Friday, July 22


By Barry Bozeman

Hello again PSU friends - this will be my first post on SMSS since the Summer of 2014 and I have missed the interaction from here in East Tennessee.

Some of you may recall that I started SMSS and the FREEHDOM FIGHTERS beginning in January of 2012 after 2 or 3 months of active participation on the Penn State sports site begun with this post  Outsider's View of PSU and the National Narrative on Nov 20, 2011

For a time this SMSS site joined with Walter Uhler, Mark Rubin of Tom in Paine, and John Ziegler to form the Framing Paterno group combining our efforts in the search for Truth following the addition of Ray Blehar as my partner and co-author of this website. 

Today I learned that Walter Uhler's website was hacked last August and it closed down with all content lost.

Some of that excellent content remains available in the Walter Uhler archive on The Smirking Chimp. Walter's article LYNCHING JOE PATERNO IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION published Nov 9 2011 was just the beginning of a number of excellent informative pieces from this PSU graduate with 2 BAs and a Master's Degree. 

Walter wrote me today regarding his response to New York Daily News, sportswriter, Evan Grossman…

“In response to shamelessly sensationalistic news articles in the mainstream media that virtually indicted Joe Paterno for supposedly ignoring a 14-year old boy in 1976, who claimed to have been molested by Jerry Sandusky, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times which gave reasons why I thought the allegation was false. That letter was published on 14 July 2016. Within days, Evan Grossman, writing for the New York Daily News, wrote a column titled: "Joe Paterno apologists are blind to reality, unwilling to face facts about ex-Penn State coach." In Mr. Grossman's view, Paterno apologists live in a reprehensible fact-free bubble similar to those occupied by "9/11 truthers" and Trump-style  "birthers." Finding that my letter to the Centre Daily Times was cited by Mr. Grossman as a representative example of a  fact-denying Paterno apologist,  I felt compelled to write him the letter included below to show him the errors in his analysis.”  

After his website was hacked and destroyed, Walter retired from writing about the Penn State situation until the latest "testimony" by John Doe 150 alleging sexual assault in 1976 at a Summer Camp while showering with other boys.  That fraudulent story compelled him to write this Letter to the Editor published in the Centre Daily Times:

“A man testified in court in 2014 that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.”

Put simply, this testimony does not ring true.

First, Joe Paterno was the type of man who attended to the smallest of details. He would not have ignored such an allegation, just like he did not ignore the allegation made by Mike McQueary, but reported it up Penn State’s chain of administrative command.

Second, Paterno was an honorable man, a man who once walked out of a restaurant in a huff, leaving his family behind, after they defended the daughter being chastised by Joe for giving part of her all-you-can eat meal to a sibling who didn’t order such an all-you could eat meal. Joe accused his daughter of ripping off the restaurant and couldn’t believe that nobody else in the family took the matter seriously.

Third, Joe Paterno’s highest priority was transforming boys into successful and responsible men, not winning football games. That’s why he turned down offers from the NFL. Thus he would not have dismissed any allegation about Sandusky with the assertion that he had a football season to worry about.

Finally, having studied memory, I know that memories are reconstructed rather than purely retrieved. Thus, a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can’t possibly be completely true.


A section of  Walter Uhler's letter to the Centre Daily Times letter misused in the New York Daily News by Evan Grossman in a piece titled: 


“Another Paterno apologist penned a letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times, stating there’s no way the beloved coach could have known about any of Sandusky’s crimes because Paterno was so honorable he once stormed out of a restaurant when his daughter was not charged for a second all-you-can-eat dinner after sharing with another girl.
“Joe accused his daughter of ripping off the restaurant and couldn’t believe that nobody else in the family took the matter seriously,” Walter Uhler, of State College, wrote.
Uhler, who claims that he studies memory, wrote: “I know that memories are reconstructed rather than purely retrieved. Thus, a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can’t possibly be completely true.”

Walter Uhler’s rebuttal follows.

Dear Mr. Grossman:

As a writer whose work has appeared in The Nation, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Defense News, Huffington Post, Journal of Military History, and the Moscow Times -- among many other newspapers, journals and scholarly periodicals -- and who served as a senior executive in the Department of Defense as well as president of a scholarly organization (the Russian-American International Studies Association), I found your article, "Joe Paterno apologists are blind to reality, unwilling to face facts about ex-Penn State coach,"  to be below the level of competence and integrity that one expects from journalists who write about sports. Your article appears to be illuminated more by righteous indignation than rigorous thought based upon facts.
Here are two facts. One: John Doe 150 alleges that he was assaulted by Jerry Sandusky in 1976 in a shower, where other boys were showering. He alleges that he shouted out after Sandusky's assault, yet none of the other boys in the shower complained to authorities.
Two: that allegation, weak as it is, has been contradicted by Jay Paterno, who has observed: "At Penn State’s football camps in 1976, campers showered in the dorms in individual stalls and did not shower with coaches and Penn State  players. " Thus, Sandusky could not have been there. Does Jay Paterno's assertion constitute an apology for Joe Paterno? Or the truth?

