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Why did NBC not air the most damning part of Jerry Sandusky-Bob Costas interview?

In this Dec. 13 2011 phoformer Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for preliminary hearing Centre County Courthouse

In this Dec. 13, 2011 photo, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky arrives for a preliminary hearing at the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 to consider Jerry Sandusky's request to see his grandchildren _ prosecutors don't even want him out on his back porch _ and whether a jury should be brought in from outside Centre County. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Updated: July 20, 2012 6:28AM

NBC isn’t on trial.

Thankfully for the peacock network, blatant ignorance isn’t a crime.

But shame on them for not airing the entire November interview with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, in which the coach admitted, “I didn’t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped.’’

Maybe, just maybe, a comment like that might be important in a case against Sandusky, in which he is accused of repeatedly abusing 10 young boys over a 15-year period.

Thank goodness sanity could still make it pertinent.

A Pennsylvania prosecutor contacted an NBC News lawyer on Friday, and asked the network to re-authenticate the full unedited transcript of the interview, which aired on “Rock Center with Brian Williams,’’ and was conducted by NBC Sports host Bob Costas. The hope? Further damning evidence.

In the unaired portions, Costas called Sandusky out for using his charity for troubled youth, The Second Mile, as a way of luring alleged victims in.

Sandusky told Costas: “… I have worked with many, many young people where there has been no misinterpretation of my actions and I have made a very significant difference in their lives.’’

Costas responded by challenging Joe Paterno’s one-time coordinator, “But isn’t what you’re just describing the classic MO of many pedophiles? And that is that they gain the trust of young people, they don’t necessarily abuse every young person. … So it’s entirely possible that you could’ve helped young boy A in some way that was not objectionable while horribly taking advantage of young boy B, C, D and E. Isn’t that possible?’’

Then came the sound bite NBC should have aired on every television set around the country as soon it was muttered from Sandusky’s mouth.

“Well — you might think that,’’ Sandusky said. “I don’t know. In terms of — my relationship with so many, many young people. I would — I would guess that there are many young people who would come forward. Many more young people who would come forward and say that my methods and — and what I had done for them made a very positive impact on their life. And I didn’t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped. There are many that I didn’t have — I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.’’

Instead, they sat on it.

An NBC news executive emailed me the explanation as, “There were a lot of compelling comments in the original interview, but we did not have time to include them all.’’

What’s truly sad in all of this is NBC’s ignorance is just a small sidebar in a story and trial that continues to tear at the heart of every parent out there.

The prosecution rested its case this week by calling the mother of Victim 9 to the stand, after the now-18-year-old had already detailed that Sandusky had made him bleed by anally raping him. The mother told the jury that she always wondered why her son’s underwear were always missing from the laundry.

The defense then waltzed out its first two witnesses, former Penn State assistant coaches Dick Anderson and Booker Brooks. Their testimony? They, too, had showered with young boys while at Penn State, as if it was regular behavior.

Which leaves me asking two questions: What in the hell was going on with the Penn State football program? Secondly, why shouldn’t it be shut down for the 2012 season, pending a broader investigation into Paterno’s regime and every coach underneath him?

I would like to hear explanations for both.

Who knows, maybe NBC has the answers. Not that they would share them anyway.

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