Pittsburgh resident John Matko, 34, drove 3 hours yesterday to stand in front of Beaver Stadium prior to the Nebraska/Penn State game, staging a one-man protest against the school’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case(s). Matko (above), a PSU alum bore a sign reading, “The Kids Are What This Day Is About, Not Who Wins Or Loses Or How They Lost Their Jobs And How! Honor The Abused Kids By Cancelling This Game And Season Now!” As you’ve probably already guessed, this didn’t go over too well, as the Washington Times’ Nathan Fenno explains.
“Put abused kids first,” one of Matko’s signs read. “Don’t be fooled, they all knew. Tom Bradley, everyone must go.”
“That is such [expletive]!” one young woman screamed at him after glancing at the signs. “Who the [expletive] do you think you are?”
The night before, thousands of students held candles and sang Coldplay’s “Fix You” a capella in front of Old Main to support victims of sexual abuse. They wanted to show a different side to Penn State than the 40 charges of child sexual abuse against ex-football assistant Jerry Sandusky or the riots late Wednesday after the university fired iconic coach Joe Paterno for his role in the cover-up. Under Saturday’s cloudless sky, Curtin Street revealed something else.
A beer showered Matko. One man slapped his stomach. Another called him a “[expletive].”
“You’re going to get your [expletive] kicked, man,” a man bellowed.
Abuse flew at Matko from young and old, students and alumni, men and women. No one intervened. No one spoke out against the abuse. Over the course of an hour, a lone man stopped, read the sign and said, “I agree.” Those two words were swallowed by the profanity and threats by dozens of others during the hour.
A burly man wearing a “JoePa” T-shirt strode up, wrestled away the sign urging abused kids be put first from Matko’s right hand and slammed it to the ground.
After reading the signs, another woman glowered at Matko.
“This is in bad taste,” she said.