Jerry Sandusky is not Penn State
A Father’s Day column by Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel raised the blood pressure of a lot of Penn Staters. Mine stayed closer to room temperature than others’, but what upset me was this paragraph:
“If you haven’t already lost all respect for Penn State, its administration and its iconic former coach Joe Paterno, I suggest you read the gut-wrenching, stomach-turning accounts of what Sandusky allegedly did to these young boys.”
He was talking about the horrible testimony that we endured this week, in which victim after victim recounted what Jerry Sandusky allegedly did to them for years. The gist of his column is largely correct, and hard to take issue with. It’s gruesome stuff that was allowed to persist for a long time.
But Bianchi, like most sports columnists, aimed his criticism at too large of a field. By urging people to lose respect for Penn State, he added himself to the long list of blowhards who can’t distinguish between the broader university community and the handful of administrators who acted to cover up these horrific acts more than a decade ago.
Mr. Bianchi, Jerry Sandusky is not Penn State. So let me tell you who we are.
- We are 80,000 students and 500,000 alumni who are proud to have such a rich and prestigious academic and athletic history.
- We are a community of people who universally and without exception decry the allegations against Sandusky, which is why we, without the university’s help, moved to raise more than $500,000 for victims of sexual abuse.
- We are proud of our students’ efforts to raise millions for victims of childhood cancer year after year.
- And we are thrilled that our researchers recently discovered a potential cure for Leukemia.
And that’s just the beginning.
We are not Jerry Sandusky, Graham Spanier, Tim Curley or Gary Schultz any more than you are. Their actions do not embody our beliefs any more than your own. Keep that in mind when writing your next column.
We are Penn State, and we are still proud. You should be too.