Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rise and Rally Didn't Reverse Redd

Silas Redd became the first (that I know of) PSU player to jump ship since the NCAA Nazi's announced their grand plan to judge criminal cases destroy the Nittany Lions.  He will dress as a Trojan this Halloween season.  I think he made a bad choice, but I wish him only the best.

This morning, a lot of fans and supporters showed up for the Rise and Rally.
An estimated crowd of 3,000 welcomed the Penn State football players for a workout this morning, just a week after the program was hit with severe NCAA violations.
The gathering outside the Lasch Building cheered and clapped as the players arrived — greeted at the door of the football building by Sue Paterno, wife of the late Joe Paterno.
I imagine that Rodney Erickson will issue an apology tomorrow.  Holuba Hall will be bull dozed and a tree will be planted because anything less means that we support child sex abuse.

Anyway, here's some Youtube Video of the event.  Enjoy!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

50 Shades of Blue

Do you still proudly wear your blue and white?

I ask this question because I have seen the issue pop up on two different message boards.  On BWI the question was asked:

Would you feel embarrassed to wear PSU gear outside of Pennsylvania? Saw a poor gal in Nashville yesterday get heckled by several people at a mall while wearing PSU shirt! I felt bad for the gal but think this is probably happening all over the U.S.
Among the responses were these:
I live in Nashville and I wear psu gear all the time. Never been heckled. I have been pleasantly surprised by support. People with a brain realize the tragedy was more about one man...Sandusky.
Not many people have run into any problems.
But on the Audibles messageboard, are some different stories:
I live in Northern Virginia. Some guy went up to my wife at a gas station. She has a Penn State sticker on her car. And the guy went up to my wife and asked her if she was going to take that sticker off. My wife is 4'11, so it obviously it took a lot of balls to go up to a small woman and ask that.

We had someone say "if JoePa were alive, he'd be going to jail".
On Monday, a Mid-30s woman rather sarcastically stated "Nice PSU sticker" on the back of my vehicle, I responded with something along the lines of "Yeah it's been a rough couple of weeks" to which she said "I can't believe you haven't taken that down" All I gave her was a hairy eyeball and a "Why?" to which she walked away.

I live in California now also, my co-workers all now hate Penn State and believe the program should be shut down. I wear hats and t-shirts and have been asked twice why i support child rape. My Mother, who is a PSU Grad 1966, is now afraid to wear her PSU clothes due to remarks she gets - she is way less confrontainal than I am.

I was at the local Sheetz when I was told by a mid 50's lady that I should be embarrassed to have a PSU Alumni Assoc license plate on my car. . . I looked at her in shock and then asked her why I should be embarrassed of a group of students that raise millions for cancer, a football team that has the highest grad rate in D1 football, etc. . . Of course, I live just outside Pittsburgh and she was probably a Pitt Alum...

The week that the news hit in November, someone was honking at my wife and pulled up to her at a light. Started yelling at her about the Penn State magnets on the car. It really shook her.
I have never had a magnet stolen in 10 years in my town (had a bunch over the years coming up for games) but someone took the 4 mini paws from her car. (she later found them on the ground in the parking lot at work). . . But I still don't let my 9 year old son or 6 year old daughter wear PSU stuff when I am not around. You just never know who will say something. And they really don't understand what happened.
Now to be fair, there were more positive or neutral experiences reported than those I sifted out.

As for myself, I generally wear Penn State logo clothing more often than not.  My lab coat at work has a Penn State logo on it, as do two pairs of surgical scrubs (I also have a black pair of Steeler logo scrubs as well.)  And while I do have clothing that is not Penn State, per se, the majority of that clothing is blue or white to match most of the rest of the stuff I wear.  I have 18 Penn State ties, although two of them are identical because I didn't have the heart to tell someone that gave one to me as a gift that I already had that one--they were so excited to give it to me!) In contrast, I have ONE red shirt--I wear it on Valentine's Day, Christmas and Pentecost Sunday.  That's pretty much it.  Really can't stand the color.  I'll wear brown occasionally (after all, JoePa went to Brown!) and green if not's too Spartanish.

