Scott, you never met me but we graduated together. I remember reading your column in the Collegian, I'd roll my eyes incredulous about your political views but always impressed by how well read you were. As a fellow Poli Sci major I figured you'd try to enter politics or media at some level. In 2004, I watched as you ran against Tim Holden for Congress and lost pretty badly when a bunch of other Republicans swept the district. So now that you got the campaign bug out of your system I fear you're using this crisis to burnish your crisis communications credentials.
Scott, I assume you're scouring the blogs and are reading this (probably because your name is in the headline) and if you made it this far please keep reading. Your media strategy needs help and the first step is admitting it. You have a window of maybe 36 hours to get this under control. The Board of Trustees meets on Friday. The rest of the national media won't be far behind. The statement you wrote Saturday was terrible. The next one only raised more questions. Multiple cancelled press events have only piled on. Yes, there's been a f*ck of monumental proportions but your Dad, our icon, deserves to leave with his dignity and as what he is, a statesman, an educator, and a humanitarian.
So here it is, the statement your Dad needs to make. Don't take questions, just have our Coach address the cameras and regain his place in pantheon of great educators. Lift whatever you need from this, hell our current Vice President has done much worse-
These past few days have been a nightmare for my family, this school, and those that love Penn State. But our depression pales in comparison to the daily horrors that survivors of sexual abuse face. To each and everyone of you, my prayers are with you.
Since the grand jury issued their indictment I have kept quiet, not out of disrespect to the media or to our students but out of respect for the legal process. I did not want my words to get in the way of an on-going investigation. An inadvertent slip on my part could hurt the victims and those whose innocence is still presumed. That reticence to speak does not mask the anguish that is in my heart.
It has been asked why I did not do more when this issue arose. Believe me, that is a regret I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We have a tendency as a culture to assume that famous people, or accomplished people are different from those that aren't. I've coached a few football games. That doesn't make me flawless. Since this news broke I have racked my brain, trying to piece together shards of memory to find if there was any sign that a man I trusted and collaborated with for over forty years could do what he is accused of doing. I cannot.
But that doesn't excuse the failures of this institution. It does not excuse my failures either. Every adult involved in this situation failed those children. I have made a career of convincing parents and grandparents to send me their children in order to polish them into men. I, of all people, should have been as sensitive to the need to protect these kids and I did not.
Over these past 46 years at Penn State we have built something special. A community where success with honor matters. Where people, no matter how gifted an athlete or renowned an educator, are accountable for their actions. We've created a community of excellence and solidarity. Its something unique in a country torn by turmoil. This is not just the football team I'm talking about, but this University, its students, and its alums.
That is why, when this season is over I will retire as Penn State's football coach. It is also why, with the year's I have left devote myself and my energies to helping the victims of this tragedy, and their support networks, find the support and help they need to overcome the challenges and horrors they face. I am asking that revenues generated by this Saturday's game against Nebraska and Penn State's portion of our Bowl Game be turned over to the charities that fight sexual predators and heal their victims.
We are not this ugly crime.
We are not conspirators or liars
We are not cowards and obfuscators
We are Penn State
Please Scott, time is running out. Please let your Dad go out the hero he is.