"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

It Can’t Happen Here? Think Again

And if I say to you tomorrow
Take my hand child, come with me.
To a castle I will take you
But what’s to be they say will be.
— Led Zeppelin, “What Is and What Should Never Be

As the Penn State scandal continues to evolve, it is important to note that the grand jury investigation and report is available for reference. Will reading the grand jury report, or instructing people to do so, help make the Blogosphere and the Twitterverse more peaceful? Highly unlikely. I haven’t seen people this divided and angry over a sport-related story since the OJ Simpson trial.

How do we put into context what allegedly happened at Penn State, according to the report? Some steps are to 1) to view the progress of the story to date; 2) how the media has covered the story; and 3) examine from an academic context how the iconic status of Paterno and the culture he created in Happy Valley shaped the way the university managed – or depending on your perspective, mismanaged – the situation.


Objectivity requires one to step outside the bubble of the first-person point of view, assess information, determine what is fact and fiction, relevant and irrelevant, and interpret that information accordingly to construct a narrative. In this context, facts are absolute. They are cut and dry and emotionless, much like the components of a mathematical equation. Facts help derive truth, which is a more abstract concept. This story tests every fiber of what journalism students are taught. It shatters the mythology that those who cover sport – not just college football, Penn State, or Joe Paterno – have contributed in drafting.

There is an agenda supporting the way every article published in every periodical is framed, either on the writer’s part or by the organization employing said writers. On television, the number of programs parading talking heads deemed “experts” presenting their contrasting opinions in the interest of equal time passes for intelligent programming. This is not objective, nor is it journalism.

Siphoning fact from fiction and placing that information into a legal context was the task assigned to the federal grand jury that investigated the actions of former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The contents of the report are graphic, provocative, and a slew of other adjectives that cut to the core of our emotions. For those of us who are parents and entrust – or have entrusted – our children to a third party for care, it is impossible to view this story through a prism of objectivity. It conjures primitive, visceral reactions steeped in anger. But the grand jury report is only one piece to the investigative puzzle. The Patriot-News in Harrisburg has provided in-depth reporting. A timeline and the depth of knowledge of the situation among the key players is noted here.

It is under these volatile circumstances that national media organizations have flooded central Pennsylvania, piggybacking the solid journalistic efforts of the Patriot-News and turning the area known as Happy Valley into the stuff of tabloid. Joe Posnanski, who is writing a book on Joe Paterno, wrestled with his emotions and the difficulty in being objective in a strong, well-written blog post. But to those of us on the outside analyzing Posnanski’s position, given that he moved to State College, gained unfettered access to Paterno, how can he reconcile doing this book now, or at least amending the angle? This series of events, for better or worse, is now the defining piece to Paterno’s career, possibly his life, and to encourage the people who supported him for years to stand up now is naïve. Perhaps we’ve learned, through the number of sponsors that are removing themselves from Saturday’s broadcast and the power struggles between Paterno and his superiors that have come to the fore, that JoePa didn’t have the level of support that he thought; that there were people who finally stopped buying what Paterno sold.

Buzz Bissinger, who wrote his own reaction piece, tweeted: “Note to Posnanski: junk your book unless you re-report it get the Joedust out of your eyes. Your post was pathetic justification of JoePa.”

CBS’s Gregg Doyel went one further in this tweet: “Heard Joe Posnanski is on campus defending Joe Pa. Calling him a scapegoat. Smart guy. Decent writer. Total moron.”

People unconditionally – or in Posnanski’s case, conditionally – supporting Paterno, are not viewing his involvement and inaction with a sense of totality. Involving emotions in the evaluation process immediately kills objectivity. Posnanski, a veteran, respected award-winning journalist and writer, know this. He admitted as much. But he also has to realize that by continuing down this path, his own reputation is at stake.

* * *

Penn State alum Chris Korman wrote an impassioned blog Wednesday in the Baltimore Sun. In it, Korman describes his time as a student journalist at Penn State and examines the way the local and national media have covered the events while trying to reconcile his own feelings. Korman writes that while Sandusky is unquestionably the main player, the tipping point of the investigation and coverage occurred when the focus shifted to Paterno’s inolvement.