But this past week, after the NCAA raping sanctioning of Penn State, I made a point to wear my Penn State clothing EVERY DAY.  I was amazed by the number of comments I received.  I had at least half a dozen people tell me that they were so glad I was STILL supporting the school.  This generally led to a brief discussion about how unfair the sanctions were, the players were not responsible, JoePa has become the scapegoat who can't defend himself any longer, etc.

Of course, I work in Altoona, a stone's throw from State College and in the backyard of the Altoona Campus.  This is LION COUNTRY.  So the data points are skewed.

I had a woman approach me at the surgery center where I operate and thank me for wearing my PSU scrubs.  She went on to say that she worked at Penn State Altoona and things "were really bad."  I'm not sure what she meant by that, but I assume it is a morale thing.  She wouldn't answer my questions to elaborate, but just kept shaking her head and looking like she was trying to hold back tears.

I have actually had requests for tickets to the Ohio game.  Not the Ohio State game, but the season opener.  I can't remember the last time someone contacted me about tickets to a home opener.  I don't think I had requests for Miami in 2001 or Arizona in 1999!  And while the last decade of home openers have been against less than marquee level opponents, I sure as hell wouldn't put Ohio up there.

No.  This isn't about the opponent on the field.  It's about the evil that has leeched off Sandusky and seeped into State College like an unwanted bloodstain.  Out, Out, damned spot!

It is US against the WORLD.

This is about supporting the team, just as the wearing of Blue and White.

This is the time to rally the troops, circle the wagons, and separate the wheat from the chaff, in other words, a time for trite cliches.  But you get the point.

Despite what the lawyers, ESPN and other media outlets say, PENN STATE DID NOT RAPE THOSE CHILDREN.  The actual evidence suggests that the leaders discussed the sitiuation and whatever plan of action they took, it was unfortunate that the crimes went on.

But Penn State did not cover-up a decade of child molestation as the media is so fond of quoting.  At best, the administration of Penn State knew of one instance (2001) and it is far from clear exactly what was transmitted to them at that time.  Horsing around in the shower and rape are two vastly different things, and I pray that the upcoming trials of Curley and Schultz will finally shed some light on the truth in that matter. 

To suggest that Penn State KNEW about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky--and covered it up--is ludicrous.  IT WAS INVESTIGATED.  The police were involved.  The DA was involved.  Everything that everyone is screaming didn't happen in 2001 already happened in 1998!  They had witnesses--the mother and her child.  And yet Sandsuky still went free.  There was not enough evidence to prosecute.  IF Penn State officials knew of the 1998 event, then they also knew that no charges were ever made.  And while that doesn't necessarily mean innocence, it is certainly implied.

There has not been one shred of evidence that any crime by Sandusky other than the 2001 shower incident, was ever known to any of the Penn State admnistrators involved in this.  To suggest they continued to cover up Sandusky's acts is simply wrong and unfathomable.  In fact, it wasn't a cover-up.  You don't report the incident up the chain of command if you are covering something up.

If Joe Paterno wanted to cover this up, his best opportunity to do so was when McQueary first appeared in his office.

"Mike, let me handle this.  I know Sandusky.  I'll take care of this.  It's a sensitive matter, so don't say anything to anyone.  By the way, I'm thinking you would be a great addition to our coaching staff.  You've been great as a graduate assistant.  You let me handle this and I'll put you on the sideline as a coach.  How does that sound?"

But that exchange never took place.  Nothing in the record suggests that Paterno ever tried to cover anything up.  One obscure email taken out of context suggests that Curley wanted to change his mind after talking to Paterno, but what was exactly said has not been on record.

Could it be that Joe said something like this?:

"Tim, this is a touchy issue, no pun intended.  I don't know if we have much evidence here--kind of like that thing that supposedly happened in 1998.  We have to report this, because we can't let kids get hurt if this really is true.  But there's a chance that it could blow up in our faces.  Maybe they were just horsing around.  Sandusky could sue us for libel or slander.  He's already been cleared once.  The media could get hold of it and really make us look bad.  But we have to take that chance.  We have to report this."

So Mr. Curley, after hearing this, decides he doesn't want to report it because Joe painted such a dismal picture and now that he's thought through the possibilitites, he wants to take a different approach.  Not because Joe told him to shut up and cover it up, but exactly the opposite.

