FanPost

Penn-Live "Analysis" Forgets to Actually Analyze


For Charles' Thompson's "Analysis" of the Paterno Report, see

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/02/joe_paterno.html#incart_m-rpt-1

In any case, here's my letter to Mr. Thompson:

I read your article, published just today, with interest. It strikes me, however, that you have missed some important details included in the three reports released this week at www.paterno.com (Please note: instead of referring to the 'Paterno Report,' it would be more accurate to refer to the individual reports released--e.g., the Thornburgh Report, the Clemente Report, etc., since they are separate and independent reports by individuals with very distinct areas of expertise). The most glaring omission in your article occurs in your discussion of the fact that it took Paterno approximately 24 hours to confer with Curley and Schulz after meeting with Mike McQueary. You wrote the following:

"But here's where criticism remains. Paterno said McQueary visited him on a Saturday. He said he waited a day to call Curley. Paterno acknowledged he didn't follow up with Curley to see if the authorities were notified.
The Paterno report doesn't do anything to dispute Paterno's own statements. "

This is just not true. The report written by Jim Clemente (the most important of the reports released online, in my view) explains that, within an hour of sitting down with McQueary, Paterno had to leave for Pittsburgh to be inducted into the Pittsburgh Sports Hall of Fame, and that, after spending the night in Pittsburgh, he returned to State College and met with Curley and Schulz or spoke with them by phone. We do not know whether Paterno called them before leaving for this trip, or while he was on the road, or upon returning from the trip. In any case, some minimal fact-checking demonstrates that this is indeed what was happening that fateful weekend--see the following news article (http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/020901aaa.html).

This is a critically important detail that came out of the Clemente Report. It shows that Paterno was misremembering what happened when he testified before the Grand Jury. In his testimony, Paterno said that there was some delay between his meeting with McQueary and speaking with Penn State administrators, because, as he put it then, he didn't want to 'mess up their weekend.' But in fact, he did 'mess up their weekend' since they conferred about the problem on Sunday. We now know, thanks to the Clemente Report, why there was a delay that weekend--namely, Paterno left for Pittsburgh basically immediately after talking to McQueary. Furthermore, as Clemente explains, Paterno did not give himself sufficient credit in his testimony to the Grand Jury in describing the diligence with which he researched the Penn State guidelines as to what he was supposed to do, contacted his superiors, etc. And the fact that he did not give himself sufficient credit, Clemente argues, shows that he was not concealing anything in his testimony or trying to cover anything up. Paterno's misremembering that weekend was only to his own detriment.

The Freeh Report more than once quotes Paterno's words about not wanting to 'mess up anybody's weekend' in recounting those events, without doing the fact-checking that would help the public actually understand what happened and why it happened as it did. Sadly, your 'Analysis' article today makes things even worse for the reading public since you miss some of the ways in which the Clemente Report corrects the mistakes and misleading conjecture that are part of the Freeh Report.

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