“… the Sandusky story did not gain traction when it should have. The Patriot-News, in Harrisburg, first reported that he was the subject of a grand jury investigation for the indecent assault of a teenage boy on March 31. … Yet it does not appear that any of the major news outlets now swarming campus paid much attention. Sure, Paterno had not yet been tied to the scandal. But it should have at least sent a few reporters scurrying; Sandusky, after all, remained affiliated with Penn State.”

In other words, Sandusky might be the principal player and newsmaker, but Paterno’s name value makes the story. Sandusky’s alleged actions lead to one visceral reaction; Paterno’s role in the chain of events spawns another.

YES Network’s Kimberly Jones, also a Penn State alum, has been a fixture on Mike’d Up with Mike Francesa this week. Tuesday, she discussed her time covering Penn State Football, the lack of access afforded to reporters, the insular, protective culture Paterno created and fostered in University Park, and perhaps most damningly, that Sandusky was seldom seen without kids from his Second Mile organization around him. Thursday, she commented on the lack of leadership the University has shown.

Thursday morning’s talk radio rotation featured a mixture of intelligent conversation and rancor. On WFAN, Craig Carton verbally flogged a female Penn State student who called in to give the vibe in State College, but also someone who pledged her support for Paterno, as did her parents. She mentioned she was a journalism student and wondered why reporters weren’t trailing Sandusky as he went on a shopping spree at Dick’s Sporting Goods. She said she believed Paterno didn’t do enough, but he shouldn’t be made the scapegoat, like she and many others believed the media were responsible for. It helps provide a context for the actions of Mike McQueary and his father, John (more on this later in the column).

On ESPN Radio, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic interviewed a number of former Penn State players, asking them common softball questions, while outside the context of the interviews highlighting the young boys listed as victims in this scandal and questioning the status of Mike McQueary for Saturday’s game against Nebraska.

At present, the status of the coverage is now past Paterno, save for the question of whether or not the media were responsible for scapegoating the 84-year-old coach. JoePos told a class at Penn State he believed that to be the case. Dictionary.com defines a scapegoat as “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” Paterno is not being made to bear blame for anyone other than himself. He is not being made to suffer for Jerry Sandusky. He is enduring the consequences of his own action and inaction.

Reading the Korman article, maybe it’s time that happened. Korman points to the culture of ignorance that existed during his time on campus, and beyond. He specifically points to an ESPN report that compiled the following figures on criminal activity involving Penn State football players from 2002-2008: 46 players were charged with 163 counts.

Stephen Mosher, Professor of Sport Studies at Ithaca College, examined Paterno through the veil of the coach’s 1989 appearance on a PBS roundtable program. Mosher writes:

“What is terrifying is that Paterno claims that, in sports, ‘you give the responsibility to the authority of others.’ And that type of reasoning is what allowed Paterno and the others in the PSU ‘chain of command’ to convince himself that he had done enough when confronted with the unspeakable horror over thirteen years ago.

No rational human being would entrust the welfare of the vulnerable to a six-year old. And that is exactly what occurs in the sport culture every single day…”

People who have played team sports, covered team sports, interviewed coaches or former coaches for a living will say that accountability starts at the top. In this case, it’s the head coach. How does that make Paterno a scapegoat? Because he was the biggest name? Now people are posting signs asking for the media to go home; that with Paterno out, the story is over and there’s nothing more to report.

But there is much more, and it is going to get much worse before it gets better. While Paterno was the most prominent domino to fall, there will be others. The next is likely McQueary. (UPDATE: A few hours after this column was posted, McQueary was placed on indefinite administrative leave, effective immediately.) A spotlight remains on the University Administration and the Board of Trustees, whose continued attempts at damage control – which are the topic of countless forums among PR professionals – have resulted in an epic fail.


Sport plays a role in culture and society, just as cultural and societal factors help forge behavior in sport. Actions in sport, both on the field and off, affect politics and business dealings. Sports are entertainment, a supposed escape. On a more humanistic note, we want to see purity in the athletic endeavor, and nothing more. In the past two weeks, we’ve had “Tebowing” and Penn State. In-your-face religion and the alleged pedophilic acts by a coach taking place on campus and what may prove to be a decade-long cover-up. The Penn State Affair is a sports story. Although the primary subject matter is not sport-related, the context of it and the key figures in the story are tied to football.

