Michael Robinson knew the questions were coming. And when the subject finally turned to Penn State, the Seahawks fullback was left trying to fight off tears.
“It’s a sad day to be a Penn Stater,” Robinson said.
Robinson spoke in front of his locker before the Seahawks practiced Wednesday, hours before Penn State trustees fired football coach Joe Paterno and university president Graham Spanier amid the growing furor over how the school handled sex abuse allegations against an assistant coach.
Robinson spoke only briefly and began by offering thoughts for the families involved. He almost immediately started to choke up and speak emotionally about what’s happening at his alma mater.
Later, Robinson said the actions of others shouldn’t ruin Paterno’s legacy.
“It’s just sad how some sick people can tarnish a great man like that,” Robinson said.
Paterno, who preached success with honor for half a century but whose legend was shattered, said earlier Wednesday he would retire at the end of this season.
Paterno said he was “absolutely devastated” by the case, in which his onetime heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys in 15 years, including at the Penn State football complex.
Robinson played for Penn State between 2002-05 in a variety of positions on offense and was the 2005 Big Ten offensive player of the year at quarterback.
“I want to express my deep sorrow for the children that are involved,” Robinson said. “I have three kids myself and I can’t imagine what those families are going through today and have went through in the past.”