Penn State lettermen's group issues statement highly critical of HBO's 'Paterno' movie

  • The HBO "Paterno" movie made its debut on Saturday night.
  • The movie chronicles a two-week stretch during the fall of 2011.
  • Nearly 300 Penn State lettermen have issued a statement highly critical of the movie.

Nearly 300 Penn State football lettermen have issued a statement that is highly critical of the new HBO movie, "Paterno."

Lettermen Brian Masella and Christian Marrone released the statement Monday on behalf of the group.

Among the players supporting the statement were Red Lion High School graduate Scott Fitzkee and Northern York High School graduate Rob Smith.

Some of the more prominent players who signed the statement are: Franco Harris, Ki-Jana Carter, Bruce Clark, Tim Shaw, Rashard Casey and Mike Guman. Former player and assistant coach Fran Ganter signed, as did former linebacker Brandon Short, who is a candidate for Penn State’s Board of Trustees.

The Paterno family released a statement Saturday prior the movie’s premiere, calling it a “fictionalized portrayal of the tragic events surrounding Jerry Sandusky’s crimes.”

In this image released by HBO, Kathy Baker, left, and Al Pacino portray Sue and Joe Paterno in a scene from "Paterno," a film about the late Penn State football coach.  (Atsushi Nishijima/HBO via AP)

The movie, directed by Barry Levinson, made its debut Saturday and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal.

The movie chronicles a two-week stretch during the fall of 2011, starting with Penn State beating Illinois for the record 409th victory of Paterno’s career through the arrest of Sandusky, a former longtime PSU assistant coach, to the first game played by Penn State after Paterno was fired.

The charges against Sandusky, who is serving a 30- to 60-year prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys, led to questions about what Paterno knew about Sandusky.

Following is the statement released by the PSU lettermen's group:

"As Penn State lettermen, there was never a question that one day we would see a movie made about Joe Paterno, one that showcased his impact on the game of football, on Penn State University and, on the thousands of men he coached and mentored over his 61-year career.

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2005, file photo, Penn State football coach Joe Paterno acknowledges the crowd during warm-ups before an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in State College, Pa. “Paterno” aims to tell the polarizing story of a legend’s fall, when the most essential question can never be answered. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7 and stars Oscar winner Al Pacino as Joe Paterno, the Penn State coach whose career ended in scandal. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

"Sadly — and wrongly — HBO’s ‘Paterno’ is not that movie. It has been described by producer Barry Levinson as a work of fiction, which is likely the only truth in the entire project.

"Incredibly, in making the movie, Levinson and his team never consulted a single person who was close to, worked with, or was coached by Joe Paterno. Not even family members or us, who undoubtedly knew him best of all.

"As a result, this uninformed depiction of Joe fails in every manner about the man we knew and loved. Deviously using ‘fiction’ as his shield, Levinson takes shameless liberties about the Sandusky scandal and Joe’s knowledge of it that would certainly be proven libelous if Joe were alive today.

"As a coach, educator and philanthropist, Joe Paterno was a positive force in our lives, molding us not only to win games, but to win in life. His character, integrity, and moral compass will live on in us long after the ill-gotten ratings of this reckless attempt at entertainment fades away."

In this image released by HBO, Al Pacino portrays Joe Paterno in a scene from "Paterno," a film about the late Penn State football coach. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7.  (Atsushi Nishijima/HBO via AP)

Following is a list of PSU lettermen who signed the statement:

Ronald Adams  '65,  Frank  Ahrenhold  '72, Tyler  Ahrenhold  '11, Ray  Alberigi  '57, Russell  Albert  '70, Dave  Alexander  '61, Jesse  Alfreno  '10, Kurt  Allerman  '77, Dick  Anderson,  Player/Coach,  '63, John  Andress  '77, Kenny  Andrews  '73,  Mike  Archie  '96, Mark  Arcidiacono  '13, Michael  Arnold  '83, Drew  Astorino  '11,  Ferris  Atty  '71.