Penn State University – the football program in particular – is a cash cow. To that end, it is the most important school in the Big Ten Conference. PSU, according to an online report, has the most valuable football team in the Big Ten, and the third-most valuable in the NCAA, based on gross revenue and pure profit. Going beyond football, Penn State hosts a high number of conference championship events and because of its production facilities and student involvement, is the largest provider of content to the Big Ten Network.

Furthermore, deposed president Graham Spanier was Chairman of the Bowl Championship Series. Jay Bilas noted in an interview with Greenberg and Golic Wednesday morning that at a recent NCAA university presidents’ retreat, Spanier was touting “integrity, integrity” for the BCS Bilas then asked rhetorically, “How can he continue in his capacity?” Later in the evening, the Board of Trustees fired Spanier. In Thursday’s aftermath, NCAA President Mark Emmert issued a statement and used the word “integrity” to describe both Spanier and Paterno.

The football program, as it does for many colleges across the country – not just major Division I colleges and universities – creates the campus identity. A note from the blogosphere illustrates this fact:

“As I was driving to work this morning, I heard one of your own call in to The Herd and explain that he didn’t know how he was going to unapologetically put on the Blue and White and sing “Fight On, State” this Saturday.  He’s not the only one to express that sentiment.  Perhaps you’re feeling a little this way.

This is what I want to say to you.  You are not Joe Paterno.  You are not Tim Curley.  You are not Gary Schultz.  You are not Graham Spanier, and you are sure as hell not Jerry Sandusky.  Their alleged sins are not your own.  They may be the most recognizable faces of your beloved program, but they are not Penn State.  They are not a 156 year old center of higher learning.  They are not a century of football tradition.  Their flaws cannot eclipse the innumerable scientific, artistic, and humanitarian contributions your university, and its 44,000 students and 570,000 living alumni have made and will continue to make to the world at large.”

An Ohio State fan wrote the open letter in an effort to show empathy resulting from the recent scandals that rocked the Buckeyes football program and led to Jim Tressel’s disgraceful dismissal. Where the letter is incorrect, sociologically speaking, is that Paterno, Sandusky, Curley and Schultz, as well as the kids taking the field on Saturday, ARE Penn State because they are the most public representatives of the institution. The program is bigger than the university. The football players and coaches are the perpetual BMOC’s. Paterno held more influence than the school President. This is true at Penn State and any other school where football reigns supreme.


Coaches of youth sports tell kids on their teams that the work ethic, ideals, etc., learned on the field help build character outside the lines. They are tantamount to life lessons. The truth is that nature and nurture build character, not participation in sport. Good parenting and development of a moral compass build character. Does the coach who sticks the worst kid on the team in right field so he won’t have a meaningful effect on the game have character? How did sport help this coach in that respect? What led him to believe that winning a Little League game at the cost of potentially killing the confidence of that right fielder was positive? Does the kid who took the most reps in practice or spent the most time in the batting cage exhibit positive character traits when, following a disheartening loss, he says, “It’s always the bottom of the lineup that screws us”? No. It works in the reverse: you bring the personality traits you inherit and then hone as you gain life experience into the field of play.

In a guest spot with Greenberg and Golic, former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, talked of Paterno as a father figure and a “maker of men.” This is a common refrain among football players and how they discuss their coaches, or how any mentee views a mentor. What, then, do we conclude about the character of Mike McQueary, who played football for Paterno and has been on the coaching staff for nearly 10 years? On March 1, 2002, according to the grand jury report, McQueary witnessed Sandusky raping a 10-year-old boy in the showers of the Lasch Football Building and rather than break it up and save the child, he turned away, called his father, who advised him to report the incident to Paterno.

Sandusky worked for Joe Paterno for nearly 30 years. Did football build him into a pedophile? Tim Curley played for Paterno and rose up the ranks to become athletic director. Did sport help build his character such that the grand jury found his testimony “not credible”?


The fallout of the past several days has been thus: Paterno and Spanier are gone. Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, senior vice president of business and finance of the university, resigned on Sunday.

This is the trickle-down effect of what was Paterno’s “Grand Experiment.” The Korman article addressed this, specifically noting Paterno’s vision of character and the culture he sought to establish. This “Grand Experiment” helped construct the myth. We know now that the events cited in the grand jury report and continuing investigations have blown it up.

