Ex-Penn State players upset over DeAndre Levy's comments about Joe Paterno

ByMichael Rothstein ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- A group of former Penn State Nittany Lions players released a statement Tuesday condemning Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy's comments that breaking Joe Paterno's leg in 2006 was his proudest moment in college.

"We find the recent statement by DeAndre Levy about Coach Paterno appalling, along with the silence that has accompanied it," a statement from former Penn State players said in the Detroit Free Press. "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."

The letter, according to the Free Press, was signed by Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and 20 other former Nittany Lions players.

In an interview with Men's Journal last week, Levy called Paterno a "dirtbag" for his alleged role in the cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.Levy was involved in a play that broke Paterno's leg during a 2006 game when Wisconsin played the Nittany Lions.

"That dirtbag, man," Levy told Men's Journal. "We've gotta stop prioritizing sports over humanity. Just because somebody can throw a football or coach football, they're excluded from their wicked acts."

Levy has been outspoken against domestic violence and sexual abuse, recently raising more than $30,000 to test neglected rape kits and hire investigators to try and find suspects based on the found evidence in Detroit.

Levy has taken on a role of being a male voice fighting sexual assault -- something that has mattered to him as he has taken on more of a social activist role.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who coached at Penn State under Paterno, has long considered the old Penn State coach a mentor and last week said his players can think what they want.

"Really, I think I've gone on record many times about how I feel about Joe," Caldwell said. "And in regard to our players making their statement about how they feel, I'd be hypocritical to tell you anything other than the fact that they can express their opinion.

"We don't all necessarily agree with it."