Bruce  Bannon  '73, Michael  Barninger  '95, Jack  Baronas  '75, Bob  Bassett  '79, Bob  Belus  '60, Lou  Benfatti  '93, Jeff  Bergstrom  '82, Tom  Bill  '90, Dan  Biondi  '83, Jason  Bisson  '00, David  Bland  '74, Jeff H.  Bleamer  '75, Mike  Blosser  '02, Mark  Bonson  '88, Scott  Bouslough  '84, John  Bove, Coach,-'79+,  Kirk  Bowman  '84,  Dr. Tom  Bradley  '75,  Tim  Bronish  '86, John Bronson '04, Booker Brooks, Coach, 72+, Richard M Brown  '73, Brian Brozeski '01, Dave Brzenchek  '90, Chuck Burkhart ’70, Jeff Butya '81.

Rick Campbell '82, Bob Campbell 70, Gino Capone '03, Rich Caravella '76, Don  Carlino Staff  '85,  Joseph   Carlozo  '74,  Glenn  Carson  '13,  Ki-Jana  Carter  '95,  Rashard  Casey  '01, Robert  Ceh  '93,  Alex  Chiara  '64,  Peter  Cimino  '60,  Craig  Cirbus, Coach '84-'95,  Bruce  Clark  '80, Dave Clark '87,  Anthony  Cleary  '06, Brennan  Coakley  '09,  Ron  Coder  '76,  F. Len  Consalvo  '72, Brett  Conway  '97, Chuck  Correal  '78,  Tom  Couch  '85, Troy  Cromwell  '87, Bill  Crummy  '70's, Wayne  Cunningham  '71, Peter  Curkendall  '80's.

Andrew   Dailey  '10, Rick  D'Amico '82, Scott  Davis '04, Steven Davis  '73, Gary W.  Debes  '74, Steven  Delich  '03, Alan  Delmonaco  '69, Fred R.  Demler  '76, Ken  Deutsch  '74, Chris  Devlin  '75, Joe  Diange  '78, Tom F.  Donchez  '74, Troy  Drayton  '93, Michael  Dunlay  '83, Thomas  Durant  '87.

In this image released by HBO, Al Pacino portrays Joe Paterno in a scene from "Paterno," a film about the late Penn State football coach. The HBO movie directed by Barry Levinson debuts April 7. (Atsushi Nishijima/HBO via AP)

Gary  Eberle  '67, John  Ebersole  '70, Emery  Etter  '12, Ron  Etter  '75, Eric  Etze  '88, Morris  Fansler  '73, Gerry  Farkas  '62, Craig  Fiedler  '89, Scott  Fitzkee  '79, Matt Fornadel  '97, Derek  Fox  '00, Tim  Freeman  '80's, Mike  Fuhrman '83.

Paul  Gabel  '73, Ed  Gabriel  '67, Fran  Ganter  '71, Tony  Gebicki  '65, Doneal  Gersh  '72, Reggie  Givens  '94, Gene Gladys '80, Scott Gob  '89, Greg Golanoski '85, Tony Gordon '78, James Graham '60, Gary Gray ’72, Ryan Grube '94, Mike  Guman  '80.

Nick  Haden '84, Eric  Hamilton '86,  Lance Hamilton '86, Shelly Hammonds '93, Brian  Hand '80, Darien Hardy '08, Franco Harris '72, Bob Harrison ’62, Warren Hartenstine '67, Greg Hay '87, Stu Helgeson '88, Jim  Heller '73, Mike Heller '92, Ron Heller '84, Scott Hettinger '80, Ron Hileman '70's, Joseph Hines  '84, Bob Holuba '71, Tim Horst  '69, Ron Hostetler '77, Joshua Hull '10, Leonard Humphries '92, Neil Hutton '77.

John Ibex  '67, Jason Ingram '97, Justin Ingram '02, Joe Iorio '03, Michael Irwin  '67.

"Paterno" a movie with unanswered questions

Joe Johns '86, Bryant Johnson '03, Pete Johnson '70, Greg Jones '80.