A question has been raised about how summer camper John Doe 150 gained access to a head coach known for making only cameo appearances at such summer camps. Similarly, a question has been raised about how John Doe's allegation that Sandusky assaulted him in the midst of other showering boys squares with Sandusky's well-known and very consistent practice of grooming and isolating a boy before assaulting him. Do these questions constitute apologies for Joe Paterno?

If anybody should be under suspicion, it is you, Mr. Grossman. Your treatment of my letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times reeks of egregious incompetence, if not dishonesty. 

For example, your readers do not know -- because you conveniently failed to inform them -- about two reasons why I doubted the testimony of John Doe 150. Here's reason number one in my own words: "Joe Paterno was the type of man who attended to the smallest of details. He would not have ignored such an allegation, just like he did not ignore the allegation made by Mike McQueary, but reported it up Penn State's chain of administrative command."

Now, you might not like this piece of potentially exculpatory evidence, but it hardly constitutes an apology for Paterno. And your readers deserved to read it. In fact, the burden is on you to demonstrate that Paterno would have behaved differently in 1976.

The second reason why I questioned the allegation made by John Doe 150 concerns his specific claim that Paterno dismissed the charge of sexual assault by Sandusky because he had "a football season to worry about." This struck me as an obvious fabrication, prompting me to write: "Joe Paterno's highest priority was transforming boys into successful and responsible men, not winning football games. That's why he turned down offers from the NFL. Thus he would not have dismissed any allegation about Sandusky with the assertion that he had "a football season to worry about."

Now, you might not like this piece of potentially exculpatory evidence, but I view it to be a red flag of fabrication by John Doe 150.  And your readers deserved to read it. Your failure to inform your readers about my total argument was compounded by your attempt to disparage and thus dismiss the two other points that I made in my letter to the Centre Daily Times.

First, character matters. So it is no small matter to know that Joe Paterno was an honorable man -- .as evidenced by the big fuss he made over the sharing of an all-you-can-eat meal. People who knew Joe and who have read countless stories and critical biographies of Joe know about many instances in which he proved himself to be an honorable man. Ask any of his football players. Your blithe dismissal Joe Paterno's strong, honorable character, suggests anti-Paterno bias in an attempt to elevate the claims of specific victims you know nothing about. 

Finally, permit me to express my surprise about your astounding ignorance concerning human memory and your dismissive, anti-intellectual attitude about what I know about it. I've read the classic study, The Working Brain: An Introduction to Neuropsychology  by A. R. Luria, as well as Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer (who was Luce Professor of Collective Memory and Individual Memory at Washington UniversitySt. LouisMissouri)  and the textbook, Neuropsychology of Memory edited by Larry R. Squire and Daniel L. Schacter. I also have read Professor Bart Ehrman's new book, Jesus Before the Gospels, which he wrote after spending the last two years studying precisely how memory works. Based upon these and other books, below is a brief summary (which I've written elsewhere) of what I know:  Humans are capable of sensory memory, short-term memory and long-term memory. Their long-term memory consists of explicit (or conscious memory) and implicit (or unconscious) memory. Explicit memory also is known as declarative memory, which consists of episodic memory (personal events and experiences) and semantic memory (facts and concepts). Implicit memory is also known as procedural memory (allowing skills and tasks to be performed unconsciously). According to Professor Luria, “patients with massive lesions of the lateral zones of the prefrontal region cannot form a stable and active intention to memorize incoming information even though their general orientation and ability to retain traces of visual impressions remains unimpaired.  Also, they cannot make active attempts to find ways or means of assisting memorizing” (p. 300).

But, even assuming strong, healthy, frontal neocortex, a person never retrieves a complete snapshot, but “bits and pieces” of an experience that are stored in different parts of the brain.  As Professor Bart D. Ehrman puts it, quoting from F. C. Bartlett’s book Remembering, “When we try to retrieve the memory, the bits and pieces are reassembled. The problem is that when we reassemble the pieces, there are some, often lots of them, that are missing. To complete the memory we unconsciously fill in the gaps, for example, with analogous recollections from similar experiences.” (Bart. D. Ehrman, Jesus Before the Gospels, Harper One, 2016, p. 134.)  I suspect this explains John Doe 150's "memory" about "a football season to worry about.“ What Bartlett  consistently found was that if the person was asked to reproduce the object soon after looking at it, and at frequent intervals, then however it was recalled and replicated the first time was usually how it was replicated in later recollections, even if the first recollection was in error. On the other hand, if the subject did not reproduce the object right away, but much later, if the recollections were not in relatively quick and frequent sequence, then the reproductions changed significantly, time after time, with innumerable omissions, simplifications and transformations occurring ‘almost indefinitely’”(Ehrman, p, 136). 

