Friday, May 31, 2013


To the surprise of no one, Camp Paterno filed their lawsuit against the NCAA, announcing it in somewhat grandiose fashion on Bob Costas' television show Wednesday night. That in and of itself seems a bit demonstrative, coming as it does from a family that holds up their hero as a man not only of principle but of quiet earnestness. But it's nothing when you begin to compare what their lawsuit implies (and, frankly, directly says) against what went on over the years leading up to the utter and complete collapse of the Penn State football image just 18 months ago.

The lawsuit seeks "to redress the NCAA's 100 percent adoption of the Freeh Report and imposition of a binding consent decree against Penn State University. The reality is that consent decree was imposed through coercion and threats behind the scenes and there was no ability for anyone to get redress," according to the Paterno lawyer/mouthpiece, Wick Sollers.

Really. Something related to Penn State football was "imposed through coercion"? There was "no ability for anyone to get redress"? I'm confused -- are we still talking about the poor, put-upon hero who was elevated to god-like status in his half-century coaching football and his quarter-century harboring a child rapist? Or are we talking about the countless children who were violated in unspeakable ways?

The suit is also designed to go after Louis Freeh and his report. You remember Louis Freeh -- he was the guy brought in to investigate the disgusting and disgraceful happenings at Penn State under Paterno's watch. Freeh was independent and not beholden to Happy Valley, Joe Paterno, Penn State or anyone else who wanted this kept under the rug where they felt it belonged. He was also the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, perhaps the most elite investigative unit in the world. There was nobody else to pin responsibility on besides the men who did nothing to protect children -- so Freeh bludgeoned Penn State's leadership (including Paterno) with the painful facts, after spending months working with an investigative team of additional former FBI agents and federal prosecutors. This was not a witch hunt, as the brainwashed masses in Happy Valley will have you believe -- this was an investigation into facts, long since ignored.

The lawsuit goes after Freeh, as I mentioned, with Sollers referring to Freeh as a "co-conspirator" (in the land of make-believe that Camp Paterno still lives in, it's all just a big conspiracy against Saint Joe) and saying that "the NCAA stood on the sidelines instead of doing what they should have done with a full investigation. We have given a lot more allowance to Louis Freeh than he gave to Joe Paterno, and the people he named in his report."

Ah, so Freeh shouldn't have been given leeway to do as he saw fit? You mean, like the leeway that Joe Paterno and others gave to Jerry Sandusky to do as he saw fit?

The lawsuit also puts Joe Paterno and his legacy above the PSU football program, something which his denizens would have you believe patron Saint Joseph never did. Yet here we are seeing the Penn State athletic department have to remind the world that they aren't part of this lawsuit and they aren't interested in pissing off the NCAA any further. They know how reprehensible the rest of the country sees the situation in Happy Valley and they want to begin to heal:

"Despite our request, the Paterno family has not shared any information about its planned legal action," chief legal officer Donald Remy said in a statement. "We remain committed to working with Penn State toward the continued successful completion of our voluntary agreement with the university and to working with the NCAA's independent monitor, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell."

Imagine that...the Paterno family not sharing information. The Paterno family putting themselves and their reputation ahead of the University and the current players. The Paterno family acting as though the NCAA has no business governing a University football program or disciplining someone who made their ill-conceived fame as a result of NCAA competitions in an NCAA league.

Elsewhere, the lawsuit and mouthpiece Sollers said that Freeh should have taken longer than the months he did take in order to get it right. So yes, the Paterno family is suggesting that the best course of action was to take less action. To wait. To let things develop. All under some mysterious and made-up pretense that suggests that the truth simply reveals itself after enough time passes. It does not. Most people know this automatically. When there is an excessive arrogance and individuals feel they are above the rules, corruption follows. When that corruption is revealed, defiance often follows that. Acceptance of their lot in life rarely comes in situations like these. The fact is, the Paterno family will never acknowledge that their father has any culpability in Jerry Sandusky's actions or should be viewed as anything other than the man who was unreasonably elevated to godlike stature, complete with trophy and shrine.

Despite the yarns the locals loved to spin, Joe Paterno was not innocent nor ensconced in humility. He was -- and his family is -- arrogant and defiant and under the severely mistaken impression that nobody has any right to hold a man responsible for what went on under his watch. They'll gladly let him take credit for the good things that went on -- just not the horrific things. 

This lawsuit will drag on for quite some time. In the end, PSU will not benefit from it, nor will the football program. Joe Paterno's statue wasn't only taken down because we all learned he wasn't the angel everyone in central Pennsylvania insisted he was.-- it was taken down because PSU wanted to move on and put him in their past.

Camp Paterno is not nearly ready to allow that to happen.


zlionsfan said...

The Paternos and the Penn State fanatics driving this are like the guy who's already drunk when he shows up to the party, then gets wildly drunk, passes out, craps his pants, comes to, wants to keep drinking ... and gets angry when you show him the door. (I've actually seen this happen, sadly.)

They need to go home, clean up, sleep it off, then take a good look at themselves the next day and think about what actions they took to put themselves in that position.

Allen said...

Talk about a Streisand effect. I was just beginning to no longer associate PSU with child rape.

U-P Boiler said...

The defensive, paranoid, Circle The Wagons attitude of so many PSU fans is just as shocking and sad as the actions of the assistant coach/molester, the Head Coach, and the University itself.

It's also a sad reflection of what can happen in a relatively small town when an athletic program is held in such high esteem that residents are afraid to question anything surrounding it.

I learned that in the early 80's, fresh out of school in Tippecanoe County, when I happened on a well known athletic figure putting the drunken moves on a co-worker, loudly bragging of his status, assuming it would lead to sack time. The person in question wasn't 1/1000th as well known or as powerful as Jo Pa, or his assistant coach, but it I was made to understand that I had seen NOTHING.

Mommatried said...

Nothing good will come of this lawsuit. The ONLY good that can come out of thisAT ALL can be addressed in Paragraph 4, Sentence 3.

The Rug.

All too often this is referred to as "taboo" or " things we don't speak of." Those are terms I've heard from people who have lived with and PERPETUATED crimes considered felonies in every state and federal court in this nation.

Silence is an ill advised enabler. Wounds grow deeper. Perpetrators are embolden with power from the silent lips of their victims. And for those who know the perpetrator but were unaware of such crimes- their sad reality becomes their lives were also a lie.

Anyone that turns a blind eye to any abuse: physical, emotional, sexual or otherwise- is guilty too.

The rug is not the place for those victims to be placed. They don't want the reality they are victims of sexual abuse. They don't want to wake up everyday and face that reality.

But if a community collectively has a conversation about this- and if parents guard their little ones with such diligence that the people in their lives are accounted for- hopefully some of the exposure to risk is minimized.

The reality is this shit goes on everyday. Look around- you know someone who either a) currently is or has been abused or b) is the abuser.

Speak up.