The effects of the Jerry Sandusky scandal have hit uniquely with former Penn State tight end Troy Drayton.
The Steel-High product deals with this every day in his job as a youth and community coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.
“We do things differently now,” he said last week. “Anything that deals with kids, that comes in contact with kids, requires more training and more oversight.
“So I can understand why people feel as strong as they do with the sensitive nature of the whole thing.”
But as a former player of Joe Paterno, he said he still wants to be sure of the truth in relation to what his coach knew and who was to blame for potentially allowing Sandusky to molest young boys.
He wants to know as much as possible. And he feels as if he doesn’t yet, even after more than 18 months.
(I wanted to share Drayton’s comments after they did not fit in a column I wrote about Penn State and Paterno supporters continuing to seek the truth).
“Coach Paterno’s thumbprint is all over our lives,” said Drayton, 42. “That’s why these guys are fighting so hard because we know the integrity of the man we spent four or five years with.
“Your reputation is what you have. If he made a lapse in judgement it would be easier to swallow if it was indeed the case. It’s tougher to swallow when it’s someone’s opinion.”
Drayton was referencing last summer’s Freeh Report and the harsh NCAA sanctions that quickly followed — and the ongoing narrative that Paterno helped to cover-up or simply ignored Sandusky’s crimes in order to protect Penn State.
So, he is in favor of the recent Paterno lawsuit if it helps push for more insight into the case.
“I don’t think you bring down sanctions without doing your own (investigation),” he said of the NCAA. “The only right thing is that Penn State re-examines some of these things. You have to look at it from all angles. We tried to put this behind us as quickly as possible.
“I think everybody needs to understand and know the truth, the victims, Penn State, the coaches, the Paterno family, everybody.
“Who had the most responsibility? That is the true question. I don’t feel like we know that.”