Well, maybe it didn't happen that way.  But maybe it did.  The available evidence suggests it could be either one.  Or maybe a third or fourth not yet considered.  Maybe the email wasn't even referring to the decision to report or not, but some other aspect of their investigation into the matter.  Who knows?  (Only the Shadow, and he ain't speaking right now.)

At any rate, Penn State did not cover up sexual abuses for a decade.  At the very worst, they made a wrong decision about ONE episode.  THEY HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT ABUSE WAS ON-GOING.  That's not minimizing what happened or rationalizing.  That is a conclusion based on actual evidence, not the dreamworld supposition of the Freeh Report.  And how the NCAA feels it can blame the football program on any level is beyond me, it is simply over the top to vacate wins back to 1998.  How in the bloody hell is it Joe's fault that the DA didn't press charges in 1998?  And now the forger's of the Freeh Report are upset that the NCAA used it as a basis for punishment.  Can this drama get any carzier???

In any event, wear your blue and white.  Whatever shade of blue.  Wear it proudly.

And I hope to see you at Beaver Stadium on September 1st.

PSU Gear. . . Not just for football anymore!
GO STATE!  BEAT BOBCATS!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

NCAA Authority Questioned

From a comment I received . . .
I have a bigger question for the author.
It appears to me that Mark Emmert's Q&A this morning (at the presser) revealed terms and conditions on the origins of the $60 million in penalty fines.
Specifically, members of the media asked Mr. Emmert about whether or not the $60 million in fines would be originating from budgets for other sports or academic programs.
According to this report at ESPN, the $60 million fine "will not come from taxpayers". ESPN claims that it will "come from a savings account within the athletic department".

As a donor to collegiate athletics (not Penn state), this is very troubling. I am now questionning the legitimacy of any financial contribution to any Division 1 school for any type of program. After all, why would I release contributions to the university, if the NCAA or other body can effectively seize my contribution and reallocate it per their directive?
Does the NCAA have the legal authority to impose financial damages on a governmental entity like a state funded university like Penn State?
Mark Emmert's decision strips the board of directors of the ability to allocate and control accounted funds. The bank handling Penn State must be quite upset about losing these funds and must be very concerned about where these $60 million are going.
More importantly, the legislature of a sovereign US state government must now allocate taxpayer funds to balance budget at the university. While ESPN may report that the funds are not originating in tax payer accounts, the funds were clearly offsetting and preventing the use of tax payer funds.
Now, the NCAA is virtually guaranteeing that the state of Pennsylvania must come up with the balance regardless of the ability to allocate state funds of $60 million?
If the savings account is funded with proceeds and contributions from donors, then the NCAA has stripped capital from Penn State and effectively that stolen capital comes from the people of Central and Western Pennsylvania.
This is NOT a minor issue as there are only about 300,000 working people around Central Penn. Effectively, the NCAA action creates a tax on the 300,000 working people of Central Penn due to the decision of a NCAA bureaucrat in Indiana.
The NCAA is not a federal tax authority and it is not a federal governmental agency.
The US Congress has given a unique regulatory position to NCAA, but it has not abdicated the role of the US Congress in regulating interstate commerce.
I am not aware of any other instance where the criminal misconduct of one individual and the unproven allegations of NON-conduct by three other individuals equated to a fiscal and fiduciary impact upon tax payers of one state to the benefit of another state.
This situation is now a federal jurisdictional issue with utter failure of the NCAA leadership to appropriately contain the legal impact of this case.
NCAA did not handle this matter correctly because they are acting across state lines and with this action have created an probable unconstitutional violation of law.
The student athlete's have lost due process rights in this action and while the court process would take longer than a transfer of the student, the disruption alone merits consideration of immediate filing of federal objections in the US District of choice (likely Washington DC).
Your thoughts?
You can't handle my thoughts!  Unfortunately, I am not a legal expert nor an accountant.  Dammit Jim, I'm just a doctor. 

But I will ramble on as best I can.

