... stunned, rocked, incensed, moved, defiant, numb. Every range of emotion is reflected in readers' responses to last week's Penn State piece.
Since Jerry Sandusky's arrest for sexual abuse last fall and subsequent conviction, members of the Penn State community have all sought to understand what happened, how it was allowed to happen and how we can ensure that it will never happen again. We are committed to learning from the past in order to be a brighter light for the future. While the NCAA's sanctions were unprecedented and harsh, we will move forward with a renewed sense of commitment to excellence and integrity in every aspect, both on and off the field. Is this the end for Penn State? Hardly. We aren't going anywhere. We are, and always will be, Penn State.
Rodney Erickson, Penn State president David Joyner, acting athletic director Bill O'Brien, football coach
Does SI know the history of "We Are Penn State?" Its origins date to 1946, when the Nittany Lions voted unanimously to cancel a game against a then segregated Miami Hurricanes team because it wanted PSU to abandon its African-American players. A similar situation happened in '48, when SMU allegedly discouraged Penn State from bringing its African-Americans players to the Cotton Bowl. The team refused to meet with SMU regarding the matter, instead declaring, "We are Penn State. There will be no meetings." The game was played and ended in a 13--13 tie, and Dennie Hoggard and Wally Triplett became the first African-Americans to play in the Cotton Bowl.
Jason Mullen, Philadelphia
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TWEET OF THE WEEK
"THE 'WE WERE PENN STATE' COVER IS ONE OF THE MOST JARRING I HAVE EVER SEEN ON A MAGAZINE. IT NAILS THE TONE OF THE WHOLE TRAGEDY."
Were the Penn State sanctions fair? Here is what respondents to SI's Facebook poll thought
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]
YES. THEY GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED
NO. THE NCAA SHOULD NOT HAVE RULED ON THE CASE
YES. BUT THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE SEVERE PENALTIES
NO. THEY WERE TOO HARSH
Adam Krempasky: I am still Penn State. I'm still enrolled at an exceptional university that has an excellent program for my Information Sciences and Technology major. I can't wait to get back on campus for the start of the new semester. I can't wait to camp outside Beaver Stadium, support my team and watch the Nittany Lions play. I can't wait to watch my beloved school bounce back and see critics eat their words.
Robin O'Neal Smith: I think your cover is disgusting and is an insult to the many current students and alumni. They had nothing to do with what Sandusky did.
Erin Weaver: I believe SI's intention with the cover was to boldly state that it will be a long time before PSU's football program regains its prestige and glory.
Marcel Gehres: Penn State officials should be ashamed of themselves. They let the abuse go on for years simply to protect their football program! The lives of Jerry Sandusky's victims will forever be changed, yet no one seems to be protesting that. They should adopt a new slogan in Happy Valley: WAKE UP, PENN STATE!
Kathleen Pierce: We are more than just a football program. We are a leading academic and research institution. We are 560,000 alumni and 40,000 students who do not support Sandusky. We are THON, the largest student-run philanthropy organization in the world, which, since 1973, has raised more than $89 million for the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that provides support for patients and families battling pediatric cancer. Again, We Are Penn State.
Webb Wartelle: Instead of being offended by the cover, why not be offended by the lack of action taken by the university? Sandusky was still floating around on campus as recently as November 2011, yet fans are upset by media headlines?
COVER: MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY; BACKGROUND BY FRED VUICH; PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SI IMAGING