The ongoing and exhausting legal battle between the Paterno family and the NCAA doesn’t look like it’ll be ending any time soon.
Both sides are jawing over the introduction of discovery materials, with the Paternos wanting it released ASAP and the NCAA arguing that it’s an attempt to influence public opinion.
Don’t hold your breath. This one could take awhile.
But for those looking for a little more insight into the family’s side of things, Jay Paterno has begun to promote his recently finished book, “Paterno Legacy: Enduring Lessons from the Life and Death of My Father,” which will be out at the start of football season.
It got lost a bit in the shuffle a few weeks ago, but Jay did a lengthy interview in a podcast with the excellent Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports. He talks about going through the maelstrom of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and its aftermath, including the death of his father, how news is covered in the Twitter age and his abruptly halted foray into politics.
You can listen to the whole thing here. For those just wishing to skim through to certain topics, here is a transcript of the entire podcast. Regardless of your opinion of Joe, Jay, Penn State or the NCAA, it’s an interesting perspective in part because Jay hasn’t done many lengthy interviews since not being retained as a coach at his alma mater.
JAY PATERNO: When my dad died, obviously there was so much going on, and having to be in the public eye and deliver the final speech at his memorial service, and having so many people grieving about the fact that he was gone, I had to carry that with me a lot. So (writing the book) is probably the one time I got to sit down and really get mad, be sad, laugh, cry. I finally got to kind of be with my dad and go through those emotions alone. So it was great.
It was so much that there was just no way to keep up with it. I can remember ‘Inside Edition,’ suddenly they’re calling our media people. And we’re going, ‘Inside Edition?’
After the Nebraska game, I went in the media room and really, when you see people in there that you’ve never seen before — ABC News is there, not ABC Sports but ABC News is there — and they’re calling our media people saying, ‘You guys have a game this weekend. Is it home?’
Obviously a lot of people that you never expected to see. But there was a moment where there were really hundreds of reporters — 150, whatever it was — reporters across from my dad’s house. And one of my brothers and sisters was kind of complaining about the fact that these people were camped out over there.
And my dad said, ‘Hey, look — they’ve got a job to do. Don’t be mad at them. They’ve got an editor or they got somebody that says they gotta be there. Believe me, they probably do not want to be there.’ (True. —derek) He just had great perspective in that regard.
And having been a member… having been somebody who writes… one of the other things I do is I’ve lectured at Penn State’s College of Communications classes for years. Six, seven years. And I understand, there’s great pressure to be first. In fact in many ways, there’s more pressure to be first than there is to be right. Because the business model right now rewards being first over being right. So it’s frustrating, but I understood what the problem was.
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BRUCE FELDMAN: This to me was one of the first big Twitter stories, with sports. And I’m part of this too. People are in the moment. There becomes the outrage to the outrage. Get this echo chamber. As you’re in the middle of it, are you sitting there going, ‘We can’t get out in front of this, it’s become kind of a grease fire’?
JAY: Yeah, and I think, without trying to assign anybody’s intentions for how the whole thing happened and how it was handled by the university, this story broke on a Friday. Penn State issued one statement on Saturday and then the media got nothing from Penn State from Saturday morning until Wednesday night when they fired him.
And in this day and age, in the Twitter age, an hour is a long time to respond. Three hours is an eternity. And 128 hours later is when they finally responded. So like you said, there was a grease fire, but there was nobody trying to put it out, or contain it or do any kind of damage control.
Joe was all set to do a press conference on Tuesday and answer a lot of questions about. He was all set. He had a statement, he was ready to go. And the university pulled the plug on it, which only poured more gas on the fire. And again, not trying to assign any kind of ill intent, but that’s just the way it was.
And you’re right, this was the first really, really big mess that really hit in the Twitter age. And like you said, it becomes — even when you look at what’s going on with (Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl) coming back from Afghanistan, Sergeant Bergdahl — (Stephen) Colbert said the other night, ‘We’ll give you more information as it becomes available, which I hope it doesn’t, because right now I’m in that sweet spot between total ignorance and righteous indignation.’
