Enter Dan McGinn, PR guru.
This morning, Scott Tweeted the following:
All future media requests regarding the Sandusky matter will be handled by Dan McGinn at (703) 312-0140.
Jeez, McGinn may want to up his phone plan.
TMG describes itself thusly:
For more than 20 years, CEOs, general counsels, university and non-profit presidents, elected officials and media executives have turned to TMG for advice on some of the most complex and high-profile disputes and reputation threats of this era. The following sample of our engagements illustrates the level of communications challenges we have worked on and the range of services we have provided.
Put simply: They fix shit. Or at least try to.
When university president Graham Spanier cancelled yesterday’s press conference – an action that was immediately met by a response from Scott Paterno, who said that his father wanted to speak – it became the administration vs. Joe Pa. At that point, this thing entered Bizarro World, a place where up is down, down is up, and students sing Sweet Caroline in a strange on-campus scene.
In the eyes of many, Spanier immediately became the heel– think of the cowardly Billy Zane in Titanic, running around with a gun and hopping in the life boat for women and children. Or, in this case, sprinting out the side door of Old Main on Penn State’s campus.
Joe Pa is the aging hero– the captain of the ship who, until now, didn’t realize realize his vessel was sinking. All he heard was the band (students) playing soothing songs on the ship’s deck as the world collapsed around them.
It seems now Paterno (or his son) realizes that there’s no lifeboat for this one… despite the best efforts of his supporters. It’s all about perception, and the perception is not good. Scott is ill-equipped to change that fact.
As our friend Adam Reigner points out, you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain (yep, Batman'd). McGinn is going to do his best to prevent the latter from happening to Paterno. But he faces a long, uphill battle.
Here’s step one: A statement from Paterno which was released this morning:
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Nov. 9, 2011 — "I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief.
I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.
That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can. This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.
My goals now are to keep my commitments to my players and staff and finish the season with dignity and determination. And then I will spend the rest of my life doing everything I can to help this University."