March 7, 2014 - Hershey, Pa
Good afternoon. My name is Joe Lally. I was privileged and honored to play for Penn State and Coach Joe Paterno.
Like all of you, I'm especially pleased or proud of our student body and all the great things that they do like Thon. Together with our passionate alumni, we are the face, the voice of Penn State. That's who We Are.
Unfortunately the negative press towards Penn State and its supposed culture of football reverence is the direct result of the board's ineffective leadership. We all know that the Freeh report is grossly inaccurate and the NCAA sanctions are simply off-base. You know better than most the costs and the damage it's caused to our university and its reputation. With the Paterno suit, we're a little bit closer to possibly finding the truth.
We also know that Joe Paterno had more character and integrity in his little pinkie than Freeh and Emmert have in their whole bodies. We have one of the highest graduation rates with our students and scholars over 3.0. That's what mattered most to Joe Paterno; that's who We Are.
So I ask this esteemed body: Where was the leadership when Penn State needed it most?
But it's not too late to do the right thing. Join the Paterno suit and let's not be bullied any longer by the NCAA.
Several of you have unimaginable responsibilities with your day jobs. PSU interest cannot come second to politically correct corporate interests or investor perceptions. Listen to the alumni voice now and give the newly elected alumni trustees a greater role in shaping our future.
I urge you all to abide by the spirit of the new trustee reform rules, and for trustees over 12 years of service, do the honorable thing and withdraw your name from the election.
We can't move forward until we find the truth. Joe Paterno was always about doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences were. Now I'm okay for criticizing Joe for going up the middle too often, but there was no way that Joe Paterno that we all know would put innocent children in harm's way or impede an investigation.
Deep down I think you know that all too, but were too caught up in the media frenzy surrounding the presentment to respond with deliberate, thoughtful leadership and the courage to allow for due process during this crisis.
When you decided not to defend our great University and four deeply committed employees, you failed us. Teammates don't do that.
Together we can fix this thing but we need bold leadership and we need it now. The alumni elected them for a reason, so let's lean on these newly elected alumni trustees to provide that leadership.
Joe Paterno shaped the lives of thousands of young people, players and students. He is one of the great men of our generation and of Penn State University. So take a page out of the Paterno play book, stand up for honor and reputation. Let's stop the bullying, let's demonstrate strong leadership to correct these past mistakes. If you do that, then you'll have the full support and appreciation for all you do for this great university.
That's who We Are. Do you?
YouTube link: Joe Lally