Transcript of My Final Phone Call With Scott Paterno

Here is a partial transcript of the last phone call I ever had with Scott Paterno. It came in 2013 just after I had interviewed Jerry Sandusky in prison for the first time. I had been trying to get ahold of Scott all week as a courtesy "heads up," but he had been sick. We pick up the conversation just after I took the call after being on the other line with Dottie Sandusky.

As you read this, ask yourself one question: Is Scott reacting like someone for whom I may have created a minor political problem and who truly cares about what really happened here? Or, is he acting more like someone who has a deep personal stake in what the Penn State community thinks of his role in how this went down and who has only one "truth" which he is willing/able to consider?


Scott: You’re using my last name and it’s a courtesy to me that you let me know that your going to use that last name to have Jerry have a chance to say his peace? Do you think Todd Blackledge is going to stay with you when I have my mother call him? Do you think Franco Harris will?

John: Scott, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Scott: Are you going to air video of an interview with Jerry on a website called FramingPaterno?

John: You have no idea what you are talking about. You didn’t even ask my any questions Scott. You started this conversation with an accusation and a threat.

Scott: You made a threat to me. You said you don’t want to go to war with me.

John: I didn’t threaten you.

Scott: I know how you play.

John: I told you were making a mistake if you want to go to war with me because I have nothing to lose here. This is not a commercial endeavor.

Scott: Then just stop doing it.

John: Stop doing what? You don’t even know what I’m doing. You have no idea what you are talking about. You have not asked me one legitimate question. You’re a lawyer?

Scott: Stop doing it. Stop using my fucking father…. Its not your fucking last name!

Did you interview Jerry Sandusky in prison for three and a half hours on camera?

John: What you just said is not accurate.

Scott: You did it in a fucking prison in Pennsylvania, how the fuck did I find out? How the fuck didn’t I find out? Are you out of your fucking mind? Do you know how fucking small the town you did this is in? Jesus Christ.

John: You have no idea what you are talking about.

Scott: Just tell me what you did.

John: Why would I tell you anything at this point? You have just declared yourself as my enemy. You’re making threats against me.

Scott: I am not making threats against you.

John: Yes, you are.

Scott: You are welcome to do what you want, but if you air a minute of an interview with Jerry either defending himself or trying to discredit Mike McQueary on a website that has my last name on it.. I would have to distance myself from it.

John: That’s fine Scott. You do what you need to do. I couldn’t care less at this point.

Scott: I will have my mom call Franco and Todd and everybody else..

John: That’s fine. How do you think that is going to hurt me?

Scott: Its hurting me!! Do you think anybody believes a word Jerry has to fucking say?

John: You don’t even know what the purpose of the interview was or what I asked him,

Scott: Did you get the impression that Jerry did not like my father?

John: That’s true.

Scott: Who gives a shit? I can’t have my name giving Jerry a voice.

Later… after John asks Scott why his kisses up to Jay Bilas, Sara Ganim and Joe Posnanski on Twitter despite the fact that all three have condemned his father publicly and Scott screams about some lunatics on twitter attacking Ganim for something he confirmed (which John knew nothing about)….

Scott: Jay Bilas has 1.8 million twitter followers. How many do you have?! If you do this I will make sure that the Penn State family knows that we have nothing to do with you and I will make sure Franco knows that you made an extremely inappropriate, racist joke about OJ having a white wife. A situation Franco is familiar with.

John: (laughter) When did I do that Scott? You’re going to lie about me?

Scott: You got fired for it.

John: You have no idea what you are talking about!! That’s not true! That’s not even close. You’re dad said he just wanted the truth here, you clearly don’t give a damn about the truth in the case and for you to make that accusation….

Scott: You just insulted my fucking family you asshole!

John then explains what really happened with OJ joke on TV in 1995 which had absolutely nothing at all to do with him having a white wife or race, but rather simply his lack of innocence in the murder case.

John: Your not going to apologize for lying about me there?

Scott: Fuck you. I didn’t lie.

Scott then falsely claims that he got the info from the 23 page Atlantic magazine article (Scott calls it a “hand job”) on me, which mentions nothing of the sort because nothing like that happened.

John: There is no reference to my having gotten fired for making a joke about OJ having a white wife in the Atlantic article. Stop lying!

Scott then lies about other situations in John’s career to imply that he is a racist.

John: You have no idea what you’re talking about!!

After screaming at each other for a while and John tells him he has more disdain for him than almost anyone else in this story ..

Scott: We’ll see who the Penn State army lines up behind tomorrow after Sue Paterno publicly disavows you. We’ll see how many people listen to you.

