Monday, November 21, 2011

42 Dramatis Personae

942 Dramatis Personae    

(State College, Pa.) -- The situation here is getting so complicated, you need a scorecard.  Kind of appropriate for what is at least marginally a football story.  Unfortunately, the players don’t wear jerseys with their names on their backs, a Penn State tradition.  But these guys don’t even wear numbers.  So, starting at the top, here are the big ten:

1. Joe Paterno:  He’s the Kellogg’s of college football.  Kellogg’s is a giant maker of breakfast cereal.  It’s universally loved, has been around forever, and is of generally of high quality.  But every once in awhile, there’s a recall because some evil stink gets into the boxes.  No worries.  It’s only a breakfast cereal.  There are plenty of others.

Paterno is a giant among football coaches.  He’s been around forever, was until now universally loved and was generally of high quality.  He too has been recalled for a stink.  But it’s only football.  He isn’t charged with doing anything wrong.  In fact, he did almost nothing at all.

(Paterno’s diagnosis of a “treatable form of lung cancer” is unfortunate, but that doesn’t change the Sandusky affair.  We wish him recovery; think the university trustees acted in too hastily in firing him.  But that doesn’t change the Sandusky case, either.)

2. Graham Spanier: Former president of Penn State University.  He is the General Motors of college presidents.  A big wheel, around forever, a lot of people buy the stuff even though it’s often second rate.

Spanier was among the longest serving of American college presidents, and as with GM there are what car guys call “quality issues.”  Like the bottom feeder Chevy Aveo.  He does magic tricks and plays washboard in a folk music band.  Like the Aveo, he’s been discontinued.  But really he’s only another corporate honcho who fell off the roof, replaced by his second in command, a guy whose only virtue is he’s not Spanier.

3. Jerry Sandusky:  The retired former defensive coordinator of the Penn State football team, a Paterno pal, at least at one time; founder of a charity for at risk little kids, “The Second Mile,”  accused of child molesting and kid rape, and issuing regular claims of innocence.

Behind his back, they call him the Second Mile Pedo-phile.  Gave off a vibe that makes you want to shower even before all the current events. Sandusky’s Penn State pension is $59-thousand a year.

4. Joseph Amendola:  Sandusky’s lawyer.  He gets a lot of the highest profile cases around here and is the king of plea bargains.  He also gives off an iffy vibe that gets even iffier when you learn that at the age of about 50 he had an affair with a 16 year old girl he represented, fathered a kid with her when she was 17 and married her, not necessarily in that order.  They are no longer together.  

Amendola may or may not be expecting a big payday out of all this.  But you can bet a case like this ain’t bad for business.  Digression: the age of consent in PA is 16, so there was nothing illegal about sex with that kid. Further digression:  Sandusky is entitled to a lawyer.

5. Tom Corbett:  The pudgy faced governor of Pennsylvania, a member of sorts of the Penn State board of trustees which ridded the school of Paterno, Spanier and a few others.  Corbett was Attorney General for much of the time the case against Sandusky was building and mounted an anemic  CYA investigation that led nowhere and now says law enforcement didn’t act aggressively enough at the time.  Huh?

6. Mike McQueary: on administrative leave as an assistant football coach and former graduate assistant to Paterno.  McQueary either did or didn’t witness a Sandusky boy rape, either did or didn’t stop it when he either did or didn’t see it; did or didn’t talk to the cops afterward.

7. Franco Harris: Washed up NFL hall of famer, ex Nittany Lion All-American football star and head of a Pittsburgh charity who came riding into town seeking publicity by inviting newly promoted university higher ups to a diner where, presumably, they would genuflect and then explain to him why they fired his idol, Paterno.  

As a result, the mayor of Pittsburgh asked Harris to resign from the charity and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino told him not to show up for his day job which is something between greeter and spokesman.

8. Tim Curley:  Penn State Athletic Director put on paid “administrative leave” and supposedly Paterno’s boss.  Paterno’s boss?  Who are you kidding.  Only when it came time for Joe to kick what he knew up the chain of command.  Curley faces perjury charges, of which his university-paid lawyer says he’s innocent.

9. Gary Schultz:  Former Penn State official whose duties included supervision of the university police.  The Patriot-News newspaper of Harrisburg says he received a lump sum of $422,000 when he retired in 2009 and whose yearly pension is $330,000.  Schultz came out of retirement to become vice president for finance.  He has since re-retired, now faces perjury charges and claims through his university-paid attorney that he is innocent.

10. Jack Raykovitz: recently resigned CEO of Sandusky’s charity, in which he worked for 28 years.  The resignation was sudden, unexpected and unexplained.  But the charity is reported preparing to disband and shopping its programs around to other organizations in hopes of keeping some of its work alive which Second Mile officials deny.  Sort of.

11. Leslie Dutchcot:  Local judge who set relatively low bail for Sandusky without disclosing her ties to his charity, which remain unclear.  Judge Dutchcot has been removed from the case.

12. Kenneth Frazier: Penn State grad, Penn State trustee, head of the school’s internal investigation, CEO of the pharmaceutical maker Merck.  While general counsel for the drug company led the company’s defense of Vioxx which was said to increase the risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Note that this list was billed as the “Big Ten” and there are 12 names.  Well, if the Big Ten college football conference can have 12 teams, this list of ten can have 12 names.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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