Many Penn State students are rallying around Joe Paterno. Here’s a clip of him addressing them tonight from the window of his house. You can’t hear him in that clip, but it does give you an idea of the atmosphere there. Here’s a Philadelphia Daily News story about the event this evening. Excerpt:
Students had been gathering during the afternoon and were chanting, “Joe Pa-ter-no!” and “We are … Penn State.”
At one point, hundreds of students were chanting the school’s alma mater.
Paterno stopped on his way inside to thank the students. He later came to the window of the house and gave an emotional speech as students ran toward the windows with mobile devices in hand to record Paterno’s remarks.
“It’s hard for me to tell you what this means to me,” he said. “I’ve lived for this place. I’ve lived for people like you guys and girls. I’m so happy to see you feel so strongly for us and our school.
“Whether you’re with me or not, as long as the kids, victims . . . We should say a prayer for them because . .. It’s a tough life when people do certain things to you. But you’ve been great. You’ve been great.”
Certain things. And it’s a tough life when the people who should have protected you fail to do their job, because you are so busy living “for this place” that you abdicate your moral responsibility. What are these fatherless raped boys to the greater glory of Penn State football?
Et tu, Eh, students? It’s good that you are teaching yourselves that staying loyal to the Team is the most important thing in life.
UPDATE: Columnist Rich Hofmann in the Philadelphia Daily News:
The man is a legend in his time, and that is not sporting hyperbole. He is supposed to stand for something more than sports; just ask him. And even if a percentage of the Paterno myth was always just that — myth, spun lovingly by the blue-and-white public relations machine — many of us do believe, deep down, even beneath our cynicism, that the man spent more time on the right side of the ledger than most.
With that, choose your legacy.
Is it: “He did the legal minimum?”
Or is it: “He told his supervisor.”
As if monuments have supervisors.
UPDATE.2: A more complete story from the Philadelphia Inquirer on tonight’s event, with great video that allows you to hear what Paterno said. He looks completely stunned. I think he’s sincere in asking for prayers for the victims of Sandusky. Too little, too late.
UPDATE.3: Jaybird points to the latest report: the number of alleged Sandusky victims has now doubled.
UPDATE.4: The New York Times reports:
In explaining his actions, Mr. Paterno has publicly said he was not told of the graphic nature of a suspected 2002 assault by Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant, of a young boy in the football building’s showers. Mr. Paterno said the graduate assistant who reported the assault, Mike McQueary, said only that something disturbing had happened that was perhaps sexual in nature.
But on Tuesday, a person with knowledge of Mr. McQueary’s version of events called Mr. Paterno’s claim into question. The person said Mr. McQueary had told those in authority the explicit details of what he saw, including in his face-to-face meeting with Mr. Paterno the day after the incident.