A halo above Joe Paterno's head was removed from a mural this weekend [pic via Centre Daily]
Caution: I make a lot of fat jokes here.
Following the release of the grand jury findings last fall, Joe Paterno called for a thorough, fair and transparent investigation. Like everyone else, Joe was stunned at the charges that were filed against Jerry Sandusky. At the same time, Joe cautioned against a rush to judgment on Penn State and its senior officials and reminded everyone that we owed it to the victims to uncover the full truth.
I’m sorry, Paterno clan, but who, in the hell, is Joe Paterno to be the thought-leader on this investigation? Or any investigation, for that matter. Quoting your father like he is some sort of oracle, though many who grew up in Happy Valley may view him as such, is completely misguided and, now, offensive. He was a liar. But we’ll get to that in a second.
The announcement of the findings by the Freeh Group is yet another shocking turn of events in this crisis. We are dismayed by, and vehemently disagree with, some of the conclusions and assertions and the process by which they were developed. Mr. Freeh presented his opinions and interpretations as if they were absolute facts. We believe numerous issues in the report, and his commentary, bear further review.
Our interest has been and remains the uncovering of the truth. We have never tried to run from this crisis or shift all responsibility to others. To help prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again at Penn State or any other institution, it is imperative that the full story be told.
Blah blah blah blah good point blah blah blah. Let's be very clear– their interest remains in keeping their father's $3 million, pre-negotiated retirement package. However, there's one part of the statement with which I agree.
Remember, Louis Freeh was paid by the Penn State Board of Trustees to conduct this investigation. We’re not going to question Freeh’s credibility or track record (it’s stellar), but few were expecting his report to have far-reaching targets. Notice: Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz, Tim Curley and Joe Paterno were the focus of this investigation. And perhaps with good reason– they were the main players in a sinister cover-up. But were they the only ones involved?
Freeh, who once criticized the 9/11 Commission for leaving out critical information from their report, gave the board of trustees what amounts to a strongly worded wrist slap. He criticized their lack of institutional control, but never implicated them in any wrongdoing or cover-up. In fact, one part of the report, in which Freeh detailed an email exchange between a board member and Spanier – who wouldn’t give up any information about what was going on with Jerry Sandusky – makes you almost sympathize with the board. You could feel the unnamed board member’s frustration as Spanier stonewalled in an email response. As such, the report’s biggest criticism of the board centers on their failure to demand information.
It may just be a coincidence, but the fact that Freeh’s report stopped exactly at its paywall, if you will, raises a few eyebrows. Or at least mine.
And the report is not just limited in it’s vertical tentacles. Second Mile, Governor Tom Corbett (attorney general who began investigation of Sandusky and also received campaign donations from Second Mile), local authorities, and others fell outside the focus of this report. It seems all too convenient that the only men continuously on the receiving end of Freeh’s whopping stick were already shamed (or dead). Hell, even pussy Mike McQueary got off scot-free (that angle brilliantly examined by Gil Spencer).
Curley and Schultz were already charged with crimes. We already knew they were shits. Spanier was already the worst university president in the history of the world (admittedly, though, the findings in Freeh’s report open him up to prosecution). And Joe Pa, the perfect figurehead scapegoat, is dead.
Make no mistake, I’m not downplaying the findings against any of those men– it’s clear that the current public sentiment toward them is the right one. But it is curious that the report only focuses on four people who were already (literally or figuratively) finished. It provided just enough information to give us public enemies, but not enough to answer all remaining questions.
As much as it pains me to say, in this case (pleading for the full story to be told and saying that the report’s conclusions are mostly Freeh’s interpretations of facts), the Paternos are right.
Of course, they'll soon be wrong again.
After the report was released, we instructed our attorneys and their experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the materials released by the Freeh Group as well as Mr. Freeh's presentation and press conference. We have also asked them to go beyond the report and identify additional information that should be analyzed. And we have asked the Freeh Group to preserve all records, notes and other materials related to the investigation and the presentation of their findings as we expect they will be the subject of great interest in the future.
To those who are convinced that the Freeh report is the last word on this matter, that is absolutely not the case. Since various investigations and legal cases are still pending, it is highly likely that additional critical information will emerge.