And it’s really kind of where we were. Penn State wasn’t responding, so the story just kind of took off on its own and it was just, you couldn’t control it. And we knew it.
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BRUCE: How much do you think that there is an ‘Aha! moment’ that played into this. This isn’t Bobby Petrino getting into the spotlight, this is the name Paterno … and arguably the worst kind of crime that you can hear about, that it is connected to. Does that add to the feeding frenzy? When you’re in the middle of it, how do you react to it? Do you go, ‘Hey, the facts are going to come out,’ or is there just no changing the minds of the people who don’t know us or know this story well enough?
JAY: I think some of both. There’s some people that you’re never going to get back. I’ve had people… One thing from the book that I think people will find very interesting is that I took Tweets and emails and anonymous letters I got and put them in, in their entirety.
And some of them are so beautiful as to how people reach out to other people and some of them are absolutely… people will go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe somebody would actually Tweet that to you or email that to you.’
One of them was something to the effect of, after my dad died, ‘Your dad took the easy way out with cancer. Thank God he’s dead.’
Now things like that, you just go, ‘Who does that?’ I mean, what kind of human being Tweets that? I mean, I’ve been mad at people, but I wouldn’t even… I wouldn’t Tweet that at anybody.
But it takes awhile to uncover facts. Especially in a case as complex as this. But unfortunately, we’re in an age where time is of the essence and within two days… I mean, look what happened with (the Donald Sterling situation in) the NBA. Within two days, they wanted the commissioner up there to do an investigation and make a decision in 48 hours.
And that’s tough to do and really get it right. And that’s not to say he did or didn’t (get it right) — I don’t know all the facts in that case and I don’t pretend to, I don’t want to touch it.
But that’s the kind of pressure we’re under now. Gotta act quickly, gotta act quickly. And that’s not a criticism of anybody, that’s just a reality of where we’re at.
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BRUCE: What’s it like when, all of the sudden now, people who don’t know you or don’t know your family, but all of a sudden, whenever your name comes up … just the name Jay Paterno invites venom coming back. And I assume you get that pretty much every day?
JAY: No — if I went to look for it, I could. But not that much. But like you said, it went from where… and I talk about that in the book, I talk about what that has meant.
I go to my dad’s grave, and I look at that name and I think of, forever now, there will be people that associate his name with something that… with, you know, a crime he reported. That’s the thing that’s frustrating.
We vilify the guy because he reported it exactly as he was supposed to by the law. And exactly the only way he was allowed to report it by law. Now, if the law’s flawed, that’s a whole other story, but… It is frustrating, but you just have to be patient.
One of the things that my dad always talked about was Abraham Lincoln, that he would get really angry. He would sit down and write a letter to whoever he was angry at. He’d put it in a drawer and the next day he’d read it, and most of the times, he’d throw it away.
And my dad was that way. He never overreacted to criticisms or things like that in the moment. Now when he was younger, he did. But (not) as he got older. And I learned that from him.
If I kept a list of the things that I was going to Tweet, and did not… And again, that’s part of what happens in these situations. Twitter gives you immediate access to your emotions. And it’s real, because you say exactly what you think at that moment. And you may regret it later.
It’s one of those things that you have to constantly step back and say, ‘OK, do I really want to say this?’ And you’ve gotta deal with it. And I think that’s one of the lessons I got out of it with my dad, he’d say, ‘Don’t get in pissing contests with a skunk.’ And you have to keep that in mind.
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BRUCE: Some of the people who seem to be championing what I would say is the Paterno legacy or Joe Paterno’s side of things, you wonder how much harm they were doing with the process of how they were doing it. I don’t know how much control over what other people do. … From your side of things, do you think that did more harm than good, some of the people trying to make their case for your dad or not?
