FOUR HUNDRED AND NINE
This is the first post written in honor of SMSSS inclusion in the FRAMING JOE PATERNO website to celebrate our commitment to the cause of restoring the legacy and reputation of Joe Paterno.
If you have not yet heard it Listen to JOHN ZIEGLER with KEVIN SLATEN last night
The entire case against Joe Paterno involves 3 emails written by Tim Curley that mention “coach”. Two in 1998 and and one in 2001. (Freeh Exhibits 2A 2B and 5G andpage 74 Sec.F) And the idea, based on hearsay that this 75 year-old (2001) 85year-old (2011) football coach somehow “knew everything that went on at PSU and somehow controlled it”(page 51 Freeh Report)
Joe’s entire input on this situation is 1) one set of notes from a Jan 1998 meeting with Tim Curley and Jerry Sandusky (Exhibit 3D Freeh Report) in which he told Jerry that he would not be named the next Head Coach at PSU due to his devotion of time to his charity. 2) 5 pages of testimony to the Grand Jury written into the record at the Perjury Trial Preliminary hearing for Tim Curley and Gary Schultz,(Perjury Hearing Trnscript P 173 - 178) 3) an interview he gave to Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post two weeks prior to his death as he was undergoing chemo and radiation treatment for cancer after the worst 2 months of his life. And 4) a statement he made saying “with the benefit ofhindsight, I wish I had done more.”
Joe Paterno never had the opportunity to meet his accusers and defend himself and the university he loved in a court of law. So our mission is to take his defense to the people.
The media seized on this well known elderly target and sold it’s narrative of a dictatorial football coach whose success and popularity created a culture that put the lucrative game above the welfare of children and the academics of the university. They failed to mention the astounding grade point averages and 85% graduation rate of hisplayers, his grand experiment of making his players excel at academics as well as athletics, and his Success With Honor always approach that set him up as one coach who did so much the “right” way.
The media would have you picture a power mad football fanatic who would protect a football program over the well being of disadvantaged kids instead of an honorable old school man who would rather build a library with his wife’s name that add luxury boxes or extra seats to a football stadium. The man who’s teams won over 400 football games did it with dedication and longevity – not by bending any rules and the academic achievements of his players and the highest graduation rate of 85% in the BCS affiliated college game is all the proof required.
Since Joe is gone and cannot defend himself it is our purpose to do that for him and the thousands of fans, players, students and coaches he served for so long. Like all mortals Joe was not a perfect man, like most who live and work long after retirement age – our human frailty catches up with us. Our minds age with our bodies and our memories become clouded – after all the older we become the more memories there are to keep track. But thank God most of us are never faced with being “required” to recall what might have been said in a 10 minute meeting early on a Saturday morning a DECADE in the past.
Joe had 30 years of experience with his long time assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky became the acclaimed Defensive Co-ordinator of Linebacker U. Joe never had reason to believe that his longtime assistant was a pedophile. Sandusky was the founder of a very popular charity founded to help under-privileged kids from broken or poverty laden homes. Sandusky was the foster father to 7 children himself, Sandusky was honored by Pres GHW Bush as a particularly bright star in his 1000 Points of Light. Sen Santorum honored Jerry on the floor of the US Senate. Jerry’s Kids in PA did not refer to Dean Martin’s former partner and fund raiser for MD. Jerry was a devout church going author and family man. He forfeited his chance to make millions as a head coach in order to support his charity. This “macho” DC with the heart of gold was “Saint Jerry”. His auto-biography Touched hit the bookstores in Jan of 2001 the month prior to the Feb 9 2001 incident when he and “victim” 2 were glanced at in the Lasch showers by Mike McQueary. Sandusky fooled almost everyone he ever met yet Joe Paterno is blamed for not noticing the "I am a pedophile" tattoo on Jerry's nose?
Even Linda Kelly, the Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania said Joe Paterno was not to blame and would not be charged.
If Joe Paterno was such an “all powerful” figure of God like status on a campus in a community so steeped in Nittany Lion Football culture in full control of his mental faculties in Feb of 2001 he could have simply told his former QB and State College native, Mike McQueary “Mike – forget you ever saw anything. You will become a paid assistant next year so don’t do anything to hurt the football program." If “all powerful” Joe knew about the outcome of the 1998 investigation he would have no reason to hide it. His anwer to any question about 1998 would be easy. “Yes, I knew that Jerry was thoroughly investigated in 1998 and the agencies with the responsibility and expertise for protecting kids from pedophiles along with the DA Gricar, and the State College and Universtiy Park police all concluded that Jerry’s showers with boys were not criminal. I also know that a CYS psychological counselor evaluated the situation and ruled that there were no pedophile tendencies." Why would Joe ever try to hide that?
Still we have Sally Jenkins ofthe Washington Post claiming “Joe lied to me” because he said he did not recall the 1998 investigation 2 weeks before his death in 2012. Of course he was being treated for the cancer that would kill him, had just been fired and much maligned, and was trying to recall a situation 13 years in the past. Sally’s statements “He LIED to ME” makes me want to scream: HAVE YOU NO DECENCY!!
Joe did a tremendous amount of good for hundreds of young men who played on his teams. He did a world of good for Penn State University and the town of State College. That the people of State College or PSU could or would turn their backs on this fine man over the flimsey factFreeh fiction of the disgraced former FBI director urged on the spineless PSU BOT by the devious and self-serving Republican AG turned Governor – Tom Corbett – is enough to make my blood run cold. If 60 years of faithful service to a university and community can be turned upside down by 3 brief emails not even written by Joe and his muddled memory of a 10 minute meeting a decade in the past, then loyalty and support are not high on the list of attributes of the people who consistently benefited from the honorable and forthright service of Joseph V Paterno.
The author is not a resident of PA and has no ties with PSU or Joe Paterno. But even I can see the raw and horrible injustice done to a fine man and his family by people who should know better. The Penn State board of trustees and Governor Tom Corbett, the NCAA and Mr. Emmert, and Louis Freeh and Joe’s accusers are not worthy of the fine legacy of this American Icon. And the people of Penn State and State College and the State of Pennsylvania who fail to stand up and behind their fine benfactor are only worthy of contempt. They don’t deserve Joe Paterno and all of the good he did for PSU and the community. I wouldn’t trade Joe for 1000 Corbetts, Emmerts or members of the PSU Board of Trustees – I wouldn’t trust them with Joe’s legacy.
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