We know you don't understand. Generally, we don't try to explain. Unless you are a Buckeye or Fighting Irish, you probably don't get how an institution embeds itself in a student's life. And that is fine.
But right now, we want you to know this:
We are distraught and truly sickened by this horror perpetrated on young victims by a man who represented the Blue and White, and perpetuated by others at the University. We aren't blind followers who drink Blue Kool-Aid. We grieve for and with the victims and their families. We pray for them to find healing and peace and a way to live a good life.
We know that while many people had responsibility, the most visible one almost always goes down first. We are not disputing the need for this to happen.
We are not "defending" anything. We are simply crushed and heartbroken. This is not the Penn State we love, the Penn State that is part of our being.
What you know of Joe Paterno probably comes from television or magazine articles.
We know the man who has lived in the same McKee St house for decades. We have chatted with him as he walked to practice. We have eaten ice cream with him at the Creamery. We have studied in the new library wing his money helped build. We have visited the sports museum and spiritual center he also helped build. We have seen him cheering on other Penn State athletes. We know he loves Penn State as much as we do.
Some of our friends, brothers, husbands, sons have been privileged to put on the Blue and White uniform and listen to 100,000 fans in Beaver Stadium. We know how hard they have worked, how much time they have devoted, how many of them have been part of an excellent scholar/athlete legacy...and how much they love this man and this program.
We aren't stupid or naive. We know Joe Paterno has culpability. We know he could have made different choices - he admitted that. We don't think he is God or always perfect or saintly. But he is the greatest college football coach ever, and he is PSU family, and we don't want his exit to be like this.
WE ARE...not closing our eyes, ignoring reports, pretending this isn't a wretched occurrence.
WE ARE...angry that innocents would be violated under our care.
WE ARE...in support of appropriate punishment for every person involved.
WE ARE...demanding change to a system that would allow this.
WE ARE...not concerned if you do not understand our love and devotion.
WE ARE...PENN STATE proud and we will rise again.