With the release of the 8-month long investigation conducted by former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his team into the internal machinations of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University, the simplest explanation is this: it is what we thought it was.
When the scandal first broke back in November, despite the courts having to wait until the Sandusky trial played out in its entirety, it was painfully obvious to most of us just what went down in the now-ironically named Happy Valley.
- Jerry Sandusky was a monster; a pedophile who molested at least a dozen young boys under the guise of working for The Second Mile, a charity designed to give underprivileged boys strong male role models.
- Joe Paterno and the rest of the Penn State higher-ups knew something about Sandusky’s misdeeds (we didn’t know the extent of what they knew at the time) and yet essentially did nothing to stop it.
- There was a cult of personality surrounding Paterno at Penn State that he used to insulate and protect both Sandusky and his football program, all at the expense of the young boys who were living through a nightmare beyond imagination.
Freeh’s report, which was commissioned by the Penn State board of trustees back in the first few weeks following the scandal’s outbreak, pulls no punches in its critique of Paterno, former president Graham Spanier, former vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley (who is currently on leave and seems unlikely to return). Among the accusations it makes, the report says that the entire leadership train intentionally failed to report Sandusky’s crimes, and took deliberate steps to cover up ongoing investigations into the former defensive coordinator from both the police and the university’s trustees.
Paterno, who died in January less than three months after being fired, will get the lion’s share of the media attention in the coverage of this story, and much of it is deserved despite the ridiculous notion that one should not speak ill of the dead. But as horrible as his lack of action was (and it was pretty damn horrible) he was not the only one complicit in the cover-up, and might not have been the most culpable.
In particular, Spanier had the official duty of reporting the matter to the board and the police and chose not to. The report says that emails between Spanier, Schultz, and Curley emphasized that Sandusky should be treated with “a humane approach” while making no mention of the boy that an eye witness had seen him raping, nor attempting to find out the child’s identity. And to top it all off, he blatantly lied about his knowledge of the 1998 investigation in a 2001 grand jury testimony, which the report proves that he was in fact well aware of. These actions, among others, will almost certainly lead to further charges against Spanier (and perhaps Schultz and Curley) for perjury and failure to report the matter to the authorities.
The more that we learn about the scandal, the more that these blind defenders become the equivalent of 9/11 Truthers and Obama Birthers.
Of course, through all of this there have been those whose loyalty to Paterno and Penn State have led them to defend him no matter what. For these pathetically naive people, this report will make little difference. These are the same people who insisted that Paterno did all he could in reporting the matter, who disgraced themselves by rioting on campus when the coach was fired, who painted a halo over his likeness on a mural, and who now simply say that Freeh is piling on and taking cheap shots at a dead man who can no longer defend himself.
But the more that we learn about the scandal, the more that these blind defenders become the equivalent of 9/11 Truthers and Obama Birthers. The fact is that there is no rational defense of Paterno, Spanier, Sandusky, or any of the other players in this sad, sordid mess. As Freeh said at this morning’s press conference, “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”
Neither the victims of Sandusky nor Penn State itself will ever be fully healed from this affair. But the least we can do is bring those responsible to justice and acknowledge the twisted culture that had existed around Penn State football, if only to prevent another Jerry Sandusky from ever happening again.
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Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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