Joe Paterno’s son Jay, talking to Tom Rinaldi, about his late father.
“Seven Nation Army” made a beachhead in American sports in State College, Penn. According to a 2006 story in the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Penn State spokesperson Guido D’Elia—who is still the director of communications and branding for the embattled football program—was inspired by hearing a Public Radio International story about A.S. Roma’s use of the song.
Weird, who knew Guido would actually work with the Blue Band. Overall though, he still needs to go and I think “Seven Nation Army” does too. I love it as much as any one but –ohhh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhh-ohhh well that is something Ohio State does now too and it makes sense there. We don’t need to be chanting the first letter of a rival. It doesn’t need to go as much as Rock n’ Roll Part II of course.
Joe Paterno finally put out his side of the story nearly two months after a grand jury indicted Jerry Sandusky on many counts of doing horrible things to boys. I am glad that Paterno finally spoke, even though he doesn’t say much. It needs to be mentioned that the journalist, Sally Jenkins, was handpicked by Paterno and his PR firm. Paterno is also undergoing cancer treatment and was hospitalized later in the day the interview was concluded. Make sure you read the whole story (linked below) before reading my points.
My approach to this was an odd dichotomy — I already concluded in November that Paterno lost the moral standing to be head football coach, but I feel he has been unfairly scapegoated and made at focus of this scandal when there are several people, namely Gary Schultz, university president Graham Spanier (the contempt I have for him!) and of course, Sandusky who are far more culpable. Schultz, along with Tim Curley, athletic director, have yet to be fired and are on administrative leave and are charged with perjury. Apparently, that is less of a crime than actually reporting to them the Sandusky allegations.
How Sandusky, 67, allegedly evaded detection by state child services, university administrators, teachers, parents, donors and Paterno himself remains an open question. “I wish I knew,” Paterno said. “I don’t know the answer to that. It’s hard.”
Yes, Sanduksy was undetected for years by countless people, not just Joe Paterno.
“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” he said. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”
That is certainly plausible and even reasonable, but I am not satisfied with it from the moral authority of college football. He should have followed up more and he admitted he did not. Paterno used the perception of being the morale authority of college football to build a tremendous amount power for himself and his program.
Paterno is accused of no wrongdoing, and in fact authorities have said he fulfilled his legal obligations by reporting to his superiors.
This is forgotten by many. Legal responsibility is a lower standard than moral responsibility though.
Nevertheless, the university Board of Trustees summarily dismissed him with a late-night phone call four days after Sandusky’s arrest. At about 10 p.m., Paterno and Sue were getting ready for bed when the doorbell rang. An assistant athletic director was at the door, and wordlessly handed Sue a slip of paper. There was nothing on it but the name of the vice chairman of trustees, John Surma, with a phone number. They stood frozen by the bedside in their nightclothes, Sue in a robe and Paterno in pajamas and a Penn State sweatshirt. Paterno dialed the number. Surma told Paterno, “In the best interests of the university, you are terminated.” Paterno hung up and repeated the words to his wife. She grabbed the phone and redialed.
“After 61 years he deserved better,” she snapped. “He deserved better.”
Paterno did deserve better, much better than the way this was handled. Still, there was no way he could have been on the sidelines again. I remember the saying from Russell Frank’s media ethics class — if it appears you have a conflict of interest, you have a conflict of interest. I said initially, that Paterno should have resigned outright as soon as the scandal broke because 1.) he still had some moral authority left 2.) show the administration that failed everyone, except Jerry Sandusky, the way out the door. The board should have put Paterno on administrative leave — it was good enough for two administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley who had in the eyes of the prosecution perjured themselves. Graham Spanier, the former university president, who should have been terminated based on his complete refusal to engage in crisis management, resigned just before the board would have fired him.
Paterno was initially reluctant to speak because “I wanted everybody to settle down,” he said. But he is so eager to defend his record that he insisted on continuing the interview from his bedside Friday morning, though ill. He was hospitalized for observation later in the day due to complications from the chemo but, according to the family, had improved by Saturday morning.