As I see it, the University has a limited number of revenue sources:  Tax dollars, contributions, tuition, interest/dividends on investments, and sale of real property or hard assets. The latter is probably not worth including but land possession, buildings, equipment etc. is certainly of value, but probably not germaine to this discussion, i.e. we're not going to sell off the Berks campus to pay this fine.  The University also makes money on the sale of merchandise, but I do not know that figure, and I don't know where that money is spent in the general budget.

So if the NCAA demands that the money not come from taxpayers, then it must come from the other four sources:  donations, tuition, investment income, or tax dollars.

Each year, the total budget is allocated from monies from these various sources.  Two possibilities then exist.  Penn State will either have to decrease it's operating budget by $12 million dollars a year for five years, or expect a higher contribution from the sources other than taxes, to make up the difference.  It's like the Laws of Thermodynamics--matter cannot be created or destroyed, but it can change form. 

It is not reasonable to suggest a $12 million dollar increase in tuition rates, or to allow enough extra new students to enroll to make up that difference.  Besides, to accommodate that many extra students, the total budget would also have to expend money for more professors, classrooms, etc.

And while the powers that be insist that the money will not come from taxes, that leaves just donations or investment income (interest on money previously donated presumably) to cover the cost.

Now the Nittany Lion club has reported profits of $8-12 million dollars in recent years (income in excess of expenses) so perhaps there is some pool of money in the athletic department to draw this from.  If not, I don't think the athletic department by itself can afford that cash particularly in light of bowl bans and loss of revenue related to the sanctions.

So either Penn State will have to cut other sports programs, or money will have to be diverted from other sources to cover expenses that were previously covered by the athletic department.

But the point you bring up is valid . . . "Does the NCAA have the legal authority to impose financial damages on a governmental entity like a state funded university like Penn State?"

I don't think so, but I am not a lawyer.  I don't think the NCAA had any business in this whatsoever.  I cannot off the top of my head recall the last time a school was penalized financially by the NCAA--i.e. a direct fine.  They have shut programs down (SMU) and they vacate wins, limit scholarships, and bowl appearances etc.  But I think fining a member institution is breaking fairly unexplored ground.  Certainly the dollar amount is extraordinary.  I don't know the NCAA by-laws well enough to know what each member agrees to when they sign on.

What appears quite clear, though, is that our leaders at Penn State have no intention of fighting this battle with the NCAA.  I don't know if some other organization can take up the torch or not.  If it is a violation of state or federal law, then the US Attorney General or State AG will have to handle that.  Here in PA, though, I ain't holding my breath.

At the end of the day, Penn State broke no NCAA rule, the only two people associated with the football team (McQueary and Paterno) both REPORTED the incident, and the penalties do nothing to help the victims that the University hasn't already offered.

As I overheard today . . .

 I think my football team was raped . . . but I don't know who to report it to!

Pea-Nits Cartoon

Monday, July 23, 2012

Apology Not Accepted

After the Media Storm . . .

NCAA Declares US Constitution Unconstitutional

Well, they may as well have.

According to Satan ESPN,
The NCAA has hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban and a vacation of all wins dating to 1998, the organization said Monday morning.
Did the NCAA even investigate this?  Do they realize that the charges actually facing PSU administrators have not even been proven in a court of law yet?  Does our US Constitution not guarantee us a right to due process?  I guess that doesn't matter if the brainiacs at ESPN believe that the football culture needs to change.


Fried Nittany Lion is Today's Special!

Here's a blog entry by a LAWYER about the situation:

According to ESPN and other media organizations, NCAA president Mark Emmert has elected to issue sanctions on Monday (July 23, 2012) against Pennsylvania State University, including a loss of scholarships and a multiple-year bowl ban. If the media reports are true, then the NCAA has charted an unprecedented, and perhaps unconstitutional, course of action. Federal and state courts have consistently held that membership organizations, including athletics associations like the NCAA, are required to provide procedures that protect their members against arbitrary and irrational action. Thus, an NCAA rule or decision cannot be applied unreasonably so that it creates different classes of schools. Accordingly, any NCAA sanction against Penn State at this stage may potentially violate federal and state notions of due and fair process for several reasons, including, but not limited to:
1.The conduct of Penn State and its employees, no matter how egregious, is not a violation of an existing NCAA rule. In fact, according to available information, the NCAA has never interpreted, or issued sanctions under, existing rules to address only criminal violations (or the cover-up of criminal violations). Further, the NCAA has chosen to make criminal activity an NCAA rules-violation in limited circumstances (i.e., Bylaw 10.2 (Knowledge of Use of Banned Drugs) and Bylaw 31.2.3.4 (Banned Drugs))—and the activities described in the report by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh are not addressed in the NCAA Division I Manual.