So, now, the Paternos will conduct their own investigation. Here, I’ll save you the trouble of reading it and tell you what it will say:
After a thorough investigation of the facts, of which there weren’t many, we find that Louis Freeh hopped on his Jump To Conclusions mat and focused his frickin’ laser beam squarely on our father, The Great Joe Paterno. Echoing what Joe said before his untimely death, which was hastened by an insensitive board, we wish our father had done more. But he wasn’t at fault. He was the victim of an athletic director and president who failed, quite miserably, in their duties to protect innocent young children and, as mandated by the Clery Act, report the accusations about Jerry Sandusky to the proper authorities. Joe may not have lived up to his own high standards, but there was no wrongdoing. We still get that golden parachute, right? We believe that Louis Freeh’s report was a small-minded and single-focused effort to smear those who can no longer defend themselves.
That’s what their report will say, and I just gave it to you free of charge (lawyers get paid for this ‘ish?).
Here’s the problem, though: The Paterno family continuously contends that Freeh’s report presented no new facts. They’re wrong.
With that said, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate that Joe Paterno did not shield Jerry Sandusky from any investigation or review. The 1998 incident was fully and independently investigated by law enforcement officials. The Freeh report confirms this. It is also a matter of record that Joe Paterno promptly and fully reported the 2001 incident to his superiors. It can certainly be asserted that Joe Paterno could have done more. He acknowledged this himself last fall. But to claim that he knowingly, intentionally protected a pedophile is false.
That’s very clever wording. They’re right– the 1998 incident was turned over to proper authorities and, in 2001, Paterno did relay McQueary's account to superiors. What Paterno's family fails to address, though, is that HUMONGOUS elephant, seated beside… oh, no, wait, that’s just Scott Paterno. Anyway, they fail to address the fact that – all caps, yelling – JOE PATERNO REPEATEDLY DENIED HAVING ANY KNOWLEDGE OF A 1998 INVESTIGATION, BUT LOUIS FREEH’S REPORT PROVED OTHERWISE. THAT IS, IN FACT, A NEW FUCKING FACT, JACK. – end yelling-
Letting authorities handle it in 1998 was fine. Reporting it to his superiors in 2001 was fine. Fine. Those two incidents, by themselves, are at least explainable. But the fact that Paterno knew in 1998 and then, in 2001, punted, instead of taking matters into his own powerful hands, is inexcusable.
His family’s line of argument – separating the two events – could be likened to a student lying to his parents about bad test grades. Each failure, on its own, is explainable. But when compounded together, a pattern emerges, and the student, like Paterno, is truly deserving of a big, fat Scott F. The Paternos are sliming, sliding and shape-shifting (except Scott– he’s fat) their way around this issue. Freeh’s finding that Paterno knew about a 1998 investigation was, in fucking fact, a very new fucking fact. Quite literally. So new, in fact (jack, back, tack, mack, manco), that Sally Jenkins, the Washington Post reporter to whom a dying Paterno vehemently denied knowing anything about that investigation, called the old coach a liar and hypocrite. The Paterno family is just choosing to ignore this part of the story. How do they expect us to take them seriously?
This is how:
The process of reviewing the report and other relevant information is going to be a complicated and time consuming exercise. It took the Freeh Group roughly seven months to conduct more than 400 interviews and review three million documents. We do not expect or intend to duplicate this effort but we are going to be as thorough as reasonably possible. In the meantime, our attorneys have asked that we not make any further comment on this matter until they are ready to provide an update on their progress.
Translation: We’re not going to do a thorough review. Neither are our attorneys. In fact, they’re not going to do anything. We can’t afford their services– Scott’s otherworldly food consumption has drained our legal funds. Jay can’t even buy his big-boy blazers anymore. It’s sad, really. But seriously, our lawyers aren’t going to do much. They're just going to say everything in Freeh’s report was opinion… and ignore that one damning fact against our father. That should be enough to allow us to keep his massive retirement package.
Like I said, their report is going to be very predictable, and biased. While they’re right in saying that Freeh’s report left many questions unanswered, there’s no defending their father’s inactions. The Paternos need to get that… and just go away.