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
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.