UNIVERSITY PARK -- Silas Redd hasn't paid any attention to the harsh criticism aimed at Joe Paterno the past two days, and it wouldn't matter to him if he had heard anything.
Redd's opinion on the late coach hasn't changed.
"He's the best college football coach ever of all time," Redd said during Friday's Lift for Life event, "and that's all that matters."
That's not all that matters, however, to a nation of critics who have blasted Paterno since it was revealed by the Freeh report Thursday that the coach was part of a cover up in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Redd was then asked what kind of message his unconditional support for Paterno sends when so many people are outraged about the coach's actions.
"They don't know him like how we know him," the running back said. "I mean, opinion is opinion, everyone is going to have one."
One by one, Penn State's current players said Friday that they still stand behind Paterno. Their opinions haven't changed in light of the Freeh report.
"Not at all," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "I'm still a big supporter of Coach Paterno. He's one of the reasons that I'm here. Nobody's perfect, and that's basically all you can say. No man is perfect at all."
Hill and Redd, among others, also believe Paterno's statue should remain standing outside Beaver Stadium.
"Because I feel he did a lot more good than bad for this university," Redd said of his reasoning.
"It would be sad if it went down," Hill said. "I definitely want to take a picture with it when I'm graduating, I've got my cap and gown on and stuff like that."
Does he think it will still be there for his graduation?
"I hope so," said Hill, a senior.
Quarterback Matt McGloin hasn't changed his opinion of Paterno, either.
"Coach Paterno gave me the opportunity to play here," he said. "He gave me an opportunity; a lot of coaches didn't. So to that, I owe my career to him."
Lift for Life is usually one of the best days of the year for the Penn State football program. It's an opportunity for the players to put on a good workout show for the fans and raise money for kidney cancer research.
Friday, however, they weren't able to focus solely on that great cause because players made available to the media once again found themselves having to answer questions about fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
Along with multiple questions about Paterno and his statue, players also found themselves addressing the possibility of the program facing NCAA sanctions. They often fielded eight or 10 questions apiece about those issues before anyone asked about football or Lift for Life.
Some players said they couldn't help but watch or listen to the constant media coverage of the Freeh report Thursday, although others, like Redd, paid no attention to it.
"I was in 2nd grade in 2001, so it has nothing to do with me," Redd said.
Linebacker Michael Mauti said he didn't turn on the TV on Thursday or Friday because his only concern is getting ready for football.
"It's just a distraction, just like anything else," Mauti said of the media coverage of the scandal. "I'm worried about what we're doing this year, I'm worried about our team and how we can get better for the season."
The future of Penn State football over the next few years could hinge largely on whether the NCAA levies sanctions, which could include anything from TV or bowl bans to the death penalty. While the latter appears to be unlikely, according to experts the Mirror has interviewed, it still can be tough to ignore.
"You hear the death penalty and you think, like, it really can't happen," Hill said. "But you just don't know what's going to happen. But at the same time, we can't think about what if this happens because nothing has happened yet to us. When that time comes, if it comes, then we'll worry about it."
McGloin said he's not worried about the NCAA at all.
"That's out of our hands," he said. "That's kind of what my mindset has become. It's the mindset of a lot of people here. We control what we can control."
If the NCAA were to punish the football program, it would be impacting players who had nothing at all to do with the scandal.
"Yeah, it is upsetting," Redd said. "But it's out of our hands really right now."
Friday was the 10th annual Lift for Life event, which is put on by the football-run organization Uplifting Athletes, and this year the competition was different. Instead of having small groups of players competing, this time it was offensive players versus defensive players.
There was some smack talk before the event, with players on each side guaranteeing victory.
"The offense has never beat the defense, and it's just not going to happen," Mauti said with a laugh.
Well, that did happen, actually, as the offensive players put up the higher score, 176-136.
The event was expected to raise more than $100,000 for the second consecutive year.