From 1995 until 2011, Jay Paterno was an assistant football coach at Penn State, working under his dad Joe. Jay’s time at Penn State ended after the university board of trustees fired Joe for keeping an ultimately convicted child sex abuser, Jerry Sandusky, on his staff for decades. He’s largely kept busy in recent years by defending his dad’s honor in public, arguing that Joe Paterno was treated unfairly in the ensuing scandal.
But Jay Paterno has also found post-football work. In May 2017, he was elected to a seat on Penn State’s board of trustees. And now he seems to have found some freelance employment with a “news” website funded by the government of Saudi Arabia.
“My visit to Saudi Arabia changed all my perceptions” is the headline of Jay Paterno’s new op-ed in the Arab News, a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which is closely connected to the Saudi royal family.
That’s a mouthful, but it’s a group that seeks to boost the country’s image. Its chairman is Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al Saud, Saudia Arabia’s minister of culture. Saudi Arabia sometimes uses sports-related things to sell itself to the world, like WWE shows and golf tournaments.
Now, the government has Jay Paterno writing for it. Here’s one excerpt from Paterno’s column:
While I may have come believing it was a closed country wanting to turn its back on the rest of the world, the opposite was true in everyone we met. From routine interactions with ordinary people to bigger events, I found in the Saudi people a fierce pride of place in their home country.
Rather than being a nation closing its collective mind, I met many young people sent by their government to be educated in the West. Most shared a common desire not to remain in the West, but to use what they had learned to help build the Saudi future from within.
Yes, Paterno acknowledges of the United States and Saudi Arabia, “obviously there are societal differences,” but “what I found is that the people of both nations are more alike than we think.”
Paterno’s column comes with a big block quote that reads “The crown prince’s visit to a number of countries played a great role in highlighting the potential and investment opportunities in the Kingdom.”
The column did not mention anything else about the Saudi crown prince.
The outlet introduces Paterno as a “writer and consultant on politics, leadership, crisis communications and public relations” and also says:
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view
Thank you to Jay for sharing what I guess are sincerely held views.