STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Four months after his death, Joe Paterno remains a martyred saint here.That didn't take long. Hyperbole, oversimplifcation, generalization. There are plenty of people in this town who flat out don't like Joe, and/or think he blew it with regards to Sandusky. Acknowledging that we don't know everything and never will, based on the information we have so far, I personally think he didn't live up to the standard he had set for himself. He could have done more.
For helping expose the alleged crimes and, by extension, the secretive Penn State culture that may have facilitated them, he became a hero to many Americans. But here in Mount Nittany’s shadow, where the resulting tumult has factionalized a small town and a large university, he’s an outcast, a villain, a traitor.I very clearly remember McQueary being ripped apart by more than one national pundit. A hero? Hardly. My experience? People I know here have gossiped about McQueary and some things in his personal life that don't paint him in the greatest light, but an outcast/villian/traitor? I haven't seen that. I know people have seen him around town, and have commented on how shaken he looks. But, maybe the author talked to a lot more people than I interact with and has reason for this conclusion. More on this later.
A day later, sitting at a kitchen table in the old coach’s house, he did so, ultimately triggering an earthquake of events that included not only Sandusky’s arrest but Paterno’s once-unthinkable dismissalThis is fine. I can kind of buy that. There were clearly other things that happened. But, I don't have a huge problem with this.
Residents here continue to believe the black clouds now stationed over their town might have blown away if only McQueary had contacted police that night. Had he done so, they insist, Sandusky, the 68-year-old ex-coach accused of molesting at least 17 young boys, might have been stopped long before he wasWhat exactly is wrong with thinking that? If McQueary had called the police, things would be different. And it's only residents of State College who think this? Yes, we "insist" that Sandusky "might" have been stopped. Huh?
"There had always been a kind of cocky quality to Penn State students and to the whole atmosphere there," said Marci Hamilton, a Penn State graduate and child-advocate attorney who filed the first civil lawsuit in the case on behalf of a youngster known only as John Doe A. "That’s gone. This is still a good place, a morally good place, but there’s a lot of self-questioning going on."This is fair. I think many Penn Staters have been taken aback by all of this. Do I wear my PSU gear in public? Can I make fun of another school's grad rates? All very real and human responses to something like this. Not sure how this quote supports the insistance that State College considers McQueary a villain. But, I'll keep reading.
Now, as the dog walker neared McKee Street, where Paterno’s widow still lived in the house bordering Sunset Park, a silver Honda slowed alongside. A window in the vehicle lowered and a muscular arm emerged. The young driver raised his left hand and pumped its middle finger furiously in McQueary’s direction. As the agitated dogs barked at the departing car, their master walked on impassively.Ok, here we go. So this is the first example of many that prove the point about State College, right?
Within days, the besieged trustees fired Paterno and president Graham Spanier, 2,000 students rioted, and the world got a disturbing glimpse of a secrecy-obsessed university that seemed more concerned with football than the well-being of childrenAgreed. It was disturbing. To all of us.
Because of the juxtaposition of such disturbing crimes with the school’s squeaky-clean image, and because of Paterno’s national reputation as the conscience of college sports, the scandal-generated debates were deeply felt and vitriolic, pitting neighbor against neighbor, student against student, and virtually everyone against the trustees.Kind of true. Willing to accept this at this point. Hoping for more on the "neighbor against neighbor" angle.
"It’s bizarre how the mountains just kept everything inside," said Bill Moushey, a veteran journalist and the coauthor of a new book on the scandal, Game Over: Jerry Sandusky, Penn State, and the Culture of Silence. "That was always part of the place’s charm. But when you apply it to something like the Sandusky scandal, it’s all somewhat unnerving."Oh, I see where we're going here.
Already, the town is beginning to fight the battle over Paterno’s legacy. "Joe is the real victim here," wrote one reader with the screen name "OneIron User" in the online comments section of the local newspaper the Centre Daily Times, after a May story sympathetic to Sandusky’s victims. That prompted a reply and a not-uncommon theory from "BuckRogers": "A jury from Centre County will acquit Sandusky and throw the alleged victims under the bus, just because the villagers believe (in the Bizarro world of Happy Valley) that it will restore the good name of the region."Ok, here we go. The author is giving us a glimpse of the mentality in the town. So he, talked to...oh. He pulled comments from a CDT article? I see.
As Paterno’s boosters stand up on his behalf, Sandusky’s alleged victims appear sidelined, or worse. At a January memorial service for the late coach, Nike chairman Phil Knight drew the loudest ovation from the 12,000 attendees when he defended Paterno for having done his duty in passing on McQueary’s story to his superiors. "Whatever the details of the investigation, this much is clear to me," Knight said. "If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno’s response." Neither Knight nor anyone else at the lengthy ceremony mentioned Sandusky’s victims.You know, it's possible to defend Paterno and also show empathy for Sandusky's alleged victims. That's happened in many conversations I've had with people. I also don't see why the memorial service was the place to stand up for the victims. By the way, Phil Knight doesn't live in State College and didn't go to Penn State.
There are even those who question the victims’ motives and stories.Asking questions is something people should do. What is this writer's problem with understanding the nuances of human behavior?
The sentiment against alleged victims is so common here that prosecutors in February requested that the Sandusky jury pool come from somewhere beyond Centre County, where the school is located. It’s almost certainly why, in what was a complete reversal of form for a high-profile case, defense attorney Joseph Amendola fought—successfully—against a change of venue. "That tells you how strange this whole case is," said Moushey. "I’ve covered a lot of high-publicity trials over the decades and most of the time it’s the defense that wants to get out of Dodge."Yeah, this is crap, and ultimately what bothered me the most about this piece. So common? What is this based on? The guy in the Honda? The CDT comment? Even the victims lawyer says "some, though certainly not all, Penn Staters." Moushey seems to be the person pushing this thought the most. I know he wrote the book, but maybe someone else can fill me on how much he would know about State College. If you're going to make claims like this, do a little more work in proving it. How about talking to the people of State College? Did this writer even set foot in State College to write this?
Meanwhile, festering resentment against the trustees for firing the school’s two most powerful figures—which could have been seen as a bold and brave act—transformed a recent race for three open spots on the board into a furiously contested election among 86 candidates. The three that were chosen—in record levels of voting that took place in April and early May—are all determined to polish Paterno’s tarnished legacy. Lubrano, one of those chosen, has called for the trustees to issue a public apology on their handling of Paterno’s dismissal.I've been uncomfortable with the way some of the town halls were all about Paterno and how many trustee candidates clearly ran just because they were mad about JoePa. I'm skeptical of Anthony Lubrano. This oversimplifies things and the "bold and brave act" could easily be changed to "cowardly", but I don't have a huge problem with this part.
The university itself has tried to walk a fine line. On the one hand, a School of Communications course that had examined the relationship between the coach and the media has been canceled, while efforts to rename the stadium for the coach have been stalled, in part because the family has refused its permission and in part because administrators are nervous about what may yet be revealed.Yeah, this is a tricky situation. And it could get uglier.
Meanwhile, McQueary has continued to distance himself from his alma mater and his hometown. On May 8, he filed a whistleblower suit against Penn State, and in June he is likely to be a key witness for the prosecution’s case against Sandusky. Virtually unemployable now in football, the 37-year-old McQueary has put his house on the market and apparently intends to start a new life in a new location. Because everyone in State College hates him and the victims and only cares about Joe Paterno right?