PSU Controversy from a Pittsburgh Point of View

I feel as though I’ve been under a rock, between my husband’s uncle passing away and our trip to New Jersey and the sinus infection that has been making me miserable all week. I have heard bits and pieces of the Penn State scandal, although the first I had heard of it was on while we were driving home on Monday. I really think Ginny put it best:

An excerpt (read the full version at

And here’s where I get super pissed. You guys, would you have walked out? I don’t understand this. I’m trying, because no one else seems to be angry at the GA, so maybe I’m missing something. I wouldn’t have walked out. If it was my son being raped, I wouldn’t have wanted the witness to walk out. If I was the witness, I would have lathered up all of my rage and I would have gone biblical on Jerry Sandusky. I would have marched into that shower and I would have beat the shit out of him. I realize you can’t really say for sure what you would have done, but I feel very confident that I would have beat the shit out of Jerry Sandusky. I would have grabbed that naked boy and I would have thrown a towel around him and told him it was going to be okay and that Jerry was going away for a long time.

That didn’t happen. The GA walked out and left that boy to the monster. No one else seems angry about that. I don’t understand why.

That GA went to Paterno the next day, and boy, my rage fires up again. You go to Paterno after witnessing the rape of a boy?! Why? WHY? Why not the cops? It’s unfathomable.

Paterno then called his boss. And my rage fires up again. You go to your boss after being told that a boy was raped by your longtime employee and friend just the night before? Now Paterno claims the GA didn’t tell him exactly what he saw and that it was just something such as “fondling” or of a “sexual nature” and that since Sandusky was retired he reported it to his boss rather than authorities. These are the facts of the case.

And here is where I don’t understand why every single person isn’t enraged at Joe Paterno.

She goes on, and calls for Paterno’s firing, which he rightly was.

On the flip side, being a Pittsburgh girl, we tend to be divided into either Pitt or Penn State fans (they love to “hate” each other). I have a lot of friends and relatives who are Penn State alumni or fans. Their reactions have been different. They are really proud of their school. They spent four years in the Penn State, JoePa culture. They are used to cheering for the Nittany Lions, to going to Joe’s House dressed in blue and white, to chanting “We are Penn State!” with pride. And now they have the whole country looking at their beloved college and wondering how this happened. The country is looking at their PSU father figure and telling them that he is bad. And they’re mad. And they’re sharing that on Facebook and Twitter quite loudly.

I don’t blame them, I would be mad too. I would be mad at my college for taking it’s good name and dragging it through the mud. I would be mad at Joe Paterno for taking a nearly 50 year legacy and flushing it down the toilet over a 1 minute phone call that he never made. I would be mad at those who were trashing my school for something a few people did (or, in most cases, did not do).

What seems to be left out of this conversation, however, are the victims. These boys who were left in the hands of a child rapist and continued to be victimized as adults like Joe Paterno, Mike McQueary, Timothy Curley, Gary Schulz and Graham Spainer knew what Sandusky was doing and did nothing to stop it. There is an alumni named Jerry Needel who wanted to turn the focus back to helping the victims and created the He is collecting money for the victims and encourages all 500,000+ PSU alumns to donate at last one dollar.

I appreciate what Jerry is doing. Instead of trashing his college campus and the surrounding area, instead of complaining about the beating PSU is taking, he is doing the right thing, helping those who were hurt the most. I would be proud to be a Penn Stater too, but since I’m not a PSU graduate, I’ll just have to settle for helping the victims with a few bucks. I encourage you to donate as well.

I want to leave with a clip from The Daily Show, where Jon Stewart nailed it (h/t @fsmikey).

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