Former Penn State players offer support for lawsuit
College Football Videos
About 325 former Penn State players signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno and other former players seeking to overturn NCAA sanctions against the football program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Former player Brian Masella released the letter Monday in support of the lawsuit, which also was filed last month by some coaches, trustees and faculty. Hopewell graduate and Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny and former NFL quarterbacks Kerry Collins and Todd Blackledge are among the notable names who signed the statement.
Masella said he and a few other former players organized the statement on their own after some of the plaintiffs explained their position in a letter to former players and sought their support. He stressed the statement had no connection to the official Football Letterman's Club.
The ex-players in the statement said they stood with the others in the case in demanding “fairness, due process, truth, and a just outcome. Everyone — Sandusky's victims, Penn Staters, and the public at large — deserves to know the complete truth.”
As in the lawsuit, the former players in the statement took issue with the NCAA basing its strict sanctions on what they called the flawed report by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the scandal for the school.
Freeh concluded that Paterno and three former school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky, a retired defensive coordinator found guilty in June 2012 on dozens of criminal counts covering allegations on and off campus. Sandusky, 69, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
Paterno died in January 2012. Freeh's report was released the following July, and the NCAA issued its sanctions less than two weeks later. The landmark penalties included a four-year bowl ban and steep scholarship cuts.
Paterno's family and school officials firmly have denied there was a cover-up. The family earlier this year commissioned a critique that called Freeh's report a “rush to injustice.”
The lawsuit filed several weeks ago argues the NCAA sidestepped its own rules with uncharacteristic speed in levying sanctions and sought to raise fresh questions about Freeh's report.
“In speaking with a couple former players, we wanted to do something to support the (others) involved in the lawsuit,” Masella, a 1975 graduate who played tight end and punter, said. “We had to start somewhere. It basically started to snowball.”
When asked, Masella also said their actions don't take away from the full support that former players have for coach Bill O'Brien and the current team.
They backed O'Brien “100 percent,” and they wanted what was best for the current players in hoping to reverse the sanctions, he said.
The NCAA has not filed a response yet to the lawsuit. NCAA president Mark Emmert, named as a defendant in the lawsuit, declined comment on individual cases last month.
“I'm perfectly fine to have an opportunity for us to state our case and have it heard in a court of law then we'll let a legal system do its work,” Emmert said in Irving, Texas, at a Big 12 meeting May 30.
Earlier this month, two trustees said that they hoped Penn State's focus on reforms in the aftermath of the scandal might eventually persuade the NCAA to reconsider the severe penalties.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Forum to give platform to Pennsylvania Supreme Court hopefuls
- Facing a huge deficit, Pennsylvania eyes gambling for help
- Judge says NCAA can get more info on Jay Paterno job search
- Toxic lead found in Philly ‘Ghost Factories’ soil samples
- Pennsylvania’s new online voter registration draws tens of thousands
- Cholera or murder? Truth sought in Pa. mystery