In the days and weeks since Joe Paterno’s death, he has been painted as a good, honest man whose main goal in life was bettering the lives of his players; he has been hailed as a kindly older gentleman with nothing but the best intentions in his heart.
But now that several email exchanges between the former president of Penn State and two employees have been released to the public, we are seeing a potentially dark side of that man, and people who once stood in his corner are finding a change of heart.
The emails were exchanged between former president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, and athletic director Tim Curley in the days following Mike McQueary’s claims to Paterno that he had witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a boy in the school showers. Curley and Schultz were concerned and initially wanted to go to authorities, but quickly changed their minds, which was reflected in the emails. Their second option, they wrote to Spanier, was to go to Sandusky directly rather than involving anyone publicly, and Spanier agreed, calling it a “humane and reasonable way to proceed”.
“After giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe [Paterno] yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person.. tell him the information we received… and tell him we are aware of the first situation.”
”The only downside for us is if message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it, but that can be assessed down the road,” Spanier allegedly replied.
When the emails first surfaced, many people wondered what would make Curley and Schultz, who seemed so intent on bringing the story out at first, change their minds so suddenly. Now, it looks like Joe Paterno played a major hand in swaying them towards keeping the allegations quiet.
Unfortunately, Paterno isn’t here to answer questions, as he passed away earlier this year of lung cancer. With these newly-discovered emails coming to light, his reputation and legacy will no doubt be even more marred.