Remember, Spanier, canceled Paterno’s regular Tuesday press conference after the allegations broke. Spanier’s only other action — publicly supporting Schultz and Curley.
What Penn State officials knew about Sandusky and when is the subject of no fewer than five formal investigations. They range from state Attorney General Linda Kelly’s criminal investigation of Sandusky, to an NCAA inquiry, to Penn State’s in-house inquiry led by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh. The best-case scenario is that the institutional leaders were guilty of blindness, and an unfeeling self-absorption. The worst case is a criminal cover-up to protect a wealthy university’s reputation.
Yup. By the way, I have serious concerns about the attorney generals who investigated this case — why has the Second Mile where the alleged victims were found by Sandusky, been a bigger focus than Penn State?
On a Saturday morning in 2002, an upset young assistant coach named Mike McQueary knocked on Paterno’s door to tell him he had witnessed a shocking scene in the Penn State football building showers. Until that moment, Paterno said, he had “no inkling” that Sandusky might be a sexual deviant. By then Sandusky was a former employee, with whom Paterno had little to do. Although Sandusky had been his close coaching associate and helped fashion Penn State defenses for three decades, their relationship was “professional, not social,” as Paterno described it. “He was a lot younger than me.”
This is an important point missed by many outside of the immediate Penn State community — Sandusky and Paterno were not friends. I do not believe Paterno socialized with any of his coaching staff.
Sandusky retired in 1999, shortly after Penn State made the Alamo Bowl. The timing was curious. Paterno’s understanding was that Sandusky took early retirement on his recommendation after Paterno told him frankly that he would not become his successor. The state was offering 30-year employees a handsome buyout, and Paterno believed Sandusky should take it. Paterno was frustrated that Sandusky spent so much time working on his youth foundation, The Second Mile, that he was not available to help in recruiting and other coaching duties…
“He came to see me and we talked a little about his career,” Paterno said. “I said, you know, Jerry, you want to be head coach, you can’t do as much as you’re doing with the other operation. I said this job takes so much detail, and for you to think you can go off and get involved in fundraising and a lot of things like that. . . . I said you can’t do both, that’s basically what I told him.”
Concerns about Sandusky’s dueling commitments was also cited as a reason Sandusky was unable to get hired for the University of Virginia opening.
Paterno insists he was completely unaware of a 1998 police investigation into a report from a Second Mile mother that Sandusky had inappropriately touched her son in a shower. The inquiry ended when the local prosecutor declined to bring charges. “You know it wasn’t like it was something everybody in the building knew about,” Paterno said. “Nobody knew about it.”
This was one of my big questions when the story break — who knew in 1998 and was a deal made to let Sandusky retire “honorably” instead of pressing charges? The answer is Paterno did not know and thus was not part of any “deal” with Sandusky. Had he been, I’d be asking for the statue to come down.
Paterno contends that ignorance was the context with which he heard McQueary’s disturbing story in 2002…“He was very upset and I said why, and he was very reluctant to get into it,” Paterno said. “He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked like inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it. I said you did what you had to do. It’s my job now to figure out what we want to do. So I sat around. It was a Saturday. Waited till Sunday because I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. And then I called my superiors and I said: ‘Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into it?’ Cause I didn’t know, you know. We never had, until that point, 58 years I think, I had never had to deal with something like that. And I didn’t feel adequate.”
Legally, Paterno correct in reporting it to his superiors. He did put a lot of thought into it, but still came to a conclusion that was, in mind, insufficient.
At that point, Paterno set up a meeting for McQueary and Curley, the athletic director, and Schultz, who oversaw university police. McQueary has testified that he gave both men a far more graphic description of what he witnessed…Schultz and Curley have maintained that McQueary failed to impart the seriousness of what he saw to them as well. They never told police about the allegation, instead informing Sandusky he could no longer bring children to university facilities.
Currently, the prosecutors agree with McQueary’s assessment and that is why Curley and Schultz are accused of perjury.
Paterno has said, “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.”
