A New York Times Op-Doc (opinion documentary) video published Tuesday shows the reaction to a lone protester against former coach Joe Paterno the day the Louis Freeh report was released. You can watch the Op-Doc here.
The Freeh report, released on July 12, 2012, implicated many at Penn State, including Paterno, in covering up the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. Directors Amir Bar-Lev and Ezekiel Morga had just started filming at the Paterno statue outside Beaver Stadium when the protester, retired Penn State math instructor Bernie McCue, showed up.
McCue wore a Penn State hat and held a small sign, which read "Paterno, the cover-up artist! Paterno, the liar! Paterno, the pedophile enabler!" He stood right next to the statue of Paterno, as other fans had gathered to take pictures with it.
The documentary shows people