Since the abuse allegations against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky first surfaced people have been waiting to hear what the accused has to say, and last night America got its first taste when NBC's Bob Costas caught up with him for a telephone interview. The takeaway? Sandusky admits, "in retrospect, I-- you know, I shouldn't have showered with those kids." And it goes on.
A full video of the interview is below (a transcript is here) but let's jump to some of the money quotes, eh? The most important being the fact that while Sandusky acknowledges he had some bad behavior with the kids, he insists on his innocence: “I say that I am innocent of those charges.”
When asked specifically about the 2002 incident in which he was allegedly observed by Mike McQueary in the Penn State showers anally raping a 10-year-old boy, Sandusky says it was all a misunderstanding. "Okay, we—we were showing and—and horsing around," he said. "And he actually turned all the showers on and was—actually sliding—across the—the floor. And we were—as I recall possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay."
Further his lawyer, Joe Amendola, tells Costas that though the boy McQueary saw has not been identified by Pennsylvania, he thinks he has found him and that the now grown man will deny the story ("We expect we're going to have a number of kids. Now how many of those so-called eight kids, we're not sure. But we anticipate we're going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say this never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred. In fact, one of the toughest allegations—the McQueary violations—what McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened. Now grown up... now the person's in his twenties."). Amendola also further emphasized that he believed in Sandusky's innocence or he wouldn't have taken the case.
When Costas pointed out to the former coach that "if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us has ever heard about" Sandusky took a long pause before laughing and agreeing, "I don't know what you want me to say. I don't think that these have been the best days of my life."
But still, the biggest moment of the interview comes at the very end, when Costas asks if Sandusky is a pedophile. Let's just jump to the transcript:
BOB COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?
JERRY SANDUSKY: No.
BOB COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?
JERRY SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?
BOB COSTAS: Yes.
JERRY SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted, you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.
What doesn't come across in writing is just how long it takes for Sandusky to answer the question directly.