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Why did Jerry Sandusky agree to a nationally televised interview with Bob Costas?

And now, one more question for Jerry Sandusky.

When, exactly, did this become a good idea?

Oh, and take your time before you answer. We have 16.3 seconds to spare.

Of all the numbskull ideas, of all the lamebrain legal strategies, when did stammering in front of Bob Costas on national television sound like a reasonable plan to anyone? What? Did Joe Amendola (his attorney) really think the grand jury would watch and say, "Oh, Sandusky says it was just towel-snapping. Let's drop all the charges.''

How stupid was this? How creepy? Put it this way: If 98 percent of people believed that Sandusky was guilty of these terrible charges before the interview, this seemed like an effort to remove all doubt.

Sandusky paused, he rambled and he made himself look worse than ever. If there was a question of whether the interview would help Sandusky, the answer was "not a bit.''

In particular, Sandusky's credibility will be questioned because of the amount of time it took when Costas asked him a straightforward, predictable question: "Are you sexually attracted to young boys?''

And Sandusky had the most difficult time answering you could imagine.

He paused. He repeated the question. He stammered. It took him 16.3 seconds before the word "no'' came out of his mouth. It may turn into the biggest gap since Nixon.

(I asked a half-dozen people I know that question Tuesday. It took roughly 0.8 seconds to get a no.)

You would assume Sandusky was aware the question would be asked. You would assume his attorney would prepare him for it. This was Sandusky's chance to be outraged, to shout, to get angry, to demand a polygraph, to scream to the mountaintops in protest that someone would even suggest such a terrible thing. And he did not.

I know, I know. This wasn't a trial, and I'm not a lawyer, and the law says, at this point, Sandusky is presumed innocent. But I can't imagine what an attorney would think would be the advantage for a client accused of pedophilia to answer the charges on the air.

Yes, Sandusky got to say he was innocent. That wasn't much of a victory, however, after he admitted he showered with young boys and touched their legs, even though he said it was without sexual intent. He had no answer as to why two witnesses said they saw him having sex with young boys.

At one point, even Costas said, "It seems, that if all of these accusations are false, you are the unluckiest and most persecuted man that any of us ever heard about.''

Was it good for Sandusky to be on the air?

It depends: Are you more likely to believe him today? Or less?

As a spectator, as an onlooker who cannot turn his head from these horrific charges, I found it to be a captivating interview. (Unlike the embarrassing CBS "interview'' with Mike McQueary on Tuesday night). It was lousy legal advice, but it was fascinating Court TV. And it did give us this.

According to Sandusky, Joe Paterno has never said a word about it to him.

This is amazing, isn't it? Paterno never suggested counseling, never suggested help, never expressed disapproval?

Which brings us to this:

Wouldn't you love for Costas to spend a little quality time with Paterno? Just two guys, a camera and a crew?

Until the trial, at least, most of us agree when it comes to Sandusky. But we can't stop talking about Paterno, about what he knew and when, about legal obligations and moral ones. No matter what you think of Paterno, shouldn't he answer some questions of his own?

For instance, if the Penn State campus police investigated an assistant football coach in 1998, are we to believe that Paterno knew nothing about it?

For instance, if a graduate assistant suggests that Paterno's right-hand man was involved in something going on in the showers, are we to believe that Paterno only heard the part about "horseplay'' and didn't ask any questions? After all, coaching is a profession about the details. Wouldn't he ask McQueary, "Now tell me exactly what you saw"?

For instance, what were his final words to McQueary that day? Did he tell him not to tell anyone else? Did he tell him the Penn State administration would take care of it?

For instance, once Paterno told his superiors what McQueary had told him, why didn't he follow up? Did he ever ask what his superiors did? Did he ever see Sandusky on campus with kids? And what did he think then?

For instance, if Paterno really is a coach who went above and beyond when it came to integrity, why didn't he do more this time?

Answers. We all want answers, and we don't want to wait 16.3 seconds for them.

We want to know if McQueary really did stop Sandusky, as he has texted to his former teammates. We want to know about the victims that Amendola says will testify that the shower scene never happened. We want to know what the new victims have to say.

Also, we want to know the answer to this:

Doesn't Sandusky need a better lawyer?

Why did Jerry Sandusky agree to a nationally televised interview with Bob Costas? 11/15/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:13am]
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