With the anticipation leading up to Saturday night's release of HBO's 'Paterrno' movie, a look at the late Penn State football coach's role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal and its fallout, his family released a statement.
"The HBO movie regarding Joe Paterno is a fictionalized portrayal of the tragic events surrounding Jerry Sandusky's crimes," read the statement sent by Scott Paterno on behalf of the family. "Numerous scenes, events and dialogue bear no resemblance to what actually transcribed."
The movie, directed by Barry Levinson, is set to premiere at 8 p.m. Saturday on HBO. It will air again at 7:10 p.m. Sunday and 11 p.m. Monday.
In a March interview on "The Bill Simmons Podcast," Levinson seemingly equated the anticipated reaction to the movie in Happy Valley to the reaction students had to the longtime coach's November 2011 firing, when they rioted in Beaver Canyon.
“There was a riot, turning over trucks and settings things on fire when the students were angry that JoePa was fired. That was an emotional reaction. It wasn’t an intellectual one or thought through," he said on the podcast, according to Onward State. "How will they respond to (the film) if their emotions are going to play as opposed to some of the other ways to look at it in the cool light of day?”
Despite Levinson's words, State College police said Saturday they do not expect any disturbances.
The Paternos' statement went on to encourage "everyone truly concerned about the scourge of child sexual abuse" to read the report the family had commissioned by the FBI's Jim Clemente. That report was issued as a response to Louis Freeh's report, which led to sanctions against the football program — including the elimination of 111 of Paterno's wins, which were later restored.
"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," the statement ended.