Paterno’s portrait of himself is of an old-world man profoundly confused by what McQueary told him, and who was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he did not want to be seen as trying to exert any influence for or against Sandusky. “I didn’t know which way to go,” he said. “And rather than get in there and make a mistake . . .”
Paterno wasn’t always so reluctant to put in a call on some things and the “old-world man” idea is in a way choosing to be blind to something. That’s a tough spot, that I can’t come to a conclusion on. Not wanting to mess up an investigation?
According to Sollers, the attorney, Paterno has no legal exposure in the Sandusky case. Paterno has cooperated fully with the investigation, and has “met on multiple occasions voluntarily” with representatives from the attorney general’s office, Sollers said. “In my judgment Coach Paterno has no legal liability in this matter. In fact, he acted completely appropriately in reporting the only allegation he received to his superiors and had every expectation that the allegation would be investigated thoroughly.”
Like I said earlier, legal and moral are two different things. That’s Paterno’s attorney speaking too.
The Paternos say they think about the real potential victims every time they look at their own children. “I got three boys and two girls,” Paterno said. “It’s sickening.” His knee-jerk response is to go back to Flatbush. “Violence is not the way to handle it,” he said. “But for me, I’d get a bunch of guys and say let’s go punch somebody in the nose.” Sue Paterno is more blunt. “If someone touched my child, there wouldn’t be a trial, I would have killed them,” she said. “That would be my attitude, because you have destroyed someone for life.”
Other people’s kids, well he’d just tell his bosses and hope for the best it seems.
The Sandusky investigation has torn apart a cloistered town-and-gown community where everyone knows everyone — including Sandusky.
The university community there and elsewhere is fighting itself over this scandal.
If nothing else, the Paternos say, perhaps the Sandusky case will raise consciousness in other communities the way it has been raised in theirs. “We are going to become a more aware society,” Sue said. “Maybe we will look for clues.” She wonders what signs she missed all those years, when they felt so successful and sure of themselves.
Hardly an original thought, but true nonetheless (see, Bernie Fine)
It remains to be seen, barring any new revelations, whether there will be a reappraisal of Paterno’s life and record at Penn State. Eventually, his family hopes, there will be healing and forgiveness in the community, and the outlines of the man they insist Paterno is, and not the monument or monumental target, will reemerge: A modest, decent, fundamentally devoted coach who always loved books more than money.
I think he will be remembered more charitably as we move away from this, but the first paragraph of his obituary will have “Jerry Sanduksy” in it.
Paterno’s record is not perfect. Anyone who won on his scale has an ungenerous competitive streak and nascent ego. His love for higher learning — he likes to name-drop Puccini and Virgil — could tip over into superiority. He could show a temper, as he did in 1995 when a camera caught him delivering a profane on-field tirade.
Really, the Doug Graber “incident” gets brought up?
His football program was not immune to the problems of big-time college athletics. An ESPN inquiry found that from 2002 to 2007, 46 Penn State football players faced criminal charges. But he liked working with problem cases and turning them around. “Hotshots,” he still calls them today. The 2007 team had 19 players who earned Academic all-Big Ten honors. “The bigger the problem the guy was, the more I enjoyed it when we had success,” he said.
That ESPN 46 players inquiry was full on inaccuracies and perhaps overblown. Basically, the football team had a “a drinking and fighting problem” that was not unique to football players at Penn State. Does that excuse it, of course not. Was it bad, yes, but it wasn’t exactly the Luther Campbell Hurricanes either.
His philosophy was simple. “My thing was play as hard as you can, don’t be stupid, pay attention to details, and have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play,” he said. “
In the Jerry Sandusky matter, did Joe Paterno live by that philosophy? My conclusion is, sadly, he did not live up to it.
The moral I take from the whole story is if you see something going wrong, make sure you do everything you can to get the right people involved, namely the police. Don’t count on superiors or anybody else to do it for you.