JAY: Oh, I don’t know. It’s hard to say. The thing I’ve learned out of this whole thing, this particular issue, really — and I get into some of this in the book — because of the Catholic church’s handling or not handling of it 15 years ago, and how that kind of played out, it’s really almost become a kind of witch trial topic. It’s very emotional. And I don’t mean that everybody that’s accused, it’s a witch trial. What I mean is it’s such an emotional issue.
If anybody wants to try and say, ‘Well, Joe did this,’ and defend him, then there’ll be someone that comes at them really hard. And then people want to go after the media.
And I think there is, without question, regardless of this story or any other story, there is great suspicion people have of the media covering events now. Because liberals don’t trust Fox News. Conservatives don’t trust MSNBC. And (those networks) aren’t shy about the fact that they have opinions on one side or the other.
But I think there is definitely a… I don’t think there’s a vast media conspiracy out there. But people are human. They’re gonna get things wrong. And they’re gonna have sources that are not telling the truth. And they’re gonna have sources that get it wrong.
But I think people trying to go after the media and that kind of stuff… you know, if something’s right or something’s wrong… just like the media gets some things right and gets some things wrong, people going after the media are going to get some things right and some things wrong.
There are some people in the media that I’ve dealt with that I feel have been very, very fair and some people that just shut it down and said, ‘I’ve got my opinion and I don’t care what new facts or what facts are out there, I’ve got my opinion and I’ve already expressed it to my millions of readers.’ Which I think is bad journalism, personally. One time, we thought the world was flat.
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BRUCE: People talk about the power Joe Paterno held and wonder if he wanted more done in this situation, why it wasn’t expedited. What’s your best answer to that?
JAY: The best answer is this — if it was fourth-and-1 in Beaver Stadium, he’s the most powerful guy on campus because he says if we’re going for it or we’re not going for it. When it comes to the law, he’s a citizen equal in the eyes of the law to anybody else.
And this particular issue — when I went on ESPN in February of 2013, they were very adamant about, ‘Well, of course Joe had to know that Jerry did this.’ And I said, ‘You guys have got to understand one thing — if you’re talking about a DUI, it’s one thing. If you’re talking about sexual abuse, whether it’s of a child or whether it’s of a female, or whatever it is — there is an expectation, and there is a privacy element, as it relates to the victim. And also of the accused.’
So when Joe was told a story — told by Mike McQueary that he thought he had seen something — the only thing Joe was allowed to do by law was to tell his superiors. That’s state policy, that’s university policy. The police are in no way allowed to come back to Joe and say, ‘This is who the victim is.’ You can’t do it.
But on the other part of it, Jerry wasn’t working for him any more anyway. So Jerry wasn’t a university employee. But, that said, as far as the law is concerned, it doesn’t matter if you’ve won 400 games or you’ve won one game. When dealing with the laws and issues with a crime like this, it does not matter.
All that power that you may have or may not, Joe had no police force. Joe had no subpoena power. Joe couldn’t go investigate the crime. Wasn’t allowed to.
And if he had called to follow up, he would have been told — if he had called the police and said, ‘Hey, I want to know what’s going on with Jerry,’ he would have been told, ‘We can’t give you any information on that. You better stay out of it.’
And I’ve had people in the military tell me that, they’ve gone through the same thing. I’ve had people in education, people in health, that have tried to follow up with calls to the police after they’ve reported something, they’re told, ‘Look, you’re not allowed to know anything about this. We need to protect the victim, we need to protect the accused.’
So I know people think that because he won a lot of games, he can wave a magic wand and say, ‘I want this done and you have to do this, or else.’ But ultimately he’s not an elected official. He’s not a district attorney. He’s not attorney general of the state. You can’t do that. It’s not an easy answer, but that’s what it is.
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BRUCE: You grew up around the Penn State program — when you hear the name Jerry Sandusky now, what goes through your mind in retrospect?
