'Horseplay' at Penn State?

Jeff Lipkes
The verdict of the Freeh investigation was not a surprise to anyone who looked at the emails from February 2001 that were leaked to CNN on July 2nd.  They revealed that after Mike McQueary met with Vice President Gary Schultz and AD Tim Curley, Schultz planned to 1) have a talk with Jerry Sandusky, 2) tell The Second Mile, and 3) tell the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.  

But Curley sent him an email the following day advising him that after talking it over with Joe Paterno, he felt "uncomfortable" reporting the incident to any authorities.  The matter should only be discussed with Sandusky.  


President Graham Spanier agreed.  Not doing what the university was legally obliged to do was "humane" and "reasonable."  Schultz, while conceding this was indeed the "humane" approach, wanted to talk to the charity as well.


The administrators claim that they had no idea of the gravity of the charges.  They believed that Sandusky had just engaged in "horseplay."  That's what Sandusky told them.  


So what is horseplay?  

In the Dark Ages (pre-electronics), when educators believed in mens sana in corpore sano, everyone in public school was required to take P.E. every day.  The only exceptions were what were called  "band f*gs."  In high school, "Rotsies," members of the ROTC, were also exempt.  So most of us had a chance to see horseplay for six years.

Horseplay involved towels.  You snapped your towel at someone's butt.  You threw a wadded up wet towel at someone's face.  You didn't touch anyone.  Occasionally there was shoving in the locker room, but shoving was usually the prelude to a fight, and the shovers were clothed, or semi-clothed.  If you touched another guy in the showers, you'd have been instantly labeled a "fa**ot."  It would be on your Permanent Record.  Years later you could  be the recipient of wisecracks and worse.

You don't get a meeting with a university vice-president and an athletic director if you claim to have seen someone snapping a towel at someone else.  There is little reason to doubt McQueary described to the administrators what he witnessed in language similar to that which he used before the grand jury.  If anything, in the presence of the Penn State poobahs, someone in his position would be inclined to emphasize how disturbing the encounter had been.

It isn't "reasonable" or "humane" to take the word of the guy who's been accused of something.  If they had doubts about McQueary's version after talking to Sandusky, Shultz and Curry needed to hear from the victim. 

The Freeh investigators presented Pennitentiary State with no less that 133 recommendations.  One is missing: if something suspicious is going on in the showers and it doesn't involve a towel, there's a pretty good chance it isn't "horseplay."

The verdict of the Freeh investigation was not a surprise to anyone who looked at the emails from February 2001 that were leaked to CNN on July 2nd.  They revealed that after Mike McQueary met with Vice President Gary Schultz and AD Tim Curley, Schultz planned to 1) have a talk with Jerry Sandusky, 2) tell The Second Mile, and 3) tell the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.  

But Curley sent him an email the following day advising him that after talking it over with Joe Paterno, he felt "uncomfortable" reporting the incident to any authorities.  The matter should only be discussed with Sandusky.  


President Graham Spanier agreed.  Not doing what the university was legally obliged to do was "humane" and "reasonable."  Schultz, while conceding this was indeed the "humane" approach, wanted to talk to the charity as well.


The administrators claim that they had no idea of the gravity of the charges.  They believed that Sandusky had just engaged in "horseplay."  That's what Sandusky told them.  


So what is horseplay?  

In the Dark Ages (pre-electronics), when educators believed in mens sana in corpore sano, everyone in public school was required to take P.E. every day.  The only exceptions were what were called  "band f*gs."  In high school, "Rotsies," members of the ROTC, were also exempt.  So most of us had a chance to see horseplay for six years.

Horseplay involved towels.  You snapped your towel at someone's butt.  You threw a wadded up wet towel at someone's face.  You didn't touch anyone.  Occasionally there was shoving in the locker room, but shoving was usually the prelude to a fight, and the shovers were clothed, or semi-clothed.  If you touched another guy in the showers, you'd have been instantly labeled a "fa**ot."  It would be on your Permanent Record.  Years later you could  be the recipient of wisecracks and worse.

You don't get a meeting with a university vice-president and an athletic director if you claim to have seen someone snapping a towel at someone else.  There is little reason to doubt McQueary described to the administrators what he witnessed in language similar to that which he used before the grand jury.  If anything, in the presence of the Penn State poobahs, someone in his position would be inclined to emphasize how disturbing the encounter had been.

It isn't "reasonable" or "humane" to take the word of the guy who's been accused of something.  If they had doubts about McQueary's version after talking to Sandusky, Shultz and Curry needed to hear from the victim. 

The Freeh investigators presented Pennitentiary State with no less that 133 recommendations.  One is missing: if something suspicious is going on in the showers and it doesn't involve a towel, there's a pretty good chance it isn't "horseplay."