UPDATE 11:02: The biggest sports scandal in recent memory continues to unfold in Happy Valley. In terms of drama, this is reaching OJ Simpson levels. Via everyone and the AP on Twitter this morning reporting that Paterno is retiring at the end of the season. A presser from Paterno to come soon. Here's his statement:
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.
Not too shocked, but a surprising exited with a huge middle finger to the PSU board of trustees. Here's what transpired last night:
Students showered support for Paterno -- or, at the very least, letting him speak -- by rallying at his house and on campus. He addressed the mob from his lawn/window. Video below, along with a transcription because he's old and doesn't annunciate well. First, he addressed students from his window:
“You know, there’s been some criticism of the way we’ve handled some of the poor victims. My wife and I, we have 17 grand kids, from 16 to 3 and we pray for them every night. We’re gonna start praying for those kids that were involved in some of the problems that we talked about. They don’t deserve it. We owe it to them to say a prayer for them and to make sure they understand that their life is one that can be enriched.”
Then, from the lawn (video in the player above).
“Its hard for me to tell you how much this means to me. You guys have lived for this place. I’ve lived for people like you guys and girls. I’m just so happy to see that you could feel so strongly about us and about your school. And as I said, whether you heard me or not, the kids that were victims, or whatever they want to say, I think we ought to say a prayer for them because, ya know, tough life when people do certain things to you. But anyway, you’ve been great. Ya know, your great…… WE ARE! (starts We Are Chant) and we’ll always be! We’ll always be Penn Staters”
As if the circus wasn't already strange enough, given the gravity of Paterno's alleged moral complacency and the circ*mstances unfolding, it's downright disturbing to watch dipshits parade around State College and the PSU like this after leaving Paterno's house:
Some called it a "riot," but compared to what we've seen in Greece and during the uprisings last year, it was more like "gathering in the streets and on the campus just because we can." From afar, it's a hollow showing of clueless support.
Glad to see at least someone in the mob was actually thinking and had a little common sense:
Meanwhile, in the middle of all of this last night, the Penn State Board of Trustees released this statement. Finally, some adults show up:
The Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury Report. As parents, alumni and members of the Penn State Community, our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these terrible events, especially the tragedies involving children and their families. We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky. We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action.
At its regular meeting on Friday, November 11, 2011, the Board will appoint a Special Committee, members of which are currently being identified, to undertake a full and complete investigation of the circ*mstances that gave rise to the Grand Jury Report. This Special Committee will be commissioned to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable. The Special Committee will have whatever resources are necessary to thoroughly fulfill its charge, including independent counsel and investigative teams, and there will be no restrictions placed on its scope or activities. Upon the completion of this investigation, a complete report will be presented at a future public session of the Board of Trustees.
Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of its programs. We will not tolerate any violation of these principles. We educate over 95,000 students every year and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are dedicated to protecting those who are placed in our care. We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the University.
The whole thing has been a PR/crises management diaster of the university's own making since the news dropped on Friday night. Pay attention, communications majors. Almost every news paper has had an op-ed piece on the scandal over the past two days. Maureen Dowd's in the NYT, Jonathan Mahler in the NYT, and James Fallows at The Atlantic are worth noting today. Elsewhere, there's so many great, well-written reactionary blog posts that it doesn't even make sense to start linking to them. You'll find them on your own.
For me, it's a strange thing watching something I've loved so long (PSU football/Paterno/his legacy) and my once proud alma mater (of which I've written about many, many times here) more or less figure out a way to self-destruct itself in front of the whole world's eyes. "We Aren't" seems like a far more appropriate rallying cry than "We Are." It's not an easy thing to come to terms with. But, f*ck that. There's bigger issues at play here and only one way of looking at this beast with many heads: That sick lowlife monster Sandusky should have been stopped.