JAY: One of the guys that wrote a report, Jim Clemente… Look, it’s a very conflicting thing. Because even when he was charged, it was so hard to believe because I had known this guy all my life. Been around him all my life. And coached with him. And one thing Jim Clemente said was, ‘Look, these guys are great at fooling people.’ This is what they do. They don’t need enablers. They don’t need people to cover for them. In fact, the reason they’re good is because they…
You know, you and I grew up and we thought… you’d think the guy that was a threat to children was a guy in a white van and a trenchcoat, cruising parking lots and elementary schools or playgrounds. You never thought a guy that could do this would be a married, non-drinking, church-going person that you knew, who had started a statewide charity. You just didn’t think that was possible. Those things don’t jive.
But now, having learned a lot more about this issue, and read a lot about it and really become immersed in it in some ways, you realize that’s exactly where you should be looking.
(A guy you know), nobody thinks that. And Jim Clemente talked about a number of cases he’d seen when he was an FBI profiler he had cracked, and they were all people like… This guy was a former FBI agent that started a youth soccer league, had hundreds of kids. It’s hard to get your head around.
So it’s still one of those things. And then he went to his trial, guilty and the whole nine yards. But it’s still a tough thing to comprehend how somebody can make that jump where somebody does that. It’s just not… it’s not something that you see everyday.
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BRUCE: Of the guys on that last 2011 Penn State staff, who are the ones you still speak to or keep in touch with?
JAY: About all of them. Tom Bradley I talk to, Kermit Buggs down at Old Dominion now. Larry Johnson. Ron Vanderlinden’s out at Air Force. Bill Kenney’s out at Western Michigan. So I still talk to those guys on and off every once in awhile. There’s always going to be something that kind of binds us.
Because the thing that was amazing about this whole… that season we’re 8-1, we’ve got an off week. We leave practice that Friday morning before … and we all go out recruiting that Friday, and midway through the day, all the sudden we find out, there’s something gonna happen.
And we were on our way to a great year. On our way to… you know, really, I think if this doesn’t happen, we beat Nebraska, we beat Ohio State, we win the division and go to the Big Ten championship game. But obviously it didn’t happen because all of that other stuff that happened.
So it was very, very… And you know, I think the thing a lot of people… I’ve had some people who’ve read the book and said it’s so interesting hearing the perspective from inside of it and how you’re trying to coach a team, you’re trying to keep your players focused, and then you’re dealing with this.
And it was not easy, I can tell you that much. We’re always going to be bound together because of that no question.
BRUCE: When was the first time you heard Mike McQueary had come to your dad’s house on that Saturday morning?
JAY: Ah, geez. The first time would have been… My dad went to the grand jury in January of 2011. I think it was January. And my brother (Scott) had called me and filled me in, I guess it was maybe a week before my dad went to the grand jury, I don’t know the exact day.
And people are like, ‘Well, how come you don’t remember?’ … Three years later, you look back and you think, ‘Was it this day or was it that day?’
But my brother kind of filled me in as to why Dad was going to the grand jury, what the situation was. That was the first time anybody really laid it out to me like that. The whole thing was kind of a surprise.
* * *
BRUCE: To know that kind of situation existed, how did that affect your relationship with Mike McQueary at that point going forward?
JAY: I didn’t bring it up with him because it was one of those things… from what I understand, we weren’t supposed to talk to each other about any of that stuff anyway because at some point we were all going to have to be questioned by the police and that kind of stuff.
But I just treated it — in terms of my relationship with him — I just kind of kept everything the way it had been. Coached and worked together and tried to do the best job we could. And at that point, we still didn’t know what was going on.
And one of the things that’s been tough is I think a lot of people have… I think we’ve gotta be careful that we as a society don’t vilify people that report crimes.
Ultimately, Mike thought he saw something and he reported it. My dad was told about something and he reported it. And there are some who want to cast those guys as bad guys. I think that’s a dangerous outcome for this story.
Because what does that tell the next man or woman that thinks they see something? The moral of the story we don’t want to be is, ‘Hey, just put your head down’ and we didn’t see anything.’