CHAT: Joe Paterno interview: Sally Jenkins discusses her talk with ex-Penn State coach -The Post
Penn State Football: 65 Days Later, Why Jenkins Got the Call From Paterno – StateCollege.com
Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins talks to ComRadio – ComRadio
Outgoing coach Tom Bradley’s full statement: “Penn State will always have my support” – CDT
Tom Bradley, past interim coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, is likely going to be elsewhere moving forward. A lifer at Penn State, starting as a player and then a graduate assistant, position coach, defensive coordinator and ultimately interim head coach is one of the only people to have emerged from the Jerry Sandusky scandal more highly regarded than previously. He had the unenviable task of taking over for a legend, holding the job he always wanted under terrible circumstances with little or no chance of keeping it. He held his head high, represented the program well and even beat Ohio State. Of the Penn State coaches, he is the one who got the rawest deal and he did not let it outwardly effect him.
I’m still working on my Bill O’Brien post, I’ll have it in the next day or so.
Yale coach Tom Williams resigns after lying about Rhodes candidacy – Campus Rivalry, USA Today
Yale Accepts Coach Williams’ Resignation – Yale Sports Publicity
Yale Bulldogs head coach Tom Williams has resigned effective the end of the year. A controversy over Williams’ Rhodes Scholarship claims that came up in November is the official reason.
When the Williams story broke, I wondered if that would be it for him. Yale would have a hard time firing him in my view, because they did not do their due diligence, but I could certainly see how it would be uncomfortable for him there. Losing to Harvard annually, particularly after a failed 4th and 22 fake punt in the 4th quarter (with the lead) against Harvard in 2009, might have hurt more.
I would not be surprised to see Penn State QB coach Jay Paterno seek the Yale job. Like most or all of Penn State’s staff, he is a lame duck with an expected housecleaning of the football program following the bowl game. Yale is a prestigious university, historic football program, grand stadium and lots of smart players who are there for the love of the game.
Jay’s father, Joe, sought the Yale job in the early 1960s, but Jon Pont was hired instead. After Pont left for Indiana, Yale sought the elder Paterno, but by then he was confident he could get the Penn State job. Carm Cozza was hired instead and led the Bulldogs for about 25 years.
Whether Yale has any interest in a position coach taking over after Williams underwhelming tenure or anybody associated with Penn State is a big question. Call it a decent hunch that Jay Paterno is interested though. Obviously, we don’t know what opportunities in the future (if any), but years from now, would you rather have said you were the head coach at a MAC program or Yale?
After a post-scandal hiatus, I’m back. Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries sent the questions:
BSD: The Penn State offense has struggled week in and week out throughout the course of the season. The implementation of the wildcat formation by interim Head Coach Tom Bradley appeared to signal a shift in offensive philosophy from the rest of the year. What did you think?
WFY: I think you can only credit the implementation as Tom Bradley’s in the sense that he let the offensive coaches do it. I think it was pretty sharp, catching Ohio State off guard with it, but they can’t do that against Wisconsin now. I don’t know that making Wisconsin have to prepare for it, given they have almost certainly played wildcat teams already this season, makes much of a difference either. I am sure it can be effective, but if the Badgers suddenly see Matt McGloin out wide they know what’s coming and it probably isn’t a pass.
BSD: In his Tuesday press conference, Coach Bradley indicated that the team is working on some new offensive wrinkles for this weekend’s game against the Badgers. What do you expect those wrinkles to be? How effective will they be?
WFY: Throwing to the tight end/third wideout? The tight end/wideout catching it? Pitches to the outside?
I figure they will throw from the wildcat to keep the Badgers honest, but if I were them, I’d play it as a run everytime and dare Penn State to beat them with a WR throwing the ball.
Ultimately, I think the Nittany Lions offense will be as effective as Silas Redd makes it and since he’s still hurt, that is a major concern.
BSD: Did you notice any differences between the defensive game called by Bradley and the defensive game called by Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden? Should expect anything different?
WFY: The biggest difference I saw was Sean Stanley in coverage. It worked! However, I think putting the defensive ends in coverage is so special that it should never be done again. Otherwise, I did not notice anything significantly different, other than Devon Still not getting his usual 1.5 tackles for a loss. He had the flu I think.
