Even Bob Costas was surprised by the interview he conducted with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky -- who is charged with molesting eight boys over a 15-year span -- on NBC's "Rock Center" in the middle of November.
After that interview, Jon Stewart went on "The Daily Show" and expressed the shock, disgust and bewilderment that many viewers experienced as they listened to Sandusky maintain his innocence while admitting to showering with the young boys and "horsing around" during those showers.
Not surprisingly, Stewart wanted to discuss that interview when Costas appeared as a guest on his show on Thursday, despite the fact that the sportscaster was nominally there to push a book about NFL history. The first question that Stewart had for Costas was how Sandusky's lawyer allowed his client to be interviewed.
"He actually offered his client," Costas said. "I was set to interview Joseph Amendola, the lawyer. Less than a half hour before we sat down he said, 'What if we can get Sandusky on the phone?'"
Just like he said on "Morning Joe" shortly after the interview in November, Costas told Stewart that he wondered whether that was a smart thing to do from a legal standpoint.
Stewart and Costas then discussed the roundabout manner in which Sandusky answered a question about his sexual attraction to underage boys. Stewart reiterated what he said in a segment last month when he ripped Sandusky for hesitating so much with his answer. Costas noted that it took Sandusky 17 seconds to say no, but he immediately said "no" when Costas asked if he was a pedophile.
Later in the segment, Stewart brought up the Syracuse scandal and said that the easy thing to do is to say both situations are identical even though they're not. Costas discussed the differences between the scandals and how if anything good comes out of these stories, there is going to be an awareness.
"If you see something or if you have reason to suspect something that involves children being taken advantage of, it's not enough, certainly not to turn the other way, and it's certainly not enough to say 'Well I passed it on to my immediate superior.' You have to follow through. Institutions have to have procedures. I think what you're going to find more and more is that they're going to do background checks. They're going to do background checks on coaches, assistant coaches, anyone who works with these kids."
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