It would be an understatement to say that we are saddened by the recent allegations regarding Jerry Sandusky and the subsequent fallout. If these allegations are true then Jerry used Penn State Football and every one of us who may have helped Jerry with The Second Mile to lure in at risk children and then exploit them both mentally and physically. I thought that I knew Jerry Sandusky extremely well. Jerry was my position coach for five years and I have spent countless hours with him one on one putting in game plans and discussing ways to help him grow The Second Mile. I cannot express the confusion, pain, and anger I feel every time I think of Jerry committing such vicious crimes. With that said, at this extremely dark hour we have failed to see that another crime has been committed.
In the media fire storm that ensued the damning allegations against Jerry a lead villain has emerged; Joe Paterno. Not Jerry Sandusky, Tim Curley, or Gary Schultz but Joe the man who took second hand information and immediately gave it to his superior and the chief of university police.
My wife and I were fortunate enough to spend a few hours with Joe and Sue the day after the Board of Trustees made the decision to fire Joe. Even at the lowest point of his life, in typical Joe fashion Coach was more concerned with how his current and former players were doing than he was with his own situation. All of us know the immeasurable quality of Joe’s character and we also know that he’s a fighter. Coach pulled out his notes and said that he was ready to hold a press conference in his backyard to answer any questions and clear up any uncertainty the day after he was fired. However his advisers thought that it would appear defensive and be a mistake.
Joe assured me that Mike McQueary never told him that he saw Jerry Sandusky raping a boy in our locker room shower. Joe immediately went to his superiors and arranged a meeting with Mike, Tim Curley, PSU athletic director, and Gray Schultz, chief of university police. Remember that Jerry was not a football coach at the time and therefore Joe had no authority to do anything other than report what Mike told him to the authorities (which he did). Joe trusted Penn State’s Athletic Director and its Chief of Police to do their jobs and it appears they didn’t. The university
ultimately fired Joe Paterno because it didn’t do its job. And that is a crime.
Joe Paterno has always had the courage to stand up and fight for the people in his life. Joe regularly put his neck on the line and believed in many of us when nobody else would. In the past, Joe has supported us because he knew the character of the men that we’ve become. We all know Joe in a way that rest of the world does not. We know Joe’s true character. And now it’s time for us to stand up for him in his time of need.
With the exception of a few brave men, there has been a deafening silence from the Penn State Football family regarding Coach Paterno and what has made Penn State a special place for the last half century. We owe it to each other to speak up and do for Joe what he has always done for us.
Attached is a link to a recent Wall Street Journal article which attacks Coach Paterno for defending his players and calls Penn State an undisciplined program.
There have been suggestions on specific actions that we can take to support our program. Following the holiday, we plan on sending you a rough draft of an action plan for your review. Thanks and have a good holiday weekend. WE ARE!