PSU players still voice support for Paterno
Joe Paterno, who has been widely skewered following the release of the Freeh Report, received support from some of his former Penn State players Friday.
Starting quarterback Matt McGloin said he is forever grateful to Paterno for taking a chance on him. Tailback Silas Redd said the statue of Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium should remain standing.
“I feel he did a lot more good than bad for this university,” said Redd, who is entering his junior season.
Redd and McGloin were among the players who took part in the 10th annual Lift for Life late Friday afternoon. The event, which was open to the public, raises money that goes to research for rare diseases.
Paterno's once impeccable reputation crumbled following the findings that criticized top university officials, including the legendary coach, for fostering a culture of secrecy that allowed convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky, a former Paterno assistant, to prey on young boys for more than a decade.
Redd, an All-American candidate, said that latest fallout from the Sandusky sex abuse scandal has not altered how he looks at Penn State.
“I think it's one of the best institutions academically and athletically in the nation,” Redd said. “My view of that is never going to change.”
McGloin, a former walk on, said he will never forget the faith Paterno had in him.
“Coach Paterno gave me the opportunity to play here, gave me an opportunity a lot of coaches didn't, so to that I owe my career to him,” McGloin said.
Penn State players participating in Lift for Life are expected to generate close to $100,000 for kidney cancer after all proceeds are collected, and they were hoping the event would bring positive news to a school badly in need of some.
The event had the unfortunate timing of coming one day after Freeh released his scathing report, and players were asked about the report as much as they were Lift for Life and the upcoming season.
“Any time you turn on the TV or you open the newspaper, you see it,” said McGloin, who was named the starter by coach Bill O'Brien last month. “It is tough, but we have no control over it. We just have to ignore the noise and just continue what we're doing and try to prepare ourselves for the upcoming season.”
Not that it has been easy.
“It seems like if you want to watch TV but don't want to hear about (the scandal), you have to play video games or something,” said backup quarterback Paul Jones, a Sto-Rox graduate.
Many players were tight-lipped about the scandal and implications that include possible NCAA sanctions. The NCAA said in a statement that its actions, if it takes any, will be dictated by how Penn State responds to questions about institutional control.
“I'll worry about that if it comes,” sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos said of possible NCAA punishment.
Players were unanimous in saying the negative light cast on Penn State has brought them closer.
“It really has rallied us,” Redd said. “Those guys are my brothers. I'd do anything for them. I'd do anything for the people on this staff and this program.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.