This incident now defines Paterno’s career. It’s as if the previous 30+ years leading up to the first years the Sandusky transgressions allegedly took place are moot. The public power struggle that took place Wednesday between Paterno and the Board of Trustees had a “JoePa’s Last Stand” feel to it. The BOT didn’t afford him the luxury of determining when he would exit.

Looking at the recent falls of prominent college football coaches like Bobby Bowden and Jim Tressel, negligence was their undoing. The same is true for Paterno, who despite saying he “wished he could have done more” did not act on the moral high ground that he espoused and supposedly taught his players. He only proved that he wasn’t worthy of being held to a higher standard; that he was a hypocrite.

Dave Zirin, in his initial reaction piece published Monday, wrote: “It’s tragic that it’s come to this for a legend like Joe Paterno. But it’s even more tragic that protecting his legend mattered more than stopping a child rapist in their midst.”

A community is in denial and exhibiting the five stages of grief in textbook fashion. Amid this scene in State College, Pennsylvania, there is a game against Nebraska to prepare for.

But the games can’t mask the institutional failures anymore.

[Photo Credit: Washington Post]


1 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 1:43 pm

Terrific piece, Will. Thanks. Here's one thing I don't get. How did McQueary leave the building that night without that boy with him? How did he not attack his ex coach when he saw what he saw? Okay, so he didn't. But after reporting it to Paterno how does he not eventually go to the cops when nothing was done about it?

2 Jon DeRosa   ~  Nov 11, 2011 2:25 pm

[1] Sandusky kept raping kids for years and years after the 2002 incident. McQueary, Paterno, Schultz, Curley & Spanier conspired to water it down from "anal-rape" to "horsing around," and then swept it under the rug. Water-down, cover-up. Reprehensible.

Another oft repeated, yet false notion is that the AD is somehow Paterno's boss. He's not. He's an old asst coach or something that gets to do what Paterno tells him to do. Joe Pa reporting this incident to him is akin to him telling his secretary.

In State College PA, Paterno is a god. A god does not have a boss or a chain of command.

Posnanski's call to let the facts come in before judging Paterno, to view his vile inaction only through the lens of his past moral integrity, is so misguided and self serving that I can never be bothered with him again. Posnanski should stop waiting for those sanitizing facts to come out and start judging Paterno based on the facts that Paterno himself admitted to the Grand Jury:

1) he knew sandusky was sexually abusing boys (at least by 2002, maybe, probably earlier)
2) sandusky continued to walk free for years after Paterno knew.
3) paterno did nothing and actually enabled him to continue raping kids by allowing sandusky to keep his powerful reputation intact

this is all without even considering why a 55 yr old coach, at the top of his profession, a legend even, would suddenly retire in the prime of his career? just a coincidence that his last season was the season following being investigated by the police for child molestion?

3 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 2:42 pm

Yeah, this is a nightmare.

4 Jon DeRosa   ~  Nov 11, 2011 2:51 pm

[3] It's also a lesson in the power of language. The fact that over the course of five people, that they could turn "anal rape" into "horsing around" is so fucking subversive that it's scary. By the time you get to horsing around, you can almost see the concern disappating from their collective brain. It's just horsing around, no big deal, this will never even come up again. No need to call the cops, let's just move on from here.

5 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:02 pm

i am so sick to my stomach over this. this will probably be the last article on it i read, because my eyes are bleeding; i've read tons about it and i'm completely horrified.

i am a penn stater. a very Very VERY proud penn stater. a lifer. i have two degrees from penn state and absolutely adore state college. i was there this june and had a blast. i also stocked up on a ton of penn state gear. my house, studio and wardrobe have been overdosed in penn state stuff for 20 years now. i have PSU stuff everywhere. you can't look anywhere around me and not see penn state. from magnets, mousepads, stickers and license plates to shirts, hats, plaques and TONS more.

i was in school in the 90's when sandusky was prominent. i lived in the closest building to beaver stadium for 2.5 years. i played with the jazz quartet for the alumni association (which i've been a part of for over 15 years and have my health insurance through...), for all the home football games.

about 5 years ago, i contemplated moving back to state college, 'coz it's such an incredible place to live. if i didn't do what i do for a living (professional musician), i would *definitely* live there. i've often dreamed of being fortunate enough to have a family of my own and raising the kids in Central PA. i adore it there.

