Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is likely to lose his job amid the sex abuse scandal surrounding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky that's rocked the university, according to a former Penn State football star.
Editor's note: Paterno on Wednesday announced he is retiring at season's end.
O.J. McDuffie, an All-American wide receiver who went on to a successful career in the National Football League after playing for Paterno while Sandusky was still with the team, said on "The Early Show" the coach will likely be forced out by the university.
McDuffie said, "It is a terrible situation, and it's going to be tough for Coach to retain his job. I mean, it's just very ugly and, you know, you look at all of the wins that Joe has, it means nothing compared to what is going on at the university right now. And, you know, Joe, legally, obviously, did the right thing, but morally, I don't know. I think if Joe had a chance to do it all over again, he would do things a little differently."
McDuffie said, "... I think going forward now, I think (the school is) trying to do the right thing and getting Joe prepared to depart the university. ... I think they will try to get him out a number of different ways now. I think this is the final straw. I think the fact is, this happened on Joe's watch, it's going to, you know, tarnish what he has already built, and is probably going to be the end of his career at Penn State, in my opinion."
The school's board of trustees will meet Friday to discuss potential options. In a statement, the board said it was outraged by scandal: "Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these terrible events, especially the tragedies involving children and their families. ... We want to assure all of you that the board will take swift, decisive action," the statement said.
McDuffie said others who were potentially involved would also have handled the situation differently if they could go back, but said the focus should be on Sandusky, the man accused in the child sex abuse cases. McDuffie said, "Let's keep it real: The real situation is what Jerry has done. Jerry's the guy who put a lot of these guys, and especially these poor innocent little boys, you know, as victims, he has put everybody in (this) situation."
McDuffie added that he loves Paterno "to death." "He's a great man," he said. "(Paterno) has molded a lot of young men like myself into being, not only into football players but being the best fathers and family members we can be. Joe is a great guy. Like I said earlier, I feel like if he could do it over again, he would go to authorities. I think he might have fumbled this time. And it's just bad that nobody, absolutely nobody went to the authorities in a timely manner."
As for the school, the Penn State alum said the establishment handled the situation terribly.
"When there are allegations in '98 and something else happened in 2002 ...the university could have avoided other young men, you know, being preyed on by this guy," McDuffie said.
The school has a long road ahead, McDuffie said.
He said, "You know what? I talked about it a lot with my friends and, you know, as a former player, I'd rather we have NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) violations, rules violations, tattoos, and hanging out with a booster than something like this. This is absolutely appalling what has happened at our university, and it's going take a long time for us to come back from this. I know Joe has built fine young men, and I'm very proud of the fact I went to Penn State. And I know Joe is just a great man. I hope he is able to recover from this and hopefully the university does, but the most important thing, obviously, are the young boys affected in this situation."