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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Few Words on Penn State

When you start a blog, you don't know if anyone out there is actually reading it.  Apparently some people are reading this one.  And apparently those people want me to say something about Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal.  I have been asked multiple times during this day when the Banshee will weigh in on the subject.  The answer is that I am not going to "weigh in."  Truth be told, I'm too sad and too hurt to say anything productive.  But, what I will do is share a few links to articles that I think are well-written and perceptive.

First, the facts.  I do not know all the facts of what Jerry Sandusky is charged with doing.  I don't think anyone in the general public does at this point.  But, this article from ESPN is perhaps the best summary of the facts as they pertain to Coach Paterno and other university employees.  It should be noted that Schultz, one of the officials that Coach Paterno reported his knowledge to was in charge of the university's police department at the time.

Second, the reaction.  I scoff at other people who engage in navel-gazing and adolescent self-pity on their blogs.  If you want therapy, at least have the decency to pay a professional for it.  But, in this case, I don't need to pour out my own emotions because these two columns capture my feelings more eloquently than I could have.  Dana O'Neil's column is part news report and part commentary.  And, if you're only going to read one of these links, please let it be Michael Weinreb's column from  It's called "Growing up Penn State: The end of everything at State College."

I understand that this story is not going to go away anytime soon.  I realize that for the foreseable future, I will be forced to think about all this again whenever I tune into my favorite TV and radio shows.  But, I will probably not write about it again on this blog.  I serve the public in my day job.  This blog is supposed to be fun for me ... and hopefully a little entertaining for those of you who are kind enough to read it.  The next post will hopefully be about Notre Dame's garrish new helmets and the perfect dip for the start of Thursday night NFL games.


  1. Well said Rebecca. The general public is ignorant of the facts and is responding with their guts, which more often than not are wrong. Keep up with the fun things in life.

  2. I know you are heartbroken Becca. I am heartbroken for every person involved in this devastatingly sad situation. There is going to be a lot of hateful speech flying around the media and blogs and facebook, etc. But as horrified as I am by this news, I want to encourage everyone to forsake anger and vengeance for compassion. There are so many people hurting

    First I think about there the young boys who allege the abuse injury and have to deal with the psychic pain of their experience. As a criminal defense attorney, I will not abandon my belief in the "innocent until proven guilty" principle. But I have read the grand jury findings and find myself heavily persuaded at the truth of the claims.

    And there are the Penn State players who undoubtedly feel sickened, shocked, and betrayed -- all while they are trying to live their dreams, play college football and maybe get to the NFL. Their lives are forever altered for the worse. And I know some will say its just football -- but it is not -- football is life for many college players and an incident like this can end a career when no one looks at PSU the same way amid scandal.

    Think about all of the Nittany Lion employees and staff. It takes an army of secretaries and maintenance staff and assistants to run a football program. They are very often like a family -- and now someone who was their own for so many years turns out to be a monster. And their wonderful leader, Joe P. -- his legacy sullied.

    Is Joe P to blame for complicity? Was he explicitly told what happened? I don't know. Hindsight is always 20/20. And I was not there.

    But Joe Paterno is more than this scandal. He is. It is hard to think that such a special man might have failed to protect children -- but I think of it this way. If someone is publicly accused of sexual abuse of a child, his life is done. Period. Game over. It does not matter if he is found not guilty. It does not even matter someones if the accuser recants. Once even a whisper of sexual abuse surfaces, there is no going back. And if Joe Paterno had jumped to prosecute someone based on hearsay, then he truly would have been a lesser man.

  3. PS I subscribed to your blog and it is on my Google home page -- so keep the food and fun coming.

    Topic suggestions:
    Nick Saban Sucks!
    Ballpark food: a lady cannot live on hotdogs alone
    Why Formula One is better than Nascar

  4. I cannot escape the conclusion, whether Sandusky is guilty or not, that Paterno's and the administration's inaction is inexcusable. The reported 2002 event was pretty graphic. It wasn't the kind of thing where you'd see innocent conduct and mistake it for what was reported. The guy that reported it is still on PSU staff, no? I can't imagine Paterno thinks that guy lied to his face..? So what's the explanation for how seemingly nothing at all was done? I have always liked Paterno so I'll reserve judgment until I see if there's a good explanation but I fail to see how there can be one.

  5. The whole thing is very upsetting - not pleasant to think or talk about.

    Bright spot - we get to see YOU this weekend!

  6. You know my level of sports intelligence (almost nill), but I have read the references above and some other things. I'm also a mandatory reporter for incidents such as this. If it is true that Joe Pa received generalized information about someone who was no longer an employee of his, he did the right thing. I don't think he had a burden (moral or legal) to press for more details and interject himself in the reporting process. Referring the complainant to the administration was the right thing to do. Becoming the law, judge, jury or advocate himself would NOT have been appropriate.

    I know that you and other Penn Staters are stricken and shaken. But I also know well that you will recover. No one will be taking a hammer to those VHS tapes. Joe Pa's legacy is not permanently sullied. They were great games played by imperfect people. The whole history is not tainted by one man's bad acts -- else Judas would have doomed us all.

    Love, Me

  7. I looked back at this post because I have to add that knowing what I know now -- I am shocked and hoified that Paterno and the PSU leaders did not do ANYTHINg to address the allegations. I wanted to believe that a man who had given so much to s many had not made such a terrible decision.