this unspeakable tragedy is horrifying. fuck football, what about these kids? and their families? and these violated boys who are now young men? this is evil of the highest order.

selfishly, i hate seeing my school in the news for this terrible reason. i will continue to wear penn state everyday pretty much, because i would probably get in trouble going to work without clothes on. it's getting cold out and for the past 10 years, i wear my penn state winter hat all the time. people always comment on the football team, to which my response is something to the effect of: "i don't care about football or college football, the school is the best and immensely important to me. as far as sports go, as long as the Yankees win the World Series, i'm happy."

my concern is for the victims, first and foremost. i hope they can somehow forge forward and their families can get some closure, as well. along with that, i hope for justice. beyond that, i hope people don't judge The Pennsylvania State University and alumni like me for loving and supporting the greatest place i've ever been in my life. i look forward to hopefully visiting again next summer...

We are...PENN STATE!!!

6 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:08 pm

4) Buzz Bissinger said the toning down of language was ridiculous and used blunt, appropriate language to describe the rapes in his article.

7 rbj   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:25 pm

The more details I hear, the worse it gets:

Even though Paterno himself had told the grand jury that McQueary saw “something of a sexual nature,” Paterno said this week that he had stopped the conversation before it got too graphic. Instead, he told McQueary he would need to speak with his superior, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and with Schultz.

That meeting did not happen for 10 days.


How in hell do you sit on this for ten days, knowing the guy had to retire a few years earlier over similar allegations?

8 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:35 pm

also horrifying is that sandusky and his wife couldn't have kids. they adopted 6 children. who knows what went on under that roof. it is utterly sickening.

i'm still shocked that mcqueary didn't call the cops. how can you NOT call the cops??????? i remember when he first came into play at psu...

9 Jon DeRosa   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:42 pm

[7] Paterno didn't want to hear the graphic details. Not a leader. Just a sad old fogey. Didn't want to hear the bad, bad things so he plugged his ears. Also maintained plausible deniabilty, wonder if that was lost on him too?

10 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:48 pm


11 rbj   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:49 pm

[9] And the thing is, by ignoring/covering it up, in order to protect his and Penn State's reputations, JoePa has done more damage to both than immediately calling the whistle on a pedophile would have. That would have been more courageous, tackling the problem head on.

12 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:52 pm

i am in complete and utter shock. this is so disgraceful.

: (

13 Jon DeRosa   ~  Nov 11, 2011 3:58 pm

[11] and with reputation as a football legend intact, and ready access to all the kids at the charity, they basically turned sandusky loose in there. the thing about hushing it up is that maybe the people hushing it up really fool themsleves into believing the guy would change his ways after he got caught. the fallacy of that notion must be exposed here. without imprisonment, they will not stop. with a sterling reputation as a community leader, he was unstoppable until a kid finally somehow managed to come forward.

14 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:03 pm
15 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:26 pm

[11] Absolutely - had Paterno and PSU immediately handled the situation when it became apparent to them and come clean about it publicly, and perhaps then endowed some sort of victim's charity, they would likely have been lauded as heroes.

That was the person we'd been led to believe Joe Paterno was. A guy who would say "this will not stand." Protecting that image became more important than doing what it took to deserve it. What can he say to those kids whose lives were ruined by Jerry Sandusky? What can any of them say?

Aside from the moral responsibility, how can anyone not know at this late date that cover-ups do not work. Everything gets out to the public sooner or later.

[1] Right - I could accept that McQueary froze up, had he immediately called the cops. You just saw a violent crime being committed to a child, so you go home and call your Dad for advice? McQueary was 28 years old, not 15. Unforgivable.

16 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:34 pm

This is heartbreaking. It's as if the value of the football program, the coaches, the school administration is more than the value of the lives and well being of children. Shame on them.

There can be no excuses, no deniability because of stated ignorance, or diminishing the crime of rape of a minor by calling it horseplay.

Who are these people? Where have they been for the last 30 years? You don't get three strikes for this type of behavior. I support and respect PSU as a national institution of higher learning with decades of history, and it's a pity that this history is now soiled.

17 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:37 pm

Oh... this was a brilliant wrap up of the coverage and story. Thanks.

18 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:39 pm

[17] What he said.

