BUFFALO NY - FEBRUARY 23: New Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula walks onto the ice during pre game ceremonies prior to play against the Atlanta Thrashers at HSBC Arena on February 23 2011 in Buffalo New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
In an interview with TSN in Canada, Penn State hockey benefactor (and new Buffalo Sabres owner) Terry Pegula doggedly defends his alma mater while going scorched earth on the football program:
"I am standing behind the university," Pegula told TSN in his first interview about the PSU scandal, although he did issue a press release last week re-affirming his financial commitment for the D1 hockey program that is set to begin next fall.
"Our concern and compassion should be for the children involved in these terrible allegations," he said in a telephone interview from Boca Raton, Fla. "Whomever may have been involved in any way, anyone who knew anything, they've got to come clean. They've got to step forward and say, 'Here's what I know, here's what happened...' and that includes you know who," a seemingly obvious reference to Penn State legendary football coach Joe Paterno.
"This is not about covering your ass. Telling the truth now will go a long way towards getting everyone through this. If there's going to be a blind allegiance to anyone or anything here, it needs to be the university and to the truth...that's how we get to the bottom of what happened, that's how we get our image back."
First, easy for Pegula to say. He's not involved in this fiasco. Second, he's right. All of the lawyering and sniping through the media isn't going to provide closure for anybody. Problem is, we're still at the very tip of what appears to be an increasingly large iceberg. High-priced lawyering rules the day until further notice.
The entire interview is worth a few minutes of your time. Pegula speaks in especially strong terms, and proudly notes his close relationship with Trustee John Surma, who you'll remember as the target of every journalist's screaming questions at the late-night press conference firing Joe Paterno.
This passage will not please many of our readers, based on current attitudes toward the BOT.
"I've talked to John and he's a good man and he's already on this," Pegula said. "There needs to be transparency, we need to get to the raw truth, we need to eliminate agendas, eliminate egos and find out how this could have gone on at our university. John, believe me, is well along on that page and probably ahead of me and everyone else. We're both Penn Staters and we want the truth."
Pegula also had words of encouragement for the current Penn State student body:
"There are a lot of people at Penn State not involved in any of this. Most of them, actually. It doesn't help to make them feel any worse. I talked to an instructor who was teaching a business class and he went into the class and could just see how down the students were, they were hanging their heads and he told them, 'Don't you hang your heads. You did nothing wrong.' After the class, he had so many students come up to him and say, 'thank you, I feel so much better now. I was starting to question what we're all about.' Those 40,000 to 50,000 people who are there now, to say nothing of the thousands and thousands of graduates, they need to feel good about themselves and their school. They're not responsible for this."
And finally, wise words which every hyperventilating pundit from across the nation should read before they type their next reactionary CANCEL EVERYTHING column:
"I hear people say they shouldn't be playing football, that football doesn't matter now," he said."Well, I have nothing but compassion for the victims and I want the truth rooted out as badly as anyone, but I don't think anyone should be going up to (Penn State senior defensive tackle) Devon Still and telling him he can't play in the final games of his collegiate career, that he needs to pay the price for the mistakes of others. That's not how you do things. I would say to Devon, 'you play,' I would say to Penn State, 'you play,' and while you're playing we're going to clean up this mess."
Remember that Pegula is a big Tom Bradley supporter, and pushed heavily for Bradley to get the Temple job in the offseason before Temple trustee Lewis Katz went all-in for Steve Addazio. Should be interesting to see how much juice Pegula has in the search for a new coaching staff at Penn State.