call police. We determined that his decision to do his minimum legal duty and not to do more to follow up constituted a failure of leadership by Coach Paterno."
The trustees apologized for having to fire Paterno over the phone that night, but said there was no better way to do it.
"Because Coach Paterno’s home was surrounded by media representatives, photographers and others, we did not believe there was a dignified, private and secure way to send Board representatives to meet with him there. Nor did we believe it would be wise to wait until the next morning, since we believed it was probable that Coach Paterno would hear the news beforehand from other sources, which would be inappropriate."
The trustees also said options are being considered for honoring Paterno on campus, but that no decisions would be made until the internal investigation headed by former FBI director Louis Freh is finished and released to the public.
None of this is really new information, but the trustees have been under fire since early November and apparently feel the need to justify their decisions. This statement is unlikely to change the minds of people who have already chosen a side in this debate.
The Penn State board of trustees has given its explanation several times in statements and media interviews about why it fired football coach Joe Paterno on Nov.