Archive for July 12, 2012
The Twitterverse and the Internet are all a-flutter today about the Freeh Report, a deliverable that was compiled by a former FBI Director at the behest of the Board of Trustees of Penn State University.
The conclusion, thus far, is that four men — former PSU president Graham Spanier, former PSU vice president Gary Schultz, former PSU athletic director Tim Curley, and former PSU football coach Joe Paterno — engaged in a 14-year-long pattern of covering up child sexual abuse by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted last month.
Note here that these four, and these four alone, were made culpable in a report commissioned by the school’s board of directors and are the findings of one person.
That should give you pause, despite the headlines which will likely say, “PATERNO KNEW” or some permutation of words that will focus solely on the coach.
In remarks broadcast on ESPN today, former Penn State football player Matt Millen put the blame, frankly, squarely where it should have been in the first place — on the shoulders of Spanier, the leader of the entire university at the time.
To be frank, Freeh’s blanket criticism of the four main figures does mask the role of Spanier and the Board of Trustees in this matter.
I’ll take a quote that from the Freeh report:
Janitor B explained to the Special Investigative Counsel that reporting the incident “would have been like going against the President of the United States in my eyes. I know Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.” He explained, “football runs this University,” and said the University would have closed ranked to protect the football program at all costs.
Here’s the problem. The perception that football runs the university only exists because of the university president. And in most cases, the university president is chosen, and serves at the behest of, its Board of Trustees.
The very Board of Trustees that hired Louis Freeh to release this report.
While there is plenty of shock value in what Freeh said in the report, it is just that — a report. It’s not evidence in a court of law. It is a report that also skillfully absolves the Board of Trustees and the Republican governor of Pennsylvania who had a chance to prosecute the case years ago.
I don’t think this is the final chapter of this story, despite the number of people who may want it to go away.