19 cult of basebaal   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:43 pm

Absolutely - had Paterno and PSU immediately handled the situation when it became apparent to them and come clean about it publicly, and perhaps then endowed some sort of victim's charity, they would likely have been lauded as heroes.

Except then they'd also have had to explain about how they'd handled the investigation into Sandusky in 1998 and how they'd handled "retiring" him the next year, and how they essentially let him still have full run of campus, usually with young boys in tow for all the years following ...

The covering up for Sandusky at Penn State began, at the very latest, in 1998. 2002 is just a continuation ...

20 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:48 pm

15) Yeah, I mean, I don't know how I'd act in a shocking situation. It's easy for me to say how I'd act in theory but I don't know...that said, after the fact, he still didn't report what he saw, not to the extent that he could.

21 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:52 pm

[19] That was what I meant - had they dealt with it in '98, not 2002 or later. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

22 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:53 pm

[16] it destroys me that the school's history is now soiled. [of course, the tragedies that the victims endured is well beyond anything else.]

the educational experience i got at penn state, was incredible, and serves me positively on a daily basis, both professionally and personally. it's always been honorable and admirable that i went to school there. it pains me to think that somebody, anybody - maybe even people on this thread - would now look down upon it because of this unspeakable scandal.

i studied classical music & education there. i don't think i could have been more sheltered from most of the things that were going on outside the music buildings...

23 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:54 pm

[20] Right - I can forgive not decking Sandusky right then and there, I mean, it's easy to say you'd do it, but... That said, how do you NOT call the cops? If the reason was that he was worried about how PSU would react to him calling the cops, that's all the more shameful.

24 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:56 pm

[22] I didn't attend PSU, but I have visited there a couple times and been to a couple football games as well. Always had a lovely time and thoroughly enjoyed State College and the people therein. It's incredibly depressing.

25 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 4:58 pm

i started school there in Fall '91 and graduated May '95. moved back beginning of 1996 and left state college, as a resident, in July of that year. i've been back a ton of times since and the town just gets better and better and better. i still have many close friends, teachers, mentors and fellow musicians who live in the area. i can imagine how broken it is there and that leaves my heart heavy...

26 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 5:03 pm

[23] yeah, i'll be forever nonplussed that mcqueary didn't call the cops. and notify any and every possible law enforcement agency until this was immediately put to an end.

i hung my head in shame when i learned that sandusky was still allowed access on campus and given his own office, etc.

[24] i'm thrilled you enjoyed university park/state college. it's my very favorite place in the world (outside of sitting behind my drumkit!). the campus is breathtakingly beautiful and the downtown area is indeed lovely. the surrounding towns are sublime. central PA is a wonderful place.

27 Ara Just Fair   ~  Nov 11, 2011 5:09 pm

As a teacher it sickens me that someone saw that shower scene and didn't intervene immediately. This whole ordeal is sickening.
[14] Wow. I had no idea about Mickey Mantle's childhood abuse. What the fuck is wrong with people?

28 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 11, 2011 5:48 pm

[1] [17] thanks. This was a difficult piece to write without injecting my own opinions on the matter into it. Situations like this, people's opinions aren't important; the story and people's ensuing actions are. There are so many things to analyze here, we've only begun to scratch the surface on this.

29 Matt Blankman   ~  Nov 11, 2011 5:56 pm

[26] Yeah, I had friends in Grad School there in the mid 90s. Always had a good time when I visited and it is indeed a beautiful area, especially this time of year.

30 The Hawk   ~  Nov 11, 2011 6:13 pm

I don't know if it's really important or not but I suspect that what McQueary saw was not anal rape. In the grand jury report, it's the only instance of that happening cited, and the boy in question is not on record one way or the other. More than one victim described this weird bear hug move he would do on them though, at least one I recall happening in the Penn State shower.

I'm not saying it makes it "better", it's just a thought I had. Obviously even without that incident the whole thing is so diabolical it defies reason.

31 cult of basebaal   ~  Nov 11, 2011 6:38 pm

[30] Well, McQueary did say that what drew his attention to the shower was something like rhythmic, slapping sounds, which sounds a lot more likely to be intercourse than a bear hug.

I dunno, I suppose all the awful details will come out in the various court cases.

32 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Nov 11, 2011 6:39 pm

[28] Just catching up on this news. Holy fucking shit..
Really great write-up, thank you. And Buzz Bissenger wasn't fooling around..I enjoy Joe Posnanksi's columns too but can't see how he can take that position now.

