NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

December 27, 2013

Two years later, scandal still divides Penn State

(Continued)

Others, of course, think that punishment and all the others piled upon the school and a football program that outsiders judged to be running amok weren’t nearly harsh enough.

“This summer I spoke to a group near Wilkes-Barre and afterward, the debate heated up over our family’s lawsuit,” said Jay Paterno, sitting in a booth at The Corner Room, a restaurant that looks much as it did when his late father began eating breakfast there as an assistant coach in the 1950s.

“I said a few things I believed at the outset and still do: This was about a very calculating child predator, not as the narrative that was created put it, the product of some ‘out-of-control football culture.’ He could have done what he did anywhere, and come from any walk of life; unfortunately, it’s probably going on somewhere while we’re sitting here. ...

“We’re not pursuing (the lawsuit) to get scholarships restored earlier, or get back to a bowl game faster, or just to clear my dad’s name and Penn State’s. ... But before long, some people on the other side started arguing loudly, ‘Support the truth, not just Penn State football!’

“Believe me,” Paterno added with some resignation, “I know how those arguments end. ... So all I said, finally, was the ‘truth’ and what Penn State football stood for — and still stands for — are not mutually exclusive.”

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This may be the most surprising thing that happened in the aftermath of Sandusky’s indictment and arrest in November 2011:

Few people on either side expect the debate to quiet down in any meaningful way until the trials of former Penn State president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president for finance Gary Schultz — all accused of trying to cover up the scandal at the time — are completed. But nearly everyone agrees that one group at Penn State has already moved on.

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