50 Shades of Blue

Do you still proudly wear your blue and white?

I ask this question because I have seen the issue pop up on two different message boards.  On BWI the question was asked:

Would you feel embarrassed to wear PSU gear outside of Pennsylvania? Saw a poor gal in Nashville yesterday get heckled by several people at a mall while wearing PSU shirt! I felt bad for the gal but think this is probably happening all over the U.S.

Among the responses were these:

I live in Nashville and I wear psu gear all the time. Never been heckled. I have been pleasantly surprised by support. People with a brain realize the tragedy was more about one man…Sandusky.
Not many people have run into any problems.

But on the Audibles messageboard, are some different stories:

I live in Northern Virginia. Some guy went up to my wife at a gas station. She has a Penn State sticker on her car. And the guy went up to my wife and asked her if she was going to take that sticker off. My wife is 4’11, so it obviously it took a lot of balls to go up to a small woman and ask that.

We had someone say “if JoePa were alive, he’d be going to jail”.

On Monday, a Mid-30s woman rather sarcastically stated “Nice PSU sticker” on the back of my vehicle, I responded with something along the lines of “Yeah it’s been a rough couple of weeks” to which she said “I can’t believe you haven’t taken that down” All I gave her was a hairy eyeball and a “Why?” to which she walked away.

I live in California now also, my co-workers all now hate Penn State and believe the program should be shut down. I wear hats and t-shirts and have been asked twice why i support child rape. My Mother, who is a PSU Grad 1966, is now afraid to wear her PSU clothes due to remarks she gets – she is way less confrontainal than I am.

I was at the local Sheetz when I was told by a mid 50’s lady that I should be embarrassed to have a PSU Alumni Assoc license plate on my car. . . I looked at her in shock and then asked her why I should be embarrassed of a group of students that raise millions for cancer, a football team that has the highest grad rate in D1 football, etc. . . Of course, I live just outside Pittsburgh and she was probably a Pitt Alum…

The week that the news hit in November, someone was honking at my wife and pulled up to her at a light. Started yelling at her about the Penn State magnets on the car. It really shook her.
I have never had a magnet stolen in 10 years in my town (had a bunch over the years coming up for games) but someone took the 4 mini paws from her car. (she later found them on the ground in the parking lot at work). . . But I still don’t let my 9 year old son or 6 year old daughter wear PSU stuff when I am not around. You just never know who will say something. And they really don’t understand what happened.

Now to be fair, there were more positive or neutral experiences reported than those I sifted out.

As for myself, I generally wear Penn State logo clothing more often than not.  My lab coat at work has a Penn State logo on it, as do two pairs of surgical scrubs (I also have a black pair of Steeler logo scrubs as well.)  And while I do have clothing that is not Penn State, per se, the majority of that clothing is blue or white to match most of the rest of the stuff I wear.  I have 18 Penn State ties, although two of them are identical because I didn’t have the heart to tell someone that gave one to me as a gift that I already had that one–they were so excited to give it to me!) In contrast, I have ONE red shirt–I wear it on Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Pentecost Sunday.  That’s pretty much it.  Really can’t stand the color.  I’ll wear brown occasionally (after all, JoePa went to Brown!) and green if not’s too Spartanish.

But this past week, after the NCAA raping sanctioning of Penn State, I made a point to wear my Penn State clothing EVERY DAY.  I was amazed by the number of comments I received.  I had at least half a dozen people tell me that they were so glad I was STILL supporting the school.  This generally led to a brief discussion about how unfair the sanctions were, the players were not responsible, JoePa has become the scapegoat who can’t defend himself any longer, etc.

Of course, I work in Altoona, a stone’s throw from State College and in the backyard of the Altoona Campus.  This is LION COUNTRY.  So the data points are skewed.

I had a woman approach me at the surgery center where I operate and thank me for wearing my PSU scrubs.  She went on to say that she worked at Penn State Altoona and things “were really bad.”  I’m not sure what she meant by that, but I assume it is a morale thing.  She wouldn’t answer my questions to elaborate, but just kept shaking her head and looking like she was trying to hold back tears.

I have actually had requests for tickets to the Ohio game.  Not the Ohio State game, but the season opener.  I can’t remember the last time someone contacted me about tickets to a home opener.  I don’t think I had requests for Miami in 2001 or Arizona in 1999!  And while the last decade of home openers have been against less than marquee level opponents, I sure as hell wouldn’t put Ohio up there.

