Tag Archive | "“happy valley”"

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Reports: Paterno statue to be removed this weekend

Posted on 20 July 2012 by WNST Staff

NFL Network’s Kim Jones and CBS’ Bonnie Bernstein each Tweeted Friday news regarding the future of the Joe Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium.

Jones, a Penn State alum, said via Twitter “Am told that Penn State plans to take down the Paterno statue this weekend.” Bernstein said “Source: Penn State Board of Trustees voted on a conference call last night to take down Joe Paterno statue. Will happen this wknd.”

PSU officials however have not confirmed such reports when asked by various outlets. One actual denial of the report came from Daily Collegian (the student newspaper at Penn State) reporter Laura Nichols, who quoted Board member Ryan McCombie as saying “We did no such thing.”

The Paterno statue has been the subject of much debate since last week’s release of the Louis Freeh report on the Jerry Sandusky scandal in State College. Earlier in the a plane flew over Happy Valley with the message “take the statue down or we will.” A handful of Penn State students had camped out near the statue this week to protect it.

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Your Monday Reality Check: Cult of Paterno still dangerously strong

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Your Monday Reality Check: Cult of Paterno still dangerously strong

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Glenn Clark

Have you ever read the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson?

The story is quite famous. At Perry Hall High School I probably had to read it at least twice. Perhaps even if you haven’t read it you’d be familiar with one of the many pop culture references to the story.

Let me try to jog your memory a bit with an even shorter version of the short story. Every year, members of a village gather together for an event known as “the lottery.” One member of every household in the village grabs a slip of paper hoping to avoid grabbing the marked slip. After it is determined who picked the marked slip, every member of the person’s household re-selects slips. They then determine which household member has selected the marked slip and promptly stone that person to death.

Yep.

In the lottery captured by the short story, the marked slip was initially selected by Bill Hutchinson. His wife Tessie Hutchinson was the unfortunate “winner” of the lottery, bemoaning how the process was “unfair” before her end.

As gruesome as the story sounds, there’s such a level of brilliance to it. Particularly brilliant is how Jackson never really explains how the lottery came about or why the village continues to participate in the exercise. It is understood that some members of the village have discussed disbanding the lottery but the tradition continues nonetheless.

During the entire Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal that has engulfed Penn State University, I’ve thought about the short story over and over again. I thought about it the night PSU students rioted after the firing of head coach Joe Paterno. I thought about in the weeks and months after Paterno’s death. I’ve thought about it a ton during the days since the release of the Freeh Report.

I’ve thought about it because it has remained clear that the cult-like following of Paterno and Penn State football has somehow continued and the culture that enabled such heinous crimes to continue still very clearly exists.

I’ve mostly thought about it because I believe at least some if not many of the Cult of Paterno members have to be otherwise right-thinking individuals. I don’t know why those villagers kept going back to participate in the lottery year after year in Jackson’s story. I don’t know why a group of college-educated people choose to ignore (or at least excuse) fact and simply say they’ll support their former head coach anyway.

Maybe I shouldn’t say I don’t know why. I probably do. The fact is that the Cult of Paterno just doesn’t want to believe truth because they’ve already consumed the Kool-Aid. There is no going back. They’re not just members of the cult, they’ve become the foundation after the coach’s death.

(I want to take this time to point out what most other analysts have also done. This is not a conversation about everyone everywhere that has been connected to Penn State. This is a conversation about a particular group of people. Some Penn State students, alumni and fans have been able to stand up and accept the truth about their heroes and the football program they worship. I’ve had the good fortune of speaking to many of them in the past week. They deserve a great deal of credit. They are not part of the Cult of Paterno.)

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Penn State: The old boys club that ruined young boys lives

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Adam McCallister

“In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large.” – Louis Freeh

Joe lied.  Joe lied and continued to live that lie for 14 years.  During that time Jerry Sandusky was allowed full access of Penn State University, its facilities, alumni, donors, fans and children.  Now after reading the complete Freeh investigative report not only was Jerry allowed all of these amenities, when his “problem” was revealed, he was encouraged to be a Positive Action for Youth.

Joe was not alone.  Former University President Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and former University Vice President Gary Schultz all took part in this lie.  For those that were hoping for a silver lining to the disgusting story that has engulfed Penn State for the last eight months today gave no solace.

Since the press conference and the release of the report Thursday morning many different words have been used to try to describe and in some parts defend the actions of Paterno, Spanier, Schultz and Curley.  Misstep, mistake, slipped have been used by zealous Penn State fans coping with the fall of their idol to a former player interviewed on a large cable sports network to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company who now realizes he misspoke at Paterno’s memorial service.

Truth is none of these words describes what happened.  This was a conscious effort to lie and fabricate a false reality to preserve “Happy Valley”.  This was a lie used to preserve a coach’s legacy, a university and a football program.  This was a lie that ruined the lives of young boys. 

Young vulnerable boys that idolized Penn State football looking for something to believe in, they are the only victims in this story.  These lies enabled Jerry Sandusky and fed his grotesque appetite.  Innocent children who needed help and the leadership at Penn State ignored them.  The only help that they received was lip service behind closed doors that he was not to bring his “guests” into the Penn State facilities. 

“There is an over-emphasis on ‘The Penn State Way’ as an approach to decision-making, a resistance to seeking outside perspectives, and an excessive focus on athletics that can, if not recognized, negatively impact the university’s reputation as a progressive institution.” – Louis Freeh

For 61 years the Penn State Way was defined by Paterno’s “Grand Experiment”.  Honesty, integrity, loyalty, character this was the embodiment and Penn State brand.  In the wake of the report we now know it was more of do as I say not as I do.  The area around State College, PA feels remote and protected from the outside world.  Couple that with the apotheosis stature that Joe Paterno had reached and the blind trust fans and alumni afforded the University provided a breeding ground for corruption.  With great power comes great responsibility and in the darkest moment real character is revealed.  In both instances Penn State failed.

The four men who led this cover up of a monster for 14 years abused that power.  They spit on the character of the gospel they preached. 

“Bad publicity affects a panorama of different events including the brand of Penn State, including the university, including the reputation of coaches, including the ability to do fundraising. It’s got huge implications.” – Louis Freeh

In the report after Curley spoke with Joe and changed his mind on not reporting the 2001 incident Spanier responded, “The only downside for us if the message isn’t “heard” and acted upon than we become vulnerable for not having reported it.  But that can be addressed down the road.  The approach you outline is humane and a reasonable way to proceed.”

Well, here we are “down the road” addressing it.  And because Paterno, Spanier, Curley and Schultz did not report it Sandusky now sits in jail after being found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of sexually assaulting young boy’s.  None of the testimony sounded humane or reasonable.

In the end the old boys club at Penn State lied and Sandusky was allowed to continue to prey and rape young boys because to report it might tarnish Penn State’s reputation, its football program and fundraising.  Never once did anyone think to report it might save the life of another helpless victim.  That truly would have been the reasonable and humane way to proceed.

 

 

 

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