BSD: Wisconsin’s offense has been very impressive. How do you contain Montee Ball and Russell Wilson?
WFY: Fire. Lots of it.
Contain is the right word, because I do not believe they can be stopped. The offense putting together sustained drives would be the best solution, but I am skeptical they can do it with Redd still hurting.
I still won’t care as much about the game as I would have in October. I might start wearing Penn State clothes again. Matt Millen will say something intelligent about the situation and praise the team. The Nittany Lions will play really hard regardless of what Wisconsin does. Brett Bilema will still be a jerk. Camp Randall Stadium will still inexplicably have a rug instead of grass. There will be mentions of State Street being an okay place to spend some time. I’ll wish I had gone to the 2006 or 2008 games when I had a friend going to grad school there. There won’t be as much sportsmanship in Madison as Columbus this year, but that’s okay. UniWatch will snub this game as one of the “best looking” on Sunday morning because of the scandal. Guido D’Elia will shed a single tear when “Jump Around” comes on and wish he had thought of it. Wisconsin wins 31 – 20 and we get over it because the thought of seeing “2011″ on the skyboxes isn’t a real welcome one.
I have not blogged in the last two weeks since I wrote my tirade about Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. My reaction has gone to shock, anger, numbness to increasing ambivalence about my university and its football team. Sure, I have watched the Nittany Lions (the Nebraska game a day later) and all of that, but the passion is not what it was on say, October 30 or so. Will it come back? I cannot say. I don’t know if a Big Ten title, change of administration, new season, trip back to Beaver Stadium or whatever will re-ignite the way I feel. Maybe, I’m just going to see the games as something to watch on TV, rather than a part of my lifestyle. I was pleased the Nittany Lions won on Saturday, but nowhere near as excited as their last win over Ohio State in Columbus.
Some things I have noticed:
Tom Bradley has not taken a misstep yet as interim head coach. He is saying and doing the right things. I would not object to him given the job permanently, though it is a mortal lock that won’t happen because Intercollegiate Athletics is going to be completely turned over. It is a shame that people who apparently had no idea of what was going on are going to suffer because of Sandusky being a monster and the powers that be not doing enough about it. If Rodney Erickson can be take over as president, I don’t see any reason based on what we know today, that Bradley can’t be head coach.
David Joyner, the acting athletic director and until recently, Trustee has the job locked up. Power has swung back to the board after 16 years of Graham Spanier as university president and 45 years of Joe Paterno as head coach and they will want to hold on to it. Having one of their own running Intercollegiate Athletics will do that.
Boosters, like Terry Pegula, will have power to write more than a check moving forward. Their influence is going to start counting now, just like at other programs.
I’m more sad for Sue Paterno than Joe over the end of his career and cancer diagnosis. I wish him well though and hope that someday, he’ll be able to get a “Joe Paterno Day” at Beaver Stadium after the legal process is over.
Jay Paterno has handled the situation very well from what I have seen. Also, if Yale has a coaching vacancy (which they might) don’t be shocked if Jay psuhes hard for that job.
Matt McGloin has also impressed me with his handling of the situation. He’s matured an awful lot over the last year on and off the field. I am pulling for him.
Rob Bolden will leave the program, book it.
Stephfon Green is playing really hard and well right now. I’m glad to see it, he nearly threw it all away, but clearly learned from the experience.
Ohio State is wearing gray pants again. Good job, Buckeyes.
I have a bunch of silly questions for a guest prognosticator, but I don’t feel like asking them. While that feature is always trivial, I don’t feel like asking them. I usually prefer to laugh through stuff, but don’t think I’ll bother.
Friday Q&A: Penn State QB Matt McGloin – ESPN
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin is saying the right things (though hinting there is more he’d like to say) about the 2011 Nittany Lions. It sounds as though he had a bit of an epiphany during preseason practice – Don’t screw it up for the defense! McGloin said he realizes he has to control the game, rather than get to excited and try to make lots of big plays.