2.The NCAA did not establish and publish a process and procedure to address the issues relevant in Penn State’s case. Instead, the NCAA is utilizing an ad-hoc process that has not been explained fully to the membership or the public.

3.The NCAA is not adhering to its existing enforcement processes and procedures.

4.The NCAA is treating Penn State differently than other schools that were involved in sexual assault scandals or other serious criminal misconduct.

5.The NCAA failed to provide Penn State: (a) a written notice of allegations; (b) an opportunity to respond to the notice of allegations; (c) a hearing before an NCAA infractions committee to address the allegations; and (d) a process for an appeal of NCAA findings and sanctions.

As legal counsel for colleges and universities before NCAA committees, we are extremely concerned about the possible NCAA actions and urge the organization to comply with its existing processes and procedures to address the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. In addition, based on our review of the Freeh report, the issues facing Penn State are best left in the expert hands of the criminal and civil courts, the federal Departments of Justice and Education, the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the relevant accrediting agencies.
The BOT and President Erickson will not fight this.  I don't know why.  Perhaps they are covering up an even bigger story, but I speculate there.

I can only hope that a class action suit driven by alumni or State College business interests can put an end to this madness.

ESPN thinks that Penn State needs to change their football culture.  well, Penn State fans, welcome to Mao's, Emmerts, the Cultural Revolution.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Now Is OUR Time!

Penn State Blue Band Drum Major Ian Kenny wrote a very eloquent blog entry about his thoughts and moving on . . .
There is one thing I am certain about - one unmistakable fact of this entire scandal that most people outside of Centre Country, Pennsylvania come up way short on. I personally did not cover up, condone, approve, and allow Jerry Sandusky's actions to happen. Neither did any other student at the university, neither did any professor, and neither did any fan of Penn State. It's unfortunate enough that the lives of at least ten children were tarnished in an unfathomable way. What I can’t understand is why the media and the rest of the world are trying to pull the students of the university under the bus is beyond me.

“Our students will be the ones to bring us out of this.” It brings to mind a recent series of TV and print advertisements for the university with the seemingly ever-present logo with “It’s Your Time” encased in a circle. Well, it really is our time now. While we don’t have the individual power to make the big decisions, or undo what has been done, we do have the power to be heard and do great things. We have the chance to go out into the world and dedicate our lives to making a good name for our university.
Are we going to give in to the terrorists?  A plane flies overhead saying "Take down the statue, or we will!"  And our school president and BOT announce they will "make a decision" about the statue within a week.  Seriously, if a plane flew over Virginia with a banner that read, "Take down the Washington Monument, or we will," what would your reaction be?  Would Obama announce that he and Congress will announce a decision within a week?  If you think the statue should come down, what in the wide, wide world of sports are you thinking?


"We Have Nothing to Fear but fear itself.  And ESPN."

What decision is to be made?  If you take it down, the terrorists have won.  The vocal minority have won.  The media has won.

And what of the victims?  Have they won?  Does this make them feel better?  Does this in any way, shape, or form diminish their past or present suffering?  One victim and his mother are angry at Paterno.  But another victim allegedly stated that he respected Joe Paterno, Penn State and hoped that his testimony--his day in court--his justice--wouldn't condemn the football program or harm it in any way.  Okay, I paraphrased that, but you get the picture.  I'm sorry but I went back to the message board to find a link for that, but I couldn't.  Maybe I made it up.  Maybe someone is covering it up.  I digress.

Respecting Joe Paterno for his accomplishments and enjoying Penn State football games do not mean that one condones what happened, or pedophilia in general.  I respect that mother's right to hate to Joe Paterno.  I hope and pray that she respects my right (and perhaps hundreds of thousands of others' rights) to celebrate the good that Joe Paterno did.