No.  This isn’t about the opponent on the field.  It’s about the evil that has leeched off Sandusky and seeped into State College like an unwanted bloodstain.  Out, Out, damned spot!

It is US against the WORLD.

This is about supporting the team, just as the wearing of Blue and White.

This is the time to rally the troops, circle the wagons, and separate the wheat from the chaff, in other words, a time for trite cliches.  But you get the point.

Despite what the lawyers, ESPN and other media outlets say, PENN STATE DID NOT RAPE THOSE CHILDREN.  The actual evidence suggests that the leaders discussed the sitiuation and whatever plan of action they took, it was unfortunate that the crimes went on.

But Penn State did not cover-up a decade of child molestation as the media is so fond of quoting.  At best, the administration of Penn State knew of one instance (2001) and it is far from clear exactly what was transmitted to them at that time.  Horsing around in the shower and rape are two vastly different things, and I pray that the upcoming trials of Curley and Schultz will finally shed some light on the truth in that matter. 

To suggest that Penn State KNEW about the 1998 investigation of Sandusky–and covered it up–is ludicrous.  IT WAS INVESTIGATED.  The police were involved.  The DA was involved.  Everything that everyone is screaming didn’t happen in 2001 already happened in 1998!  They had witnesses–the mother and her child.  And yet Sandsuky still went free.  There was not enough evidence to prosecute.  IF Penn State officials knew of the 1998 event, then they also knew that no charges were ever made.  And while that doesn’t necessarily mean innocence, it is certainly implied.

There has not been one shred of evidence that any crime by Sandusky other than the 2001 shower incident, was ever known to any of the Penn State admnistrators involved in this.  To suggest they continued to cover up Sandusky’s acts is simply wrong and unfathomable.  In fact, it wasn’t a cover-up.  You don’t report the incident up the chain of command if you are covering something up.

If Joe Paterno wanted to cover this up, his best opportunity to do so was when McQueary first appeared in his office.

“Mike, let me handle this.  I know Sandusky.  I’ll take care of this.  It’s a sensitive matter, so don’t say anything to anyone.  By the way, I’m thinking you would be a great addition to our coaching staff.  You’ve been great as a graduate assistant.  You let me handle this and I’ll put you on the sideline as a coach.  How does that sound?”

But that exchange never took place.  Nothing in the record suggests that Paterno ever tried to cover anything up.  One obscure email taken out of context suggests that Curley wanted to change his mind after talking to Paterno, but what was exactly said has not been on record.

Could it be that Joe said something like this?:

“Tim, this is a touchy issue, no pun intended.  I don’t know if we have much evidence here–kind of like that thing that supposedly happened in 1998.  We have to report this, because we can’t let kids get hurt if this really is true.  But there’s a chance that it could blow up in our faces.  Maybe they were just horsing around.  Sandusky could sue us for libel or slander.  He’s already been cleared once.  The media could get hold of it and really make us look bad.  But we have to take that chance.  We have to report this.”

So Mr. Curley, after hearing this, decides he doesn’t want to report it because Joe painted such a dismal picture and now that he’s thought through the possibilitites, he wants to take a different approach.  Not because Joe told him to shut up and cover it up, but exactly the opposite.

Well, maybe it didn’t happen that way.  But maybe it did.  The available evidence suggests it could be either one.  Or maybe a third or fourth not yet considered.  Maybe the email wasn’t even referring to the decision to report or not, but some other aspect of their investigation into the matter.  Who knows?  (Only the Shadow, and he ain’t speaking right now.)

At any rate, Penn State did not cover up sexual abuses for a decade.  At the very worst, they made a wrong decision about ONE episode.  THEY HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT ABUSE WAS ON-GOING.  That’s not minimizing what happened or rationalizing.  That is a conclusion based on actual evidence, not the dreamworld supposition of the Freeh Report.  And how the NCAA feels it can blame the football program on any level is beyond me, it is simply over the top to vacate wins back to 1998.  How in the bloody hell is it Joe’s fault that the DA didn’t press charges in 1998?  And now the forger’s of the Freeh Report are upset that the NCAA used it as a basis for punishment.  Can this drama get any carzier???

In any event, wear your blue and white.  Whatever shade of blue.  Wear it proudly.

And I hope to see you at Beaver Stadium on September 1st.

PSU Gear. . . Not just for football anymore!



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Filed under fans, Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno, NCAA, opinion, Penn State, sanctions, scandal

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