But it didn’t change my relationship at all. And I didn’t ask him about it. In fact, he and I have never really talked about it. I always figured that if he wanted to talk to me about it, he would bring it up.
It’s certainly something that in his shoes, I wouldn’t necessarily want to talk about all the time with people either. That’s kind of how I handled it in terms of that.
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BRUCE: What do you think it’s been like for him in the wake of all of this?
JAY: Like I said, I think one of the things that I don’t want… the moral of the story I don’t want to come out of this — and I don’t think anybody who’s got any intelligence about this issue would want — is for people who…
We’ve got to be careful that the lesson isn’t that we’re going to go through your garbage and everything if you report this, and it becomes public. I think what’s gotta happen is, the merits of the case has gotta be the merits of the case. And when you sit down…
I imagine it’s gotta be very, very tough for him. Because people are trying to assign motive to him. He hasn’t really come out and given his side and talked about it. And that’s not to fault him. I understand completely why he would not really want to get into it as much as he can.
So I just hope that when the trials are all done and everything, everybody can kind of find some peace in all of this.
* * *
BRUCE: Which stung you more from all of this — the reaction from the media or the fallout from the Freeh Report?
JAY: The Freeh Report probably stung more than the media because of the fact that it was just complete — I can’t say (the word) I want to say — but it’s just not true.
He put out seven pages of conclusions, and I remember that morning going through it and reading and saying, ‘Well, there’s no proof here, as it relates to my dad, certainly.’ There’s no proof here. There’s nothing here.
But unfortunately, what happens is, the conclusions get reported as fact and without anybody really doing any digging. A guy like Bob Costas has gone on and said, ‘Look, I went on the air without having really read the whole Freeh Report and now I’ve read it.’ And he basically said there was no cover-up.
One of the attorney generals, one of the prosecuting attorneys for Jerry Sandusky’s case was on 60 Minutes and told Armen Keteyian there’s no evidence, Joe was not involved in a cover-up.
But that’s not what Freeh wrote. Freeh basically said they were all involved in a conspiracy to keep this quiet to protect the football program, which is not true.
So that kind of stung, because that tag sticks. Whether we want it to or not. And it takes time to undo those things, and we’ll get to that. It’s going to take some time.
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BRUCE: Do you believe for a lot of people that you’ll be able to undo some of the things that came from the media report is and the Freeh Report?
JAY: I think you’re going to be seeing more and more that… there’s more and more people in the media that are referring to the Freeh Report as not necessarily gospel. More and more people talk about the flaws in it. And I think there’s a lot of court cases that are going to address things. And I think there’ll be things that come out in those cases.
Dr. Spanier’s got one, he’s got a case against Louis Freeh. So it’ll be interesting to see how that comes out. Tim Curley, Graham Spanier and Gary Schultz, they haven’t got a trial yet and we’re going two years, seven months or so since this all happened
I think one of the things that’s gotta happen is the legal process has gotta play out before anybody can really make any definitive final statements.
But yeah, there are people who go, ‘Well, Louis Freeh said this.’ You know, Louis Freeh also had Richard Jewell as the Atlanta Olympics bomber. And if you ask people who set off the bomb at the Atlanta Olympics, a lot of people will still say Richard Jewell, even though we know it was Eric Rudolph now.
Like I said, it’s going to take time. And there’s some people you’ll never get back. There’s people that have closed the book on this, and they know all they need to know. You can’t get upset about it. That’s just the way it is.
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BRUCE: Do you think you’ll ever coach again in college?
JAY: I’d like to. But I think it’s going to take somebody who is… it’s going to take somebody very unique to, as an athletic director or a head coach, to kind of want to take this on. Because look — in the short term, the first question you’re gonna get when you hire a guy like me, somebody like me with my last name, is gonna be, ‘Well, what about that whole scenario?’ I’m not naive of that. And that’s just the reality of it.