There is absolutely no one on the current team that had any responsibility for what happened or how it was handled.  Larry Johnson?  Vanderlinden?  Spider?  Give me a break.  The players and recruits and the new coaches had nothing to do with any of this.  The fans of the program had nothing to do with this.  The business and economy of Centre County had nothing to do with this and should not be penalized by a "death penalty."  A death penalty for the football program is a death warrant for sure for many local businesses and for a fair number of the other sports programs at the University which depend on football revenue to finance their scholarships and expenses.

So is it all about the money?  Well, sadly, a large part of it is.  But is it all about football?  Is it all about the football culture?  Or could it just possibly be all about Sandusky himself.  Or a way to deflect attention from the other conspirators in this cover-up like The Second Mile and perhaps Corbett?  As far as the scandal is concerned, the players in this Greek tragedy are no longer part of the institution.  Paterno is dead.  Spanier--gone.  McQueary---gone.  Schultz--retired and awaiting judgment.  Curley--on leave and likewise awaiting justice.  Sandusky--in jail.  But Corbett is still an ex officio member of the BOT.  Interesting.

Is it really necessary to tear down that statue (or move it)?  Who does that hurt?  Joe is dead.  It will hurt his family.  It will hurt some fans.  Maybe past players.  But does it really help the victims?  Isn't that what is important?  We keep hearing that football isn't more important than the safety of children (it isn't and I wouldn't argue otherwise), but if that is the case, explain to me in rational terms how moving this statue is going to help healing and not hurt other innocent people.


Is it the fans' fault that Paterno allegedly made a bad decision?

Is it his family's fault?

And will the terrorists stop there?  I fear not.  The next demand will be to have his name expunged from the record books.  Take the statue.  Take the wins.  Take the record.  Take the name off the library.  Take his books out of the bookstore, his image off anything within a 100 miles of the campus, and we will never say his name again.  You can almost feel the relief of the victims now with this weight is gone. 

I'm sorry if that sounded insensitive. . . it's sarcasm idiots.

The statue needs to stand.  Funny thing, I never thought the thing was appropriate in the first place.  But It's now a symbol of just what Paterno did that was great; not what he allegedy didn't do or failed to do.  He was a great coach and did more for young people in his lifetime than most of us will ever dream of.  That statue was put there because he made Penn State a better place, not because he was a terrific criminal investigator who brought down surreptitious sex offenders.   His inability to do that should not be the reason the statue is removed.

Likewise, if the BOT or the NCAA sanction the football program, then they are WRONG.  Don't give me that lack of institutional control garbage.  Check it out.  The NCAA is the National Collegiate ATHLETIC association.  This isn't Miami where players are involved in Ponzi schemes.  This isn't about free tattoos or special treatment of players.  Cuz guess what haters?  No football players were involved.  Hellooo, McFly?  It ain't an athletic problem and the NCAA needs to tuck their tail and get the hell out of Dodge before someone drops a house on their head.

Why do NCAA sanctions not stop programs from breaking the rules?  Does sanctioning Penn State somehow magically guarantee that this will never happen again?  If an NCAA sanction means that the school will never go astray again, I guess we can be pretty sure that Ohio State will never cheat again.  Ever.  Yeah, like that's bloody likely going to happen.

So not only are you trying to approach a criminal offense and prevent it with athletic sanctions, but you know deep down that it won't keep something like this from ever happening again.

All you really do is hurt innocent people.  Is that what it has come to in this country?  Two wrongs to make a right?  An eye for an eye?  God forbid, I'm an eye surgeon and I don't want to be that busy!

And do we really want the NCAA using their authority to execute criminal justice?  If they even sniff or play games with wrist slaps here, it sets a dangerous precedent.  Any coach or player that gets arrested and convicted could bring sanctions to the program.  Is that really the direction we want to go here?

And again, if Penn State makes a token gesture to limit scholarships or not play in a bowl game, does that really help any of the victims one tiny iota?

Really?  Ask yourself that.  Because if it isn't about the victims, what is it about?

It is our time, Penn State . . .

