PDT Sports Editor
The latest chapter of the Jerry Sandusky and Penn State sex abuse scandal was written Thursday when former FBI Director Louis Freeh released a damning report on his investigation into the responsibility of multiple Penn State officials, including football coach Joe Paterno.
Former Penn State football player and Portsmouth native Gerald Cadogan is ready to see the national attention move on from his alma mater.
“I’ve seen bits and pieces (of the report), it has been all over the news but I have had to just kind of try to stray away from watching too much,” Cadogan said. “Honestly, what more needs to be said? I think the media has picked it up and they are running with it once again. All the coaches have lost their jobs, Sandusky was tried by a jury and was found guilty and is now sitting in prison.
“They’re just looking to point more blame at this person and that person. I just don’t see the point. The punishment has been given out. Basically I feel like the punishment was Sandusky was found guilty and it should just end there.”
Cadogan, a former All-Big Ten tackle during his time at Penn State and a highly regarded prospect during his time playing in the Portsmouth High School football program, said the newest development should not reflect negatively on the current state of the university as the responsible parties have been disassociated from the school.
“Penn State had an obligation, basically, to right a wrong in the sense that anybody involved in that thing should have lost their position and that is what happened,” Cadogan said. “Paterno passed away, Sandusky was convicted they’re ready to shut the chapter on them and move on and once again it’s on every news channel and ESPN and it’s like, here we go again. It’s like a never-ending saga.”
The report alleged a cover-up by Paterno and three Penn State administrators that allowed Sandusky to continue using university facilities where he sexually abused boys over a 14-year span. According to an interview conducted by Freeh and his associates during the investigation, a Penn State janitorial staff member that observed Sandusky sexually abusing a boy said, “I know Paterno has so much power, if he wanted to get rid of someone, I would have been gone.”
Despite the report’s presentation of a “culture of reverence” for the football program and for Paterno’s authority, Cadogan said the team was not an untouchable entity within the university.
“No, never untouchable. The reason that I chose Penn State was the fact that it was definitely a family atmosphere, the fact that they held strong to academics, the fact that it wasn’t just a football factory,” he said. “We won on the field and in the classroom and that is what I think that people need to still realize. Penn State is still that university.”
The enduring reputation of the university is something Cadogan hopes will not be overshadowed by its darkest chapter.
“Basically, I think this is definitely an isolated incident in terms of, you had Sandusky involved and you had allegedly, some emails and what not, so it is not a representation of the whole university, it’s not a representation of former players or anything like that,” Cadogan said. “It had to do with specific individuals, Sandusky and those victims at that time. Yes, it happened at Penn State, but I would have a hard time for people to attach Penn State to all of this when it’s an isolated incident.”
Penn State is as much an academic institution as it is a family institution for Cadogan. His brother, Nate, also a product of Portsmouth High School, is entering his redshirt junior season as a Nittany Lion offensive tackle.
“I spoke to him just told don’t worry about this and to stay focused on classes and just keep working hard. Don’t let these distractions, don’t let all this nonsense distract you from what you have been doing all summer,” Gerald Cadogan said. “…Those guys didn’t do anything and weren’t a part of it and probably none of them knew about it and yet here they are on the cusp of football camp. My brother has football camp in three weeks and they are dealing with all this on top of class. It’s just crazy.”
Gerald said he and his brother spoke about the changes under the new coaching regime of Bill O’Brien. Even with all the turmoil, he believes the basic values of Penn State remain.
“He just talked to me about their summer workouts and how they differ from when coach Paterno was there, but at the end of the day they have a job to do. Win on the field and win off the field in the classroom,” Gerald Cadogan said. “Those are the things that will always remain Penn State traditions no matter who is at the helm of leadership there. Those items make Penn State, Penn State University and those things will be untouched.”
Bob Strickley may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org.