Jim  Kanuch '06, Mark Kareha  '11, Keith  Karpinski  '89,  Ken Kelley '82, Rodney  Kinlaw '07, Tim Kissell '77, Robert Kline '61, Douglas Klopacz '10, Gary Klossner '72, Ed Kmit '66, Bob Knechtel '72, Matt Knizner '82, Bruce Kordic ‘72, Chuck Koval '55, Matt  Kranchick '03, Chad Kroell '99, John Kulka '69, Christian Kuntz  '13, Justin Kurpeikis '00, Rich Kuzy '88.

Michael Lagrossi '90, Ron LaPointe '79, Philip F.  LaPorta  '75, John R. Lewchenko '73,  Chad Linnon '98, Linc Lincoln Lippincott  '69, Jim  Litterelle  '67, Mike Lucian '08, Larry J.  Ludwig  '74, Mike Lukac '03, Kenneth Lupold Jr. '93, Kevin Lyden '78.

Daniel  Maddigan '60,Thomas Mairs '65, Mike Malinoski '93, Massimo Manca '87, Russ Manney '00, Mark J. Markovich '74, Nick Marmo '04, Christian Marrone '97, Kenneth Martz '80, Carmen Masciantonio '80's, Brian Masella '75, J. D. Mason '12, Rich Mauti '77, Michael McBath '68, Brian McCann '82. Jay McCormick '80, OJ McDuffie '92, Tom McGrath '68, Shawn McNamara '83, Dave McNaughton '66, MikeMeade '82, Dr. AllenMeyer, Staff  '69, Rob Mikulski 86, Jeremy Miller '01, Joshua Mitchell '01, Scott Mitchell '74, Ed  Monaghan '89, Anthony  Morelli '08, Dan Morgan '86, Robert Mrosko  '88, Thomas  Mulraney  '60, Grego Murphy '75.

Joe Navin '79, John Nessel '75, Richard Nichols '75, Gregg Norton '92, Thomas Odell '76, Brian O'Neal '93,  Michael A. Orsini M.D.  '74, Chet  Parlavecchio '82, Michael  Pawlikowski '05, Woody Petchel Jr. '76, Gary Petercuskie '78, Andrew Pitz '09, Aoatoa  Polamalu '89, Ryan Primanti '01, Ed Pryts '82.

John R. Quinn  '76, Carlos Quirch '79.

Dave Radakovich '70, Scott Radecic '84, Tom Rafferty '76, Frederic Ragucci '79, Terry  Rakowski '82, Joel Ramich '71, Eric Ravotti '94, Curt Reese '05, J.R. Refice '13, John M. Reihner '75, Bill Rettig '63, Kip Richeal, Staff '83, James E. Rosecrans '75, Patrick  Rosenella '05, Buddy Rowell '55, Dwayne Rush '87, Michael Russo '88.

George  Salvaterra, Staff '87-'12, Dr. Theodore Sam '60, George SanFilippo '71, Matt  Schmitt '02, Rich Schonewolf '90, Steve Schreckengaust '66, Bryan Scott  '02, James  Scott  '55, James Scourtis '91, Bob Scrabis '59, Ted  Sebastianelli '69, Robert Seitz, Staff  '83, Gary Shaffer '69, TIm Shaw '06, Tom  Sherman  '68, Tom L. Shoemaker '73, Brandon Short '99, Eric  Shrive '13, Earl Shumaker '56, Tom Shuman '75, Brian Silverling '86, David Simon '53, John  Skorupan '73, Steve Smear '70, Dave Smith  '94, Neal Smith '70, Rob Smith '86, Sam Sobczak '61, Charles Sowers '55, Pete  Speros '83, William Spoor '92, Brian Stairs, Staff '95, Andrew Stewart '99, Jonathan Stewart '10, Geoffrey Stryker '01, Thomas Stuart '61, John P.  Susko '73, Tim Sweeney  '89.

Dr. Raymond Tesner '75, Brian  Tupa '95.

Michael Urquhart '81.

Tyler Valoczki '02, Kip Vernaglia '80.

Marshall Wagner '71, Dan Wallace '75, Tim Ward '06, Darryl Washington '88, Eric  Wayne  '91, John Williams  '73, Justin Williams '95, Leo Wisniewski ’82, Steve Wisniewski '89, John Wojtowicz '81,  Steve  Wolfe  '65.

Nicholas Yocum '07.

Glenn Zumbach '80.