Stop bickering about statues, and figure out how to fix the administrative system that led to this problem.

Healing is not about HATE.  Help the victims; not the haters.

Are we mice or Lions?

Are we . . . Penn State?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

If It Cost $6.5 Million, Is It Really Freeh?

Joe clearly voted for Al Gore!
By now, you have probably read and/or heard about the release of the Freeh Report on Penn State regarding the Sandusky scandal.  Chances are pretty good you heard some misinformation.

I'm a little late in getting this all posted as I was on vacation when the report was leaked released.  That evening, I sat at a table in a restaurant near Virginia Beach with a television above my head that paraded a variety of images as it attempted to "inform" the viewers.  I saw the Penn State logo.  Joe Paterno.  The football team.  I don't recall ever seeing Sandusky.  Wasn't he the guy actually found guilty of a crime???  But I digress.

You can read the Freeh report here.  Interestingly, I couldn't get the download to work on the actual website:  http://www.thefreehreportonpsu.com/.  Good luck with that.

There are those, such as fellow blogger The Nittany Turkey, who say that I should just get on with my grief and the K├╝bler-Ross stages thereof and accept the report, rather than trying to criticize it.  Well, that's not bloody likely gonna happen on this blog.

The problem is not that I have a blind, overwhelming devotion to Joe Paterno.  Although I respected and admired him immensely, I am more a devotee of truth.  And while the general public may accept the Freeh Report as unshakable, undeniable proof . . . I, for one, do not.

First of all, how do you spend $6.5 million on a report?  Seriously.  In an age where the Federal Deficit is measured in trillions, most of us pass over that little piece of information as though it is negligible.  It is expected.  It wouldn't be a good report if it wasn't over priced.

If you hired a thousand workers to process the information (and I doubt they hired that many) that amounts to $6,500 per person.  Another way to look at it:  the report is 267 pages long.  That amounts to $24,344.57 per page, and the actual report didn't start until seven pages of contents.  They supposedly interviewed 430 people--that's $15,116.28 per interview.)

BUT they did not interview Joe Paterno, Tim Curley, Jerry Sandusky, Schultz, outside legal counsel Wendell Courtney, PSU Director of Public Safety Tom Harmon, NCIS star Mark Harmon, and Mike McQueary, among others.

Chief Investigator Freeh
Isn't that like doing a report on the New Testament, but not including anything from Jesus or his disciples?

We interview everyone EXCEPT the actual participants . . . and call it FACT?  Are we as a society really that stupid or gullible???

Do you know that Karen Peetz, Chairman of the Board of Trustees is/was a member of the special investigations task force?  Her name is buried in small print at the bottom of page 8 in footnote a.  Doesn't that present a bias?  Conflict of interest?  If you were investigating Enron (Exxon--name any major corporation that did something wrong) and you put the Chairman of the Board on the investigating committee, wouldn't there be public outcry?

I could go on and on, but Marc Rubin has a fairly good analysis of the faults of the report on Tom In Paine.

Here are a few excerpts:
The great irony of the Freeh Report is that one of its most quoted statements was that there were "red flags all over the place" that should have alerted people to Sandusky and were ignored.
But that applies even more so to the Freeh Report itself except the evidence of the report being incompetetent, dishonest and the product of polititcal hackery is more obvious than any red flags Freeh claims wee apparent with Sandusky. And as expected these red flags are being ignored by the news media who have their own ground to defend, their own myths to perpetuate and then there are those who will swallow almost anything they are told by the media.

As for ?Freeh himself, the Board of Trustees who has botched every possible decison from the beginning couldnt have made a worse decision in choosing Freeh to do the investigation. As pointed out here the other day, Freeh had the reputation in Washington DC of being a political hack. He was excoriated by former Republican governor Tom Kane as Chairman of the 911 Commission who tore Freeh to shreds for his incompetence as FBI director in his handling of terrorist related intelligence prior to 911. And as recently as April of 2012, appearing before a congressional committee, Freeh was battered by the committee investigating the bankruptcy of MF Global for which Freeh and his group were overseeing, for Freeh's refusal to turn over relevant documents to federal regulators.