This is just an awful awful situation. And as a parent, my emotions hope Sandusky (if found guilty in a court of law) faces a serious round of prison justice..sick bastard.

33 rbj   ~  Nov 11, 2011 7:05 pm

[28] Thanks for doing it. I wouldn't be able to keep my opinion out of such a piece. When I worked as a child care worker, nothing sketchy would have gone uninvestigated.

34 Bruce Markusen   ~  Nov 11, 2011 7:36 pm

Man, what is wrong with Posnanski? To me, this "controversy" is pretty cut and dried. Sandusky is a monster, and Paterno and his assistant coach are enablers. I really don't see how one could reach a logical conclusion that is vastly different than that.

Any reaction that did not involve a) direct intervention and/or b) reporting these crimes to the police is absolutely horrendous.

35 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Nov 11, 2011 7:42 pm

[34] Supposedly $750,000 advance to write the book. That's a lot of bullion..money makes people do strange things, no?

36 cult of basebaal   ~  Nov 11, 2011 7:57 pm

Well, in Pos' defense, I don't think it was just the money, or even significantly about the money. I think he just got far too close to the situation, he did all of this research, spent a couple of years learning everything thing he could about Paterno, hell, he moved to Penn State for this season so he could finish it and he just watched everything he had been working on go up in flames in the span of a week.

It's pretty clear that he came to believe that Paterno has lived his life as a fundamentally decent man, it's clear that he *liked* and respected Paterno and I think that being as close as he is to situation, he just can't process what all of this means to everything he's come to believe about JoePa and what he stood for.

It's disappointing, but also somewhat understandable.

That said, I'd be a lot stronger in my sympathy for JoPo, if he hadn't broken his commitment to not talk about the situation until he had had time to work everything through and review all the evidence.

As noted above, calling Paterno a "scapegoat" shows neither an understanding of situation, or what the word even means.

37 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 10:04 pm

i wonder if the YES network will continue to air a lot of Penn State sports...

this whole thing is really really hard for me. i don't understand how this can happen; anywhere, let alone my beloved alma mater...

38 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 11, 2011 10:21 pm

[37] Don't know about the YES Network's programming acquisition stuff. The only parallel I can draw -- and I know it's not even close to the scale of Penn State and the embarrassment you feel -- is when the Steve Phillips sex scandal broke out a few years ago, and it was an Ithaca College alum who sought her 15 minutes of fame and contributed to ruining Phillips' career. There were many alumni, myself included, who told student reps calling us for donations that we weren't donating due to the shame brought on the school by that young woman.

There is an extreme lack of understanding of just how far-reaching the consequences of these actions spread.

39 thelarmis   ~  Nov 11, 2011 10:30 pm

well, i just finished dinner. drank my root beer out of a penn state glass and am now drinking water out of my penn state cup, as always. tomorrow night, after work, i will proudly raise my penn state pint glass to imbibe my ale.

i'm sure most people will look at the name 'penn state' or our logo and think of this unthinkable scandal, but PSU has a completely different - and very positive - meaning for me. even today, is the 17th anniversary of my Senior Recital, which was the most important day of my life, at 20 years old.

this tars and scars, but doesn't define the school, the teachers, the students and us alumni. it shouldn't happen anywhere. i hope sandusky suffers to the absolute fullest of karmic realignment. and then some...

40 Will Weiss   ~  Nov 11, 2011 11:26 pm

[40] I spent some time there this year, too. Enjoyed it very much. I feel terribly for the victims, obviously, but the negativity trickled down to the good people I've met who work so hard to make that place great hurts me. They're left holding the bag.

41 rbj   ~  Nov 12, 2011 9:34 am

[39] I separate the scandal, and inexcusable inactions of a few, from the institution. What matters for PSU now is how they deal with things going forward.

42 phil_bonanno   ~  Nov 14, 2011 8:36 pm

[0] thanks for the great write up on this. Like the rest of the posters, I am absolutely sickened by the testimony and feel so much for the victims

I will disagree on the "sports doesn't build character" argument. They can and for many they do. They can teach/develop cooperation, resolve, teamwork, mental and physical strength, leadership and many other important life skills. Regardless, great post, much appreciated

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver