Corbett: Second Thoughts on Joe Paterno Firing

"They probably shouldn't have fired him. They probably should have suspended him."

corbett paterno

Photos | AP

Now he tells us.

Two days after he lost his bid for re-election — in part over lingering resentment about how he handled the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State — Gov. Tom Corbett has given an interview to the Inky in which he suggests that Penn State coach Joe Paterno “probably” shouldn’t have been fired when the scandal erupted.

In his most expansive comments since the child-sex-abuse scandal erupted at Pennsylvania State University three years ago, the governor said that Paterno “technically complied with the law” in dealing with pedophile Jerry Sandusky and that university trustees should have let the iconic coach end his career when the season did.

“They probably shouldn’t have fired him. They probably should have suspended him,” Corbett said in an exclusive interview at his residence. “He probably should have been given the last three games, not on the sideline.”


ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. reported in June 2013 that Corbett was a central character in the firing of Paterno. Not only did Corbett serve as the state attorney general when police investigated Sandusky in the late 1990s, but he was also one of the main voices in the firing of the longtime coach.

“Something not very good happened,” Corbett told reporters on Nov. 9, 2012. “We have to …  take the bull by the horns and fix it. Quickly.”

One of Penn State’s current members on the board of trustees, Anthony Lubrano, wasn’t buying Corbett’s explanation to the Inquirer.

“It seems rather disingenuous to make that statement, given he made the charge to fire Paterno,” Lubrano told “Frankly, it shows what a poor politician he is. He waited until after the election to admit he made a mistake.”

A spokesman for Penn State declined comment on Corbett’s remarks, the Inquirer reported.