All indications were that the Freeh Report was going to be the product of a political hack. And the report did not disappoint.

Freeh forgets one important fact: within days of the story breaking back in November, Paterno called a press conference where he was going to tell everything he knew, everything he heard and everything he did regarding the Sandusky incident and was going to take questions from reporters. It was Penn State university officials and the Board of Trustees who forced him to cancel it. So right from the beginning who does the evidence show was trying to shield Penn State from bad publicity? Joe Paterno or the Board of Trustees who paid Freeh $ 6 million for his report?

Freeh claims a 1998 email from Curley to Schultz proves that Paterno knew all about Sandusky . . . To an ethical investigator that email would be a lead NOT proof. Why does Curley refer to Paterno as "Joe" in other emails and "Coach" in this one? How do we know this relates to the Sandusky investigation involving child abuse? Where are the corroborating emails that make this clear when on would think there would be many? Where are Harmon's emails confirming this? And most importantly why does the Freeh report say " the reference to Coach is believed to be Paterno".
 
One other crucial point: the 1998 investigation which included a psychologist interviewing both Sandusky and the children he showered with and said their accounts were the same found that NO ABUSE had taken place. If one wants to argue that Paterno knew of the investigation then one has to accept he knew about the results of the investigation and those results exonerated Sandusky of any wrong doing. In that case there would be nothing for Paterno to do.

And there is much more in the original article.  Later, in another blog post, he writes:
On July 7, Don Vanatta, a writer for ESPN Magazine, writing on the leaked emails wrote:
'A source who has reveiwed all the early 2001 emails said that the few that have been leaked 'are definitely out of context' "
Vanatta went on to say that his source who has seen all the emails suggested that the one email used by CNN to make insinuations about Paterno was selectively leaked to put everyone in the worst possible light.
John Ziegler echoes many of these problems with the evidence of this report.

I'm sorry, but I simply don't understand how people can look at the whole picture here and not have serious issues.

Why were the emails leaked?  For what purpose?  The Freeh Report states that it evaluated 3.5 million pieces of electronic information but we are going to bludgeon Paterno in his grave over one or two?

Personally, when it was first released, I inferred from the email that Curley--on his own--decided to change the game plan and not report.  Curley was the one uncomfortable.  There was no "we" in that email.  Curley's a bright man.  He may not have been able to schedule a decent football opponent, but he ran a big business at Penn State and if he thought Paterno was trying to coerce things against the others, then he would have said so.  I don't think Joe used email.  Joe would not know what he said in those emails.

Now all this is not to say that there aren't some redeeming things to come of this report.

First of all, child molestation is a horrible, despicable crime.  It is important for Penn State to implement some policies and procedures so that people know what to do when/if something like this occurs.  I personally think that a big part of this whole mess was that no one was adequately prepared to evaluate the situation and make a decision to report or not report.

I continue to maintain that it is far too easy for us in 2012, with the benefit of hindsight, i.e. knowing all the different victim scenarios, to condemn those involved in 2001.  We will never know what Joe actually said to Curley.  We won't ever know what McQueary told them, although we might know what he thinks he recalls telling them and there is an important difference there.  Hopefully, the upcoming trials of Curley and Schultz will clear some of this up, but probably not.

Secondly, if the BOT wants to throw their weight around, then they better get a better handle on things.  There are people that automatically assume that Joe HAD to know everything.  I feel as though there had to be some BOT members, perhaps with Second Mile ties, that HAD to know something was going on.  But it's not clear to me whether their emails were included in all that "evidence."

Mistakes WERE made.  By people.  Perish the thought.  Unfortunately, innocent children suffered at the hands of Sandusky.  I honestly don't think Sandusky would have been stopped in 2001, anymore than he was stopped in 1998.  The only way I see a guaranteed different outcome is if McQueary had brought police into the shower that night.  Without a victim and with only his wishy-washy what-exactly-did-I-tell-Joe/my Dad/Dr. Dranov/Curley testimony, I'm not sure what anyone could have reasonably concluded at that time.  But extrapolating those mistakes to prove a cover-up to protect Penn State is like trying to decipher the intent of the voter from an ambiguous ballot.

Finally, let's pray that something like this never happens again.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!