While McGloin still forces throws, he’s doing it a lot less than he had been last year. Based on this he’s really matured as a quarterback, but we won’t know until after the Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin games.
h/t Black Shoe Diaries fanshot (which no one reads)
Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries writes the questions because bloggers don’t take bye weeks…
BSD: The Nittany Lions now sit at #15 in the polls, having won 7 straight. Think back to the morning of September 3rd. What were your expectations for this team? Are they were you thought they would be today?
WFY: I expected this team to be 7-2 at best with a loss to Iowa thrown in because I also picked Iowa over Penn State until proven otherwise. I also expected Rob Bolden to have turned into a decent quarterback by now and the defense to be improved, but not this improved. I did not expect Silas Redd to be this good. Lastly, I did not expect Penn State to have a 2½ game lead in the (looks it up) Leaders Division.
BSD: The defense has obviously been spectacular, and several players have made game changing contributions. For much of the year, the defensive MVP has looked like Devon Still, who is playing as well (or maybe even better) than Jared Odrick during his stellar senior campaign. Recently, Gerald Hodges has been virtually unstoppable. Who is the defensive MVP after nine weeks?
WFY: Devon Still has been a beast throughout the season. He has what, 15½ tackles for a loss this year? Outstanding. He’s the defensive MVP. Gerald Hodges is probably the runner up, he’s really come on this month. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the defense, I knew they would be better, but I didn’t think they’d be this much better.
BSD: Is there any appropriate way to get Rob Bolden playing time at this juncture? What do you expect will happen with him by the end of the year?
WFY: Rob Bolden is Saturday’s starter.
The only appropriate ways for Bolden to play are at the end of a blowout with Penn State up big or if McGloin gets injured. I was in favor of him playing in the second quarter since McGloin was having problems, but Bolden is just lost. I think he leaves the program which is a shame, but I can’t blame him. Starting as a true frosh was the worst thing that could ever happen to him and supports the old Joe Paterno cliche “I’d rather play a kid too late than too early.”
Nice to hear his mom thinks he’s taking it well, certainly not the impression one gets from his sideline demeanor.
BSD: Silas Redd has rushed for over 1000 yards and still has at least four games left on the schedule. What will he finish with for the year?
WFY: I think Silas Redd finishes with between 1,300 and 1,400 yards in the regular season and a lot of stingers. Oh and All-Big Ten as well. Figure on another 100 yards in post-season play.
BSD: Most Penn State fans have embraced this teams “win ugly” attitude and believe they can finish strong. If this team were to lose 2 of the next 3, how will that change your opinion of them?
WFY: I don’t think my opinion would change much if they only won once in November for a few reasons — they have tougher teams on the schedule and the last two games are on the road. Only blowouts in the last 3 games could make me feel really bad, but I’ll be disappointed if and when they lose because they have come so far. Winning 2 out of 3 would be outstanding and 3 out of 3 is a mortal lock to not happen I’m afraid.
BSD: Predict the team’s record and bowl game.
WFY: I predicted a 9-4 season at the outset, some I am going to stick to that here, much as it pains me to do so. I think they’ll go to the Capital One Bowl or possibly the Gator Bowl. Outback is out because they went last year.
Bolden’s mom: He’d be content as backup – Nittany Extra, Reading Eagle
A bit of bombshell came out last night in the link above — Rob Bolden‘s mother said he would be okay with being a backup right now. Now, this is not from Bolden himself, but his mother is as good a source as any on what he’s thinking.
“I think that he would be content in a backup role,” Bolden’s mother, Tonia Williams, said. “I just always tell him to go out there and do his best and to look at the plays more often and you know, there’s always room for improvement.”
Williams said that her son is 19 years old and continuing to grow as both a player and as a person. She said sometimes it’s “tough to tell” if he’s made progress from last year to this year, but the one thing she does know is that he’s doing the best he can to improve.
Handling the situation as a starter and backup, while splitting repetitions and rotating by quarters and by series, hasn’t worn on her son too much, Williams said. When she talks with Bolden, she said he remains upbeat and optimistic, though she said she’s unsure what his future holds.
Now you can take this all with a grain of salt and I almost expect a denial to be issued by his mother today.