We Are Still Penn State
By now many of you know that Penn State University is something near and dear to me. It started, as you might expect, because of football as my father was life-long friends with George Paterno, Joe’s brother who for many years broadcast Nittany Lions games.
My first Penn State game was the 1974 Orange Bowl and because of some bizarre circumstances I ended up riding on the team bus after the game from the stadium to their hotel in Miami. In later years we would make an annual trip to Happy Valley to see a game and spend some time with George. It was usually my father, brother and I and later my son. My “fandom” reached a different level when Brandon made the decision to attend Penn State and in some ways I enjoyed the four years as much as he. Well, not quite but you get the point.
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He graduated in 2008 but two years later it would begin all over again when my daughter Alex decided to follow in his footsteps. She loves PSU every bit as much as he did and this fall will begin her junior year.
So with that said my wife and I are invested in the school and like many of you shocked, saddened and disgusted by what took place for many years when a child predator by the name of Jerry Sandusky made helpless boys his victims. He is now is a 6 by 8 foot cell and hopefully will spend the right of his miserable life in jail.
Of course we know this scandal is not over and many seem to be stunned by what was revealed Thursday in a 267 page report that the university paid to have done by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Actually I don’t think there were any bombshells in the report other then we now know former football coach Joe Paterno was lying when he said he knew nothing about a 1998 incident in which Sandusky was investigated for questionable behavior.
That is just another sad part of the story and while Paterno, who died months ago, is not able to defend himself, the report paints a poor picture of a coach who was revered as much off the field as he was on it.
I could go on and on and I have strong feelings about many issues and aspects of what’s taken place and what may still happen. However those who have chosen to vilify the school continue to miss the point. Sandusky, Paterno and three other high-ranked officials are the bad guys, not the faculty, not other administrators and not the tens of thousands of past and present students who have turned what was an agricultural school in a sleepy little town into a top-notch university.
This is a black eye for sure but should not an indictment on those who remain Penn State proud for many other reasons. I’m one of them and I’m not embarrassed to say it.