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Starkey: Still a long way to go at Penn State

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Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011
 

UNIVERSITY PARK — A few minutes after the football game here Saturday, interim Penn State coach Tom Bradley said, "I felt that today just maybe the healing process started to begin."

Did it?

For whom?

Let's not forget who truly was wounded -- and who truly needs healing -- if the allegations in the Penn State sex abuse scandal are true: the boys former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has been accused of assaulting.

Two of the victims described in a grand jury presentment -- Victims 2 and 8 -- have yet to be identified.

Before we proclaim any sort of "healing process" under way, let's see if any more bombshells drop in regard to Sandusky, the charity (Second Mile) from which he is accused of culling victims and charges of an institutional cover-up that resulted in the end of Joe Paterno's 46-year reign.

That's going to take a while.

In the meantime, some poignant moments did occur here yesterday. Some bizarre and infuriating ones, too ...

7:30 a.m. : About 100 state troopers line up outside Gate B, in tidy rows of eight, as part of a beefed-up security team.

7:55 : A fan in his 20s sports a T-shirt that reads "JoePa's Still No. 1 And Don't You Forget It" and proudly proclaims, "I made it myself."

8:15 : People are filling the popular Creamery, which still serves an ice cream flavor called "Peachy Paterno." It pulled "Sandusky Blitz" a few days ago.

8:40 : A group that calls itself The Labor of Love Tailgaters changed their giant sign, which used to say, "We Are ... Penn State!" Instead, it says, "We Are ... praying for the victims and their families, for all Penn State students and athletes, and for some good to come of this."

9:15 : Sandusky's autobiography has been removed from the shelves of The Student Book Store. But he is featured in Chapter 5 of another book, titled, "Memorable Stories of Nittany Lion Football."

10:10 : On the sidewalk outside of Old Main, the administrative center of campus, sit the remnants of the previous night's candlelight vigil -- dedicated to victims of child abuse. Several thousand attended. The candles have melted into one another. Some are still burning.

10:30 : Inside the Paterno Library, among ancient stacks of books, sits a discarded edition of the "Epic of Gilgamesh." Gilgamesh's followers described him the way many still describe Joe Paterno, even though the latter gave an accused child molester unfettered access to his football program for nine years after a heinous allegation: "Two-thirds god and one-third man."

11:05 : The Louis and Mildred Lasch Football Building sits within the shadows of Beaver Stadium, yet somehow secluded. The noises of a football Saturday are muffled behind the perfectly coiffed landscaping. Sandusky is accused of raping a boy in this building. At the moment, in the parking lot, fans enjoy scrambled eggs and English muffins. They are angry that Paterno has become a focal point of the story.

11:15 : Holuba Hall, around the corner from the Lasch Building, is where Sandusky brought Victims 4 and 5 -- according to the grand jury presentment -- to work out, shower and play catch before tailgate parties. At the moment, two young boys are joyfully tossing a football with their father.

11:50 : A fan wields a sign that reads, "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. -- Albert Einstein."

Noon : I am informed that Penn State credentialed 589 media members for the game.

12:09 p.m. : Players from both teams, plus a massive contingent of Penn State alumni, gather at midfield and kneel in prayer. It is both appropriate and moving. The crowd of 107,903 falls silent.

12:13 -- 3:30 : Penn State and Nebraska play a football game.

4:00 : I ask offensive coordinator Galen Hall how well he knew Sandusky, who has long been a presence around the program even though the former school president banned him from bringing children onto campus in 2002. "I'd rather not talk about it," Hall says. "I don't think his name needs to be brought up."

About a half-hour earlier, ESPN interviewed assistant coach Jay Paterno, Joe's son, on the field. He became emotional and said, "Dad, I wish you were here."

You know who I wish were here?

Victims 2 and 8.

 

 

 
 


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