We are all familiar with the pedophile’s playground that was Penn State. We gazed on in horror and disgust at the structural and institutional abuse that was allowed to go on. We downloaded the Freeh Report, an independent review that looked into the abuse of Jerry Sandusky, and read in shock as the details unfolded on how this was permitted to continue for so long. The report was the basis and rationale for the NCAA dropping an incredibly harsh penalty that was designed to severely punish the football program for creating a culture that, at a bare minimum, allowed this to occur and not be reported.
In the roughly seven months since the release of the Freeh report, Penn State and the rest of us have been able to succeed on closing this chapter and begin healing some of the wounds. I will not speak to the damage done to the victims, because that is their own and no one can begin to understand what this all means to them. The Nittany Lions had a great football season (by B1G standards anyway) and the university took some steps to move forward.
Today the scab over that wound was picked off by the Paterno family (I bet they ate it) with the release of their privately commissioned report, “A Rush to Injustice”. While I understand the desire to protect the image of the disgraced and deceased football coach, there really is no good that can come of it. It comes off like a child trying to rationalize their bad behavior.
The main claims of the Paterno Family report is that the investigation was done inappropriately and that JoePa never attempted to hide any information or hamper any investigation. First, the Freeh Report was by no means perfect, but attacking it for any deficiencies is like the pot calling the kettle black; the Paterno Report suffers from the same short comings such as lack of subpoena power and access to information. Secondly, nobody gives two craps that Joe did not hide information; it is that he did not scream it out while leading the charge to serve Sandusky up to the authorities.
Finally, saying he did not hamper any investigation is like claiming he did not pet any unicorns or that he did not visit Camelot. Those things do not exist and neither did any meaningful investigation.
The self-serving report does nothing to help or heal. It is stupid and simply serves to flame the fires that had died down. What the Paterno family should have spent their time, fame and fortune on was helping victims of abuse. They should have acknowledged the mistakes and flaws of JoePa, and then taken every penny they had and supported one of the national charities that helps victims of child abuse. That is the way they could have begun the process of rebuilding the Paterno name, not this attempt at blame shifting.