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Theo Fleury rips CFL quarterback for defending Paterno

Nov 10, 2011, 3:56 PM EDT

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris took to Twitter yesterday and seemed to defend former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno for his role in the school’s sex abuse scandal.

Burris’s tweet was quickly challenged by Theoren Fleury, the former NHL star who claimed in his book, Playing With Fire, that he was sexually abuse by his junior coach, Graham James.


Fleury later wrote a post on his blog about his online confrontation with Burris:


When asked by reporters about his back-and-forth with Fleury, Burris said he was only trying to get people talking and “bring light to the situation.”

You can decide for yourself if Burris was just playing devil’s advocate or if he said something he regretted and was forced to backtrack. It doesn’t really matter. This isn’t about Burris.

For that matter, nor is it about Joe Paterno.

Fleury’s life is testament to the damage sexual abuse causes. If we’re going to listen to anyone, it should be him.

  1. rhinosinsider - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    The one problem with Fleury’s rant is that Paterno never witnessed the abuse.

    His failing was not to push a witness who came to him to immediately call the police.

    • stakex - Nov 10, 2011 at 8:58 PM


      Sure, he never witnessed it himself… but the second he was informed about it, he should have went to the police right away. The fact that actual witness did not go to the police himself is irrelevant to this debate.

      • thisisamericadontlikeitgetout - Nov 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

        Everyone is talking so much about what Paterno didn’t do. Let’s see who witnessed the assault in the shower? Oh yea that piece of shit Mike McQueary. If this falls on anyone its McQueary. For this guy to still have his job after not doing anything is preposterous. He should have been the one to go to the police in the first place. Now I’m not saying that justifies Paterno either. Paterno should have reported this to the police, but for the University to fire Paterno and let that scum McQueary keep is job is a joke.

        So when you people are posting about how Paterno never witnessed it and he should be blamed for not reporting it, do not forget that McQueary is just as to blame if not more to blame for this not being reported than Paterno.

      • stakex - Nov 11, 2011 at 1:51 AM

        No doubt about it thisisamericadontlikeitgetout. McQueary is a low life for not stopping the assult the second he saw it and getting that kid the hell out of there.

        My point was simply that this article was not about McQueary but rather about Paterno.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    In hindsight Paterno could and probably should have done more by going to the police. However, as has been acknowledged, an allegation was relayed to him lacking all the graphic details that have since come out. I think it’s unfair the amount of criticism Paterno has received based on his role in this case. The assistant coach who actually witnessed the abuse was a 28 year old man. How do you see something like that and not go the police immediately? He and the janitor who actually saw this going on deserve way more blame in this case than JoePa but because they don’t have the same stature that obviously won’t happen

    • dbick - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      Even if you accept that he wasn’t informed of all the graphic details and he was only told “vague descriptions” of “fondling and horseplay” in a shower between a grown ass man and a 10 year old kid, that shit is more than enough for him to go above and beyond “protocol”. What the hell is a 10 year old doing in a shower with a random adult and what the hell is horseplay in a shower between the two? The Grad Assistant is also not off the hook either, as he knew what happened directly and did nothing for the last decade when he knew it was being swept under the rug.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        I’m not saying he didn’t have a moral responsibility here, I’m just saying he is a minor playing in this case despite how much attention has been focused on him. The fact that the people who actually witnessed the abuse did nothing is far more appalling than the fact Patterno reported it and didn’t follow up or call the police. Bottom line is it’s a disgusting series of events that doesn’t make anyone involved look good. I’m by no means trying to defend those involved, I’m just saying Patterno is getting a disproportionate amount of attention so I understand where his defenders are coming from

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:05 PM

        minor player in the case*

      • paperlions - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:46 PM

        …and this was NOT the first time Paterno was told that Sandusky was raping children…the first time was in 1998, right before Sandusky mysteriously went from “the next PSU football coach” to “retired”.

        Paterno already knew Sandusky was a pedophile, he didn’t report it at any point because he didn’t want it to affect his own career or program.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

      It’s impossible to defend not going to the police. There is no protocol, only a moral duty to act in the defense of that child. Paterno was cavalier to the end. He was worried about his own reputation and nothing. Unforgivable.

  3. charlutes - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Theo right, Henry very, very, disgracefully wrong. So Burress basically thinks if he sees one of his friends sodomizing a 10 year old he should protect him in some way. Scumbag. Just for thinking it, scumbag.

  4. charlutes - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    The bottom line is this got covered up because some rich scumbags would rather protect their reputation than stop child rape. Its shocking and frankly it speaks to the level of corruption among the people and the organization involved. I’m wholly disgusted.

  5. babar61 - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Theo is right. This whole PSU scandal is so disturbing on so many levels. I can’t believe some of the comments I have read (not any of you or this site) defending Joe Paterno and/or McQueary. They allowed rape of young boys to take place. There is no excuse and in my opinion they are almost as bad as Sandusky. It is absolutely appalling. I can’t figure out why McQueary has not been fired.

  6. stakex - Nov 10, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    It makes me sick how screwed up these Penn State coaches were. It makes me even more sick that scumbags like Burris are actually defending Paterno. It was like a Mafia family over there, and they are all guilt as you can be.

    I don’t know about you, but if I was told about my friend RAPING A TEN YEAR OLD KID from a credible source, I’m certainly not going to sit him down and talk about what happened. I’m going to go to the police. My loyalty is to my morality above anything else (Yes Christians, us atheist are moral as well), and it is immoral to know about a kid being raped and not do a damn thing about it. This isn’t some victomless crime were talking about, or something like finding out your best friend is a bank robber. The guy was raping kids in the god damn showers of the school. How in the hell could you know about that and not say something to the police? Not only should they all have been fired, but EVERYONE who knew about this and covered it up should be arrested.

    I don’t care for Fleury as a player, but as a person I give him 100% props for this. He is as right as right can be, and Burris should be ashamed of himself.

  7. charliereno - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    Who in the fuck is Henry Burris? Shut your mouth and have a seat, Hank.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM

      “Get your shine box” is the phrase you’re looking for charliereno.

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