Some former Penn State football players were offended by a recent statement made by ex-Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy, who plays in the NFL for the Detroit Lions.
Levy said in a Men’s Journal article that his proudest moment in college football was breaking Joe Paterno’s leg. The play unfolded in 2006 when Anthony Morelli passed to Andrew Quarless near the sideline. Paterno’s leg was broken when Levy, who called the coach a dirtbag, tackled Quarless at the sideline and out of bounds.
“We find the recent statement by DeAndre Levy about Coach Paterno appalling, along with the silence that has accompanied it,” the 21 players said in a statement. “To joyfully and proudly take credit for hurting a defenseless human being is sad, in and of itself. But, to couple this gleeful statement with a willful ignorance of the facts and circumstances surrounding our coach speaks to a complete lack of character and moral integrity on the part of Mr. Levy. Mr. Levy's comments reflect poorly on him, his university, the Detroit Lions and the NFL, and are certainly deserving of vocal condemnation.”
Levy recently expanded on his comments about Paterno in a column for the Detroit Free Press.
“Imagine your son, nephew, cousin or young male person in your life goes away to football camp or has a trusted relationship with a coach, but their vulnerability is taken advantage of and their trust violated in an act of sexual assault,” he said in the column. “Years later, a story breaks and sheds light on a decades-long pattern of sexual abuse. And then it becomes known that one of the most powerful figures in that football program knew of it at various points but failed to act diligently.”
That is how Levy understands the case of Penn State, Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.
“What if it was your son?,” Levy said. “Would many of us be so quick and steadfast in defending Paterno’s legacy? What if it was your nephew? Would we be fighting to have his statue resurrected?”
Paterno was not charged with any crimes related to the Sandusky Scandal. Louis Freeh, former FBI director and Penn State’s independent investigator for the case, said Paterno was culpable.