The sad and sordid tale of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State has burrowed farther into its rabbit hole of strangeness. According to a profile published by Don Van Natta Jr. in ESPN The Magazine, whistleblower Mike McQueary was sexually abused during his childhood.
In his piece, Van Natta describes a locker room scene three days after McQueary was quoted in a presentment as to having seen Sandusky engage in “anal intercourse” with a child. McQueary reportedly assembled his position group of receivers and tight ends and held a 40-minute, emotional meeting. It was there the coach tearfully confessed to players that he was paralyzed by the fear of Sandusky’s victim because he was an abuse victim as well.
McQueary does not comment in the article, other than to state his unrelenting reverence for the late Joe Paterno. However, Van Natta interviewed players who went on record with details of the meeting.
This unearthing may offer explanation as to why McQueary did not confront Sandusky that day in the shower room. Perhaps he was not a coward – the conclusion hastily jumped to by many talking heads in the media – but rather a man in the throws of PTSD. Or, perhaps, this is one more uneven story from a person with slightly incongruent stories.
Van Natta’s profile goes on to paint the complex picture of a man with a shattered life and a wealth of personal demons. From a possible gambling addiction to a broken marriage, it’s a sad tale for the once-hopeful coach.
McQueary is one of the many pieces of collateral damage left in the gaping black hole that is this scandal. As three Penn State officials go on trial later this year, more reputations will be challenged, and more livelihoods tested.
While the university is now two coaches removed from the Paterno regime, and though the program is slowly crawling out from under the NCAA sanctions, stories such as this are a chilling reminder of the reign of terror ignited by one man. Forever a black spot, cast to the peripheral, but always one profile away from returning to the forefront.
For Van Natta’s full profile on McQueary, titled The Whistleblower’s Last Stand, click here.