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Nearly 300 Lettermen Write ‘Paterno’ Would Be Libelous If JoePa Were Still Alive

Nearly 300 former Penn State football players signed a statement Monday in opposition to HBO’s “Paterno,” which premiered Saturday night, and in support of their former head coach’s “character, integrity, and moral compass.”

The statement criticized producer of Barry Levinson for not consulting with the Paterno family or former players while making the film and accused him of “using ‘fiction’ as his shield” and taking “shameless liberties about the Sandusky scandal and Joe’s knowledge of it.”

The lettermen’s response went on to assert that such inaccuracies would “libelous if Joe were alive today” and call the film “wreckless.”

Joe Paterno’s former players also came to his defense and affirmed what he has meant to them as “a positive force in [their] lives, molding [them] not only to win games, but to win in life.”

Among the nearly 300 players to sign the statement were Franco Harris, Ki-Jana  Carter, and Tim Shaw. The signees go all the way back to Earl Simon, who played under Rip Engle and graduated in 1953, more than a decade before Paterno took over as head coach.

Below is the full statement:

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. 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.

The full list of lettermen who signed the letter:

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,  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,  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,  Mike  Meade  ’82, Dr. Allen Meyer,    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

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected] All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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