HBO’s ‘Paterno’ stirs up Penn State controversy

April 12, 2018 GMT

“Paterno” premiered on HBO Saturday night and viewers took to Twitter to discuss the movie itself, but most to rehash the controversy and slamming the coach, football program and school.

The made-for-TV film about late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and his downfall has been swirled in controversy, just as Paterno’s real-life was. The question of how much he, and the school, knew about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and his abuse of boys will never be fully known. People will still ask if Paterno did enough to stop Sandusky.

The film is directed by Barry Levinson and stars Al Pacino in the title role. It follows a two-week slice of Paterno’s life in November 2011, where he goes from being the beloved winningest college football coach to being hastily fired from the program, and also discovering he has lung cancer.

Much of the reaction on Twitter slammed real-life Paterno and the school.

The Paterno family did not approve of the movie and Joe’s son Scott Paterno posted on Twitter that he would not be watching the film. Most of the replies to him were supportive.

The Paterno family released a statement, saying the movie “bear no resemblance to what actually transpired.” The full statement:

“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, linked below. 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.”

HBO is airing the movie again Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Here’s the trailer: