A Sandusky Scandal Reading List

November 14, 2011 at 9:48 am 13 comments

I spent a little time Sunday afternoon trying to catch up on all of the media coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal that engulfed the University. I barely made a dent in the stack of articles I had printed, but so far, a few stand out as required reading.

1. “Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State football staffer, subject of grand jury investigation.” The Harrisburg paper gets credit for being the first to report—last March 31—that a grand jury was investigating Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g. The story was written by Sara Ganim ’08.

2. “Who Knew What About Jerry Sandusky?” Sara Ganim again, this time in a special report this past Friday chronicling the allegations that stretch over a 10-year period—and the missed opportunities to do something about them.

The rest of the articles on the list are not reported news stories so much as essays reflecting on various aspects of this sorrowful mess:

3. “Growing Up Penn State.” An essay at the new sports site Grantland.com by Michael Weinreb ’94, who grew up in State College. He writes poignantly of how his ideals have been shattered, citing, for example, the 1987 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami:

It is still my favorite football game of all time, a metaphoric triumph of the unadorned hero over the flamboyant villain. I wrote a long piece about it for ESPN, and a portion of a book, that now rings completely hollow. I have the original video recording of it in my living room, and I have thought several times over the past couple of days about taking a hammer to it.

4. “A Test of Bonds Old and New.” Malcolm Moran was a longtime New York Times sportswriter who now heads the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. Yesterday, he wrote a short first-person piece for the Times that’s well worth reading.

5. “The End of Paterno.” Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated has been living in State College for the last few months, working on a book about Joe Paterno. Public reaction to Paterno this past week seems divided between (a) those who are furious at the Trustees for firing him and (b) those who are furious at Paterno for not reporting to the authorities what he knew. For those in the latter camp, any other good Paterno has done in his career has been rendered irrelevant. Posnanski weighs in on that.

6. “Joe Paterno’s Code.” In Esquire, Chris Raymond ’87 writes about the end of the Paterno era. Like so many, he is heartbroken and disillusioned, but he also writes: “One alum—class of 1975—climbed the stairs of the school’s administration building and burned his diploma. That idea never crossed my mind. Like most of my college friends, I could no sooner sever my ties to Penn State than I could change the color of my eyes.”

7. “Penn State, My Final Loss of Faith.” A piece in the Washington Post by Thomas L. Day ’03, who not only is a Penn Stater but also was in The Second Mile as a boy. “I was one of the lucky ones,” he writes. “My experience with Second Mile was a good one.” (Warning: His essay gets a little political and left-leaning. Just so you know.)

This is by no means a comprehensive list. We’ll post more at a later date. And if you’ve seen an article you’d recommend, please post a link in the Comments section. Thanks.

Tina Hay, editor

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They Played a Game, but the Score Barely Mattered Bright Spots in the Darkness

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