The family of Joe Paterno issued a statement Saturday, hours before the premiere of HBO’s Paterno — a film starring Al Pacino that focuses on the late Penn State football coach’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Here’s the statement from the Paterno family that Scott Paterno, Joe’s son, released Saturday.
Paterno family responds to HBO movie
The HBO movie regarding Joe Paterno is a fictionalized portrayal of the tragic events surrounding Jerry Sandusky’s crimes. Numerous scenes, events and dialogue bear no resemblance to what actually transpired. Everyone truly concerned about the scourge of child sexual abuse would be well served to read the report by former FBI agent Jim Clemente. As events of the last few years have confirmed, predators are present throughout our society. It is our hope and prayer that society as a whole comes to a better understanding of who these criminals are and how they work so successfully to avoid detection.
Scott Paterno sent this statement today regarding the premiere of 'Paterno' on HBO. pic.twitter.com/dxXIQ1L8NX
— Mark Wogenrich (@MarkWogenrich) April 7, 2018
Various members of Paterno’s family, including his wife Sue, are portrayed in the movie.
The HBO movie debuted at 8 p.m. ET Saturday. The film centers on a two-week span in November 2011 when the Sandusky scandal broke, Paterno was fired by Penn State and he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Early reviews of the movie are already out.
Barry Levinson, who directed the HBO movie, was asked on Bill Simmons’ podcast last month how he expected the Penn State community to react to the film.
“I don’t know [what the reaction] will be. I think we try to present a pretty good look into it all. But look, there are people who have certain opinions and you realize that you’re never going to change someone’s opinion. You can say whatever you want and they’ll go, ‘Yeah, but.’ So there’s an emotional connection,” Levinson said. “There was a riot, turning over trucks and things, setting things on fire when the students were angry that Joe Pa was fired. And that was an emotional reaction. That wasn’t an intellectual reaction. It wasn’t thought through.
“He was a family member, he was a father. It was all anyone knew. He was the father, the king of Happy Valley. And all of a sudden he was dethroned, so there was an emotional reaction. So how do they respond to [the movie] if their emotions are going to play as opposed to some of the other ways to look at it in the cool light of the day? I don’t know.”