It’s unfortunate, because I enjoy coaching and it’s really something that I love doing and did for 20-plus years. Felt like I did a good job at it. So we’ll see. Maybe that’s going to be for some other people to decide at some point.
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BRUCE: Even Tom Bradley, it was hard for him to get a job, much less a coaching job. Because people are afraid of what might come out down the road. Is that pretty accurate?
JAY: Oh, absolutely. Look, I’ve talked to Tom over and over about it. It was a frustrating process for him. Because you look at what we did the last few… from the end of November 2004 all the way to the end of Joe’s career — so essentially you’re looking at a span of seven seasons — we were the sixth-best record in the country.
We were the only school in the country that was graduating over 77 percent of our players and winning over 77 percent of our games. And that was by a wide margin. So it’s not like we were limping toward the finish. We were actually revving up.
Like I said, when Joe got fired, we were 8-1 and we had a two-game lead in the Big Ten. So it wasn’t like we were not doing a good job as coaches. It wasn’t like our program was a bad situation. Penn State’s athletics department was making 16, 18 million dollars of profit a year. One of the most profitable athletic departments in the country with 31 sports.
It wasn’t like we were coming from something that was bad. But this really kind of cast a pall over all of it. So yeah, it was tough. No question about it.
* * *
BRUCE: You were considering a political career. Where does that stand now?
JAY: Yeah, I was going to run for lieutenant governor and then we had a challenge to our… Pennsylvania has very archaic laws in terms of getting petition signatures to get on the ballot. And basically it was coming down to there was going to be a challenge.
I was the frontrunner at the time for lieutenant governor and they were going to challenge my signatures. And it was going to get into a very long, drawn-out process five weeks into the primary. It was going to take two or three weeks and just continue to go on and on and on.
I just felt like I didn’t want to be a distraction to the overall race because I felt like it was more important that the governor primary go the right way, not become a focus of it. Because really, ultimately, beyond what happened at Penn State, the governor of the state currently, Tom Corbett — who’s a guy I disagree with fundamentally on a lot of issues — I wanted to see that he doesn’t get reelected.
I felt like the best thing for me to do was step away and not be a distraction. But I haven’t ruled out running for anything in the future, we’ll see what happens.
But I’ve been interested in politics all my life and then got active in ‘08 and was a surrogate speaker for the Obama campaign in 2010. I campaigned with Vice President Biden and a lot of people have been trying to get me to run since 2009, 2010, 2011.
I said I’m not going to do anything until my dad… certainly not before my dad retires. I didn’t want to be somewhere else when he walked off the field for the last time.
But we’ll see what happens in the future. I’ve learned a lot of things. Coaching has taught me a lot of things. And being a guy that when out and…
When you go out and recruit, and I know you wrote a book about recruiting — ‘Meat Market’ with Ed Orgeron and Ole Miss — you know a lot of stories. You see where some of these guys come from.
And one of the things that always struck me was that in one day you could be in one of the wealthiest school districts and looking at a kid, and then in an hour — even within a half-hour, 20 minutes, 15 minutes — you’re in the poorest school district.
And one of my big issues is that the education opportunities in this country are not equal. And I learned that from coaching, being allowed to teach students from a lot of things. That was something I was very passionate about.
* * *
BRUCE: If things didn’t happen the way they did in 2011, do you think you would have been destined for more of a political career — before the Paterno name became more polarizing?
JAY: Well I think the thing is, it depends on how much you… The further you get away from State College, I think the more polarizing it is. When I was on the campaign trail, whether it was in Philly or whether it was in Pittsburgh or whether it was in Erie, the reaction I was getting from voters and people I encountered was really, really positive.
I know within this state there’s a lot of people that have, they’ve followed the story and I would get told over and over and over again, ‘Your dad got railroaded, your dad got railroaded. Loved your dad. Loved your family. Loved what you guys stand for,’ within the state.
So I don’t think it’ll hurt me. If I run for president, I’ll have bigger worries than this.