Then, there’s the matter of distorted memories, which one can see in the account by Professor Ehrman about Emory University psychology students and the explosion of the Challenger spacecraft on January 28, 1986. As Ehrman notes: A day after the explosion, psychologists Ulrich Neisser and Nicole Harsch “gave 106 students in a psychology class at Emory University a questionnaire asking about their personal circumstances when they heard the news. A year and a half later, in the fall of 1988, they tracked down forty-four of these students and gave them the same questionnaire.  A half year later, in spring 1989, they interviewed forty of these forty-four about the event.” (Ehrman, p. 141) 

“The findings were startling but very telling.  To begin with, 75 percent of those who took the second questionnaire were certain that they had never taken the first one. That was obviously wrong.  In terms of what was being asked, there were questions about where they were when they heard the news, what time of day it was, what they were doing at the time, whom they learned it from, and so on – seven questions altogether.  Twenty-five percent of the participants got every single answer wrong on the second questionnaire, even though their memories were vivid and they were highly confident in their answers.  Another 50 percent got only two of the seven questions correct. Only three of the forty-four got all the answers right the second times, and even in those cases there were mistakes in some of the details.” (Ehrman, p. 141)

Now, Mr. Grossman, can you still dismiss my assertion that "a memory constructed 38 years after the fact can't possibly be completely true"?

Finally, as a journalist, Mr. Grossman, you should be aware of the   indisputable axiom propagated by Walter Lippmann: 

“One must first establish the true and the false of an issue before pontificating about the moral right or wrong of that issue.”

I urge you to try to do more of the former before recklessly jumping to the latter.

Walter C. Uhler

I am pleased to have the opportunity to publish Walter Uhler's letter to Mr. Evan Grossman of the New York Daily News since it seems likely the Daily News will not.

There are a number of people who have spent a considerable amount of time seeking the TRUTH concerning the Sandusky Scandal and the part in it suffered by Joe Paterno.

As a liberal Tennessean with no connection to Penn State I am not inclined to apologize for a Conservative football coach and I find Walter Uhler's statements compelling. 

The PSU Board of Trustee's and Louis Freeh have created a situation where there was/is a great deal of money to be made by those who would wrongly accuse Penn State and Joe Paterno for ignoring reports or covering up for Jerry Sandusky's criminal behavior.

Just lodging a complaint with the help of a lawyer could result in a quick settlement when those Board members in control of the purse strings who decided that paying out and moving on was preferred rather than support the honor and integrity of a now deceased Coach who drew the ire of John Surma and his brother, Vic Surma, Sr.

Those decisions may have suited the Surma's and others who put their self-interest above all else, but they don’t (and never will) sit at all well with those who care about the reputations Penn State University and  Joseph V. Paterno.

Addendum: Many of Walter Uhler's excellent articles on the Sandusky situation can be found in this list on OpEd News 


  1. I would offer that John Doe 150's "memory" of his encounter with Joe Paterno is completely fabricated and is based on the sensationalized AND FALSE media accounts that Joe Paterno "did nothing" when he received the report from McQueary and the media's REGURGITATION of Freeh's false narrative of PSU putting football before the welfare of children.

    1. I think it was scripted by Alan Shubin and had nothing to do with memory or its vicissitudes. The same with the bogus "repressed memory" mantra. Just read the script my boy, and I'll get you the money.

    2. Ray - I agree that John Doe's claim seems fabricated.

      The issue of how unreliable memory can be certainly applies to Mike McQueary's testimony.

      Unfortunately, PA is behind other states in using scientific knowledge of the unreliability of human memory in court. In 2014, The PA Supreme Court did approve memory experts to testify about the unreliability of memory in regard to suspect identification.

      In the same ruling they barred experts on false confessions. I think Mike McQueary's testimony is a type of false confession, which not only ruined his reputation but that of an entire university.

  2. Once again, even if John Doe 150's story were true and he had the where-with-all to report it to Paterno, doing so would have eliminated any pretense of shame in reporting and would beg the question "why didn't he just go to the police himself?" Is Joe Paterno supposed to be some sort of official conduit to the police?

  3. John Doe 150 claimed he told other adults before Paterno, yet none of them were named.

    Apparently, PSU lawyers did not bother to contact anyone who worked at the football camp or attended the football camp to determine if John Doe's story could be corroborated.

    Even in 1976, I find it hard to believe that Sandusky would have showered with teen campers. Coaches had their own showers.

    1. That is my point Tim. JD150 is obviously not so ashamed of what happened to him that he is willing to report it to others, yet he expects someone who hasn't experienced nor witnessed the crime himself to be held accountable for not reporting it to the police? JD150's enablement of Sandusky predates anyone at PSU by a long shot.

    2. Philip Carey - It's politically incorrect to blame the victims of child abuse for allowing their abuser to abuse other children.

      It's only allowed to blame Penn State people who got a deliberately vague, incomplete, second-hand story and failed to report it because they didn't think it was child abuse.

      Victims of child abuse can stay silent until just before their 30th birthday and still file criminal and civil claims. The PA legislature is working on a bill to raise the age to 50 for civil claims and remove the criminal statute of limitations completely.

    3. That would be bill HB1947 if I am correct? A bill designed specifically so that lawyers can pilfer institutions like PSU using alleged child victims with contrived stories to shame entire communities into a frenzy of guilt that can only be remedied with large outlays of cash. PA residents ought to voice outrage over that one.

      Massachusetts enacted such a bill and exempted public institutions from being subject to the same statute of limitations requirements so that they can pilfer the Catholic Church coffers and not have to worry about retribution themselves. It has been a gold mine for lawyers there. How nice us that!