National Columnist

We're sorry -- that's all we want to hear from the Penn State apologists


You're sorry.

That's all I want to hear from Penn State today. It's all I want to hear from Joe Paterno's family. It's all I want to hear from Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz. From the Board of Trustees. From Penn State fans.

You're sorry.

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Why can't you say that? Why haven't any of you said that?

The Freeh Report was released Thursday morning, released to much fanfare, though I haven't the foggiest idea why. There was nothing special in the Freeh Report. Nothing we didn't already know. Jerry Sandusky raped kids for years? We knew that -- he has been convicted.

Penn State officials chose not to stop it? We knew that -- Jerry Sandusky raped kids for years.

But what we don't know, what we're about to find out, is how Penn State responds.

We're sorry.

Would that be so hard, Penn State? Would it, family members of Joe Paterno? Don't magically find another 712-word column allegedly written by Paterno himself, at some point after he was fired, which means he wrote it from a spot damn close to his death bed. Don't release his missive that defends Penn State, defends Paterno, assures all of us that, "This is not a football scandal and should not be treated as one."

Don't do that, because we don't want to hear it. Don't whine that Paterno never had the chance to defend himself because he's dead -- not when he had a personal biographer at the end of his life. Paterno never defended himself? The book's coming. If the publisher sends me a copy, I'll rip out the pages and use them to line my cat's litter box.

We're sorry.

That's all we want to hear from anyone associated with Penn State today, and yes, that means Penn State fans. This was not your fault, so don't confuse what I'm saying with what a lot of other people will be saying today -- that you created this culture of hero worship, that you empowered Paterno to the point that he ran that school. Part of that is true, of course. You did create a culture of hero worship, and you did lift up Paterno so high that he looked down upon all he surveyed like Yertle The Turtle, a wonderful book by Dr. Seuss that I'm positive was read, when they were kids, by many of the boys who would be abused by Jerry Sandusky.

Anyway, even if lots of that is true, it's not all true. You didn't rape kids, Penn State fans; Sandusky did that. You didn't fail to stop it; Paterno and his underlings did that. But for months you -- not all of you, no; but lots of you, OK? -- have been attacking anyone who would dare acknowledge what is pretty much fact: That Joe Paterno's gross negligence allowed Jerry Sandusky to roam free, to roam your cherished Happy Valley, for years.

We're sorry.

Be sorry for attacking us, when we were mortified and then furious that these atrocities were allowed to continue while Joe Paterno continued to win football games, as if football games mattered.

Penn State officials, those now still in charge? Apologize for what happened, what was allowed to happen, at your great school. Jerry Sandusky is your legacy, and so is the coverup that kept him free for years, and we're tired of fighting you about it. It happened. You can't just change the subject like you're changing the channel on the TV at the student center when CNN broke the Freeh Report on Thursday morning. Don't tell us what's wrong with the Freeh Report. Tell us you're sorry.

As for Graham Spanier and his pathetic band of enablers, Curley and Schultz, come out and say it. Apologize for not stopping Sandusky more than 10 years ago, before countless boys were taken into the Penn State football showers or into the Sandusky basement, or both.

Apologize to the world -- for God's sake, apologize to the victims -- for not stopping it when you could. And then apologize again for defending yourself so vigorously since November. That's just another layer that none of us can understand, your need to put your own welfare above everything else once this scandal went public.

I mean, we get that your nature is to put your own welfare above everything else. It's what you negligently malevolent monsters did for years, knowing what you knew about Sandusky but never taking the proper steps -- never making sure -- to protect kids from being raped by Sandusky on your own campus. That's what you did, Spanier. You, too, Curley. And Schultz. And Paterno, may he not rest in peace. That's what all of you did for years, and it didn't work out so well for you. Nor will it work out for you now, when the world doesn't want to hear more defenses, more excuses.

What does the world want to hear? We want to hear that you're sorry.

You are sorry, aren't you?

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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