From the initial news of the grand jury investigation through the firing of Joe Paterno, the release of the Freeh Report, and this morning’s announcement of NCAA sanctions, it feels like this thing has reached at least a temporary landing point at which we can breathe, take stock of what’s happened, restore some perspective, and focus on what’s important (i.e., the victims).
All of us, that is, except for one group: current Penn State students. (There’s no point in even approaching the parallel universe in which the Paterno family steadfastly resides. That’s expected, if indefensible.) They rioted furiously when the university fired Paterno, and from the sounds of it, little has changed today. In anticipation of the announcement of NCAA sanctions, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike checked in this morning with a correspondent in State College, PA, who had clips from two students responding to yesterday’s removal of the Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium. My attempted transcriptions, first of student one:
Removing the Paterno statue did nothing to heal us. How does that heal us?
The emphasis in this statement was on the “us,” as in, “us students.” To them I ask, why do you need healing? What happened to you? Unless Jerry Sandusky raped you, you are not a victim in need of healing. Of course it didn’t heal you. It has nothing to do with you.
Doctor Rodney Erickson said that he was going to protect JoePa’s legacy. How does this protect his legacy?
First, the kid actually said “Doctor Rodney Erickson.” Just so we’re clear. Secondly, to answer his question, it doesn’t protect “JoePa[‘s]” legacy in any way. Paterno’s “legacy” was a charade, a falsity Paterno and others protected at the expense of children. In reality, Paterno’s legacy is this coverup. That’s the legacy Paterno advanced through his dying day, and that’s the legacy Erickson protected by removing a monument to Paterno’s fraudulent legacy. Third, now seems like as good a time as any to stop calling him “JoePa.”
I think we wanted to think that the students initially rioted because they didn’t quite understand, but now that all the information is out in the sunlight and there’s been time for clearer heads to prevail, the students at the geographic locus of this would come in line with the general public. We’re told that Penn State is a big school, that not everybody thinks the same way, that they aren’t wearing blinders. The only data points we get from them– the initial riots and rallies, the Big Brother-esque turning off of the campus televisions during the Freeh Report announcement, Matt Millen, incoming recruits, and now these comments– indicate that the PSU campus residents are as delusional as ever.
ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap: Giving a Voice to Penn State’s Victims – Huffington Post