Peeling Back the Penn State Onion

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke, Irish politician and philosopher (1729-1797)

Saturday’s football game at State College caught my attention, just like for most other college football fans.

Penn State and Nebraska players pray together prior to Saturday's game. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

I had to tune in early to witness all of the pre-game ‘ceremony.’ There were the fans in their un-customary blue. There were the players, locked arm-in-arm, coming out of the tunnel, not running, but in an un-customary walk. There was the meeting of both teams, Nebraska and Penn State, at midfield, forming a filled-in prayer circle. Joining were both teams’ coaches and former Penn State players.

A show of unity for the wounded university and its extended family.

There were 107,903 spectators. There was the sunshine.

To say it was emotional is somewhere underneath an understatement.

I felt uncomfortable.

First of all, I felt like a voyeur. Feeling one-half jealous of the incredible sense of oneness exhibited by the ‘Penn Staters’, and feeling one-half relieved this was not my university, was confusing.

Complex emotions for complex situations.


Most uncomfortable was knowing that we don’t know everything.

Who is to say that interim head coach Tom Bradley, or any number of other Nittany Lion coaches, didn’t know about Sandusky’s behavior for years? As a former college and NFL head coach said this past week, “[h]aving been in this profession a long time and knowing how close coaching staffs are, I knew that this was a secret that was kept secret. Everyone on that had to have known, the ones that had been around a long time.”

In other words, believing the ring of knowledge is limited to Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary is naive.

The layers of the onion will be peeled back, one layer at a time.


One layer looks like this…

When Jerry Sandusky was initially arraigned, prosecutors requested a half-million in bail in addition to a leg monitor being worn by Sandusky. Instead, District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, in addition to ordering Sandusky to have no contact with children, ordered him freed on $100,000 unsecured bail, meaning Sandusky will not have to post any money unless he doesn’t show up for court.

This afternoon, the website Deadspin reported that Judge Dutchcot, according to her profile, is a volunteer for Sandusky’s group, The Second Mile.

A curiously close-knit community.


Following Saturday’s game, Tom Bradley said “I felt today that just maybe the healing process began.”

I think it more accurate to say that it is the process of facts coming to light that has just begun.


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One response to “Peeling Back the Penn State Onion”

  1. rockytop78 says :

    If Judge Dutchcot was indeed a volunteer for The Second Mile, then she should have recused herself from any involvement in the case, including setting bond at Sandusky’s arraignment. It’s called “avoiding the appearance of impropriety.”

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