* * *
BRUCE: What was your reaction to Bill O’Brien, did a great job and goes to the NFL, and now here comes James Franklin. Your perspective? How has the transition been to him and how has he been doing so far?
JAY: I think all right. The recruiting delivery… You talk about recruiting, and I don’t follow it as closely as I used to — and also, one thing I do know, is you take recruiting rankings with a grain of salt. Because we’ve had some kids…
I think he’s doing a good job. And I think it’s a tough situation because the kids you’ve got now, the kids that are fourth- and fifth-year seniors, they were here when Joe got fired. They were here for two months under Tom Bradley. And then they had Bill O’Brien and dealt with that transition. And now they’re dealing with transition with James Franklin.
And one of the things that’s tough for college athletes is you get used to a routine. And then all of a sudden, there’s a different coach, a different expectation, different routine. And you get used to that with Bill O’Brien for two years, and all of a sudden you’ve got a different expectation, different routine with James Franklin. So it’s tough on those kids more than anything.
But I think both Bill O’Brien and Franklin will handle it. Bill — you know I didn’t get to know those guys really, really well and I tried to stay away from it. The one thing I don’t want to be is a guy that’s popping his head in and saying, ‘Well, Joe did this and Joe did that and Joe did this and why aren’t you doing that.’ Because that’s not my business, number one.
Number two, they’re the head coach. They’ve gotta run it the way they’re comfortable. Obviously we’ll see how it goes in the fall and I expect them to do better than a lot of people think. They’ve got some people that… The schedule sets up pretty well for them, and I think they’ve got a chance to surprise some people this fall.
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BRUCE: Do you read stories and books about all of this? I know John Bacon had a book (“Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football”). Did you try to read a lot of that?
JAY: No, it’s funny… The Bacon book, there were a lot of people that had a lot of issues with inaccuracies in that book. There were some stories in that book about me, and he never called me or fact-checked one thing of that. And he got some things absolutely wrong.
It’s one of those things, you can’t get worked up about it. You go through things where you get up in the morning and you just hope that you go through a news cycle and nothing comes up. And most days now that’s the case.
The first year-and-a-half of this, I think there was one day there was not a story written about this situation. And it was Christmas Day of 2011. One day in 400-something days that there wasn’t something written about it. So there was stuff from the news cycle all the time. But luckily that kind of died down a little bit.
But when things pop up, you read it. One of the things we’ve made sure of now is if there are inaccuracies being reported, we’re going to respond, whereas early on we couldn’t respond to everything, but we can now. And we will, because I think it’s important to us to make sure every chance we get to set the record straight.
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BRUCE: Do you feel like this topic, for victims of child abuse, this may reopen some old wounds for them?
JAY: I’m sure it does. I don’t want to speak for them. But I think one of the things that we have certainly hoped has come out of this — and one of the things that we did in the reports that were issued in 2013 — was we actually…
A guy like Jim Clemente, who was a child sexual abuse survivor himself, FBI profiler, when we went on the Katie Couric show, we made sure he had a slot to talk and educate people. There were very real recommendations in the things he talked about … and he needed a forum to go out and talk about this issue.
One of the things I hope, if nothing else — and there have been some things that have been tough on me and my family, and certainly on my mother — but I hope that what would come out of this is that people are just aware of it. And people start to learn more about it.
Because look, I got my own children. And there were issues as related to this that I was in no way, shape or form aware of that was happening. And I’ve had people who are school board members and teachers and principals that have read the report we put out and have emailed us or called us and said, ‘Thanks you guys for doing this, because we can give this to our teachers as a resource.’
My dad said forever it’s not what happens in your life that matters, it’s how you react to what happens in life that matters. And we’ve tried to react in a way that builds.
Obviously it might be something that’s painful and may reopen some wounds… And again, like I said, I can’t speak for them, but I think if nothing else, the silver lining would be that we’ve created awareness and this issue has created awareness nationally that may not have been there.
And that’s something that can happen and change and prevent other people from having to go through this … then I think that’s a net positive.