On Tuesday, the New York Times published Tim Rohan’s “Groups Want Bad Image Of Penn State To Go Away”, in which Rohan visited PSU and spoke to a number of folks deeply troubled by the NCAA’s sanctions against the school, the lack of due process and the ugly association with the convicted child-fucker, Jerry Sandusky (not necessarily in that order). One member of the faculty told Rohan, “the rush to unfair judgment has done unspeakable damage to the university’s reputation worldwide,”, though one might also suggest the efforts of Joe Paterno apologists and those who rate the football program’s success above, y’know, the prevention of child rape, have done just a smidgeon of damage to the school’s name. Early in the piece, Rohan stopped by the office of Professor Emeritus (Senior Fellow John Curley Center for Sports Journalism), John Nichols (above).
Nichols sat behind his large wooden desk, surrounded by four full bookshelves. He has spent 36 years at Penn State. He raised his children here. He is a professor emeritus and a former chairman of the faculty senate. Now he was talking about Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno and he was getting angry. He sat up straighter. His eyes bulged. He threw his hands up.
“Just this last weekend, I was with some of my closest friends in another state,” he said. “Of course the subject always comes up — always comes up. It’s like a scarlet letter. And when I say that most of what you’ve read is not true, they look at you like — even close friends — they look at you like: ‘Are you a Holocaust denier? You’ve drunk the Penn State Kool-Aid. What other conspiracy theory do you have?’
“Can you imagine the frustration when you know that there’s been a gross mischaracterization of what has happened at Penn State? And that I and my kids who graduated from Penn State, my friends and colleagues here, are going to have to live with being guilty for crimes we did not commit?”
If nothing else, we’ve finally found the real victims in the Sandusky saga ; PSU alumni who are embarrased at cocktail parties.