John: If that makes you happy, Scott go for it! That makes you feel like you have some sort of power…

Scott; Shut the fuck up!! I have let you peacefully exist with us.

John: Thank God. Thanks so much Scott. I appreciate that. You’ve been very helpful.

Scott: Do you know who you remind me of? Jesse Jackson.

John: Oh God. That’s exactly right Scott.

Scott: He wasn’t there when Martin Luther King died but he made sure that he got his blood all over his shirt.

John: Scott, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Scott: You are one of the people I have thought from the beginning is out for himself.

John: (laughter) You have no idea.

Scott: You have done nothing to help me. You are not a Penn Stater, you didn’t play here, you are not a member of this family. You have no right to claim ownership of this. I will be forced to distance myself from any attempt to impugn Mike McQueary’s reputation with the word of a convicted pedophile.

John: Mike didn’t see an assault Scott and you have put yourself in a situation where your dad can never be exonerated…

Scott: We’ve never said he saw an assault!

John: Mike did!

Scott: You fucking idiot, no one is listening to Jerry!

John: Mike said he saw an assault and that is why your dad’s name is Mudd.

Scott: Even though you may be right about the kid. Even though that might be Victim 2, having Jerry say it is not going to change a single fucking mind. That’s my problem with it John.

John and Scott then argue over the nature of the evidence regarding Victim 2 with John trying to explain there is more corroborating evidence than he is apparently aware of. Scott then asks if John is going to “air video” of Sandusky and John explains that Scott doesn’t even know enough to have a conversation because he hasn’t asked him any actual questions. Scott then starts asking some questions about the interview based on false assumptions and that leads to another argument. John asks why Scott started the conversation with false accusations and threats. Scott says that all he did was send John an email saying that if John airs it he has to distance himself from it.

Scott then tells John to go cover the Steubenville case which no one “gives a shit about” because it doesn’t have the Paterno name connected to (“does anyone fucking care?”) and seems to be completely oblivious that John’s involvement there is because he has known the coach personally for over 20 years and wrote a book about him.

Scott: No one gives a fuck what you are doing in Steubenville. There is no life in that. If there was you would be covering it.

John: You have no idea what you are talking about. Are you really that dumb? I really can’t believe you are that dumb. You have so misinterpreted me and my motivations that it is stunning.

Scott: Go do that case. Leave my family alone. Walk away from Paterno.

John: I understand why you don’t want the full truth to come out.

Scott: Why wouldn’t I want the full truth to come out?

John: For somebody who refers to their father as their client, and their client got the death penalty, what kind of a lawyer does that make you if their father isn’t at least a little bit guilty?

Scott: Excuse me? You think my father is guilty?

John: No! I didn’t say that!

Scott: It’s fucking idiots like you that make it tougher for people to listen to us because they can discredit us as one of these lunatics who are supporting my father blindly.

John: Jerry didn’t assault that boy that night.

Scott: Do you realize that no one gives a shit if he didn’t assault him that time?

John: That’s the only time that matters!!

Scott: Are you a fucking idiot?! That’s what matters when convicting Jerry but when you’re convicting these guys for not doing enough it matters what Mike said he saw, it doesn’t matter what actually happened.

John: So there is no connection between what he said he saw and what he said he saw? You don’t think there is a connection between those two things? Seriously Scott?

Scott: You can’t prove what happened!

John: I can prove what didn’t happen.

Scott: No you can’t prove that.

John: You have accepted a narrative that dooms your father for all time. You had your big report and it got dismissed because there were no new facts…

Scott: Oh your are right, that was my last move (sarcastic). We don’t have another move on the board. We have haven’t thought this through. We need you to fucking bail us out!

I got more in one day with Dick Thornburgh than you have gotten in a year and a half! Go away! You want to make this a public fight I will carry it through. Give me seven weeks and if I haven’t changed your mind (about how I can win this) then do whatever you fucking want and we’ll go to war.

John: Why would I do anything you tell me to? You have made it clear that I am the enemy.

Scott: You make yourself the enemy with airing Jerry with my name on it. Paterno is my name.

John: You haven’t even asked me how this will be disseminated…

Scott: I don’t care. I don’t want it out there.

John: If you had given me any reason to believe or trust you or your direction I would consider doing what you want.

Scott: Its my father. Its my kids who will have this last name. When this is over you walk away without anything but a fucking pain in the ass.

Scott then tells story of being in bar and giving bartender a credit card and the bartending telling him that Paterno must be a bad last name to live with.

Scott: You are so arrogant. You sound like fucking Obama telling me what’s important to me! Fuck you John and fuck the horse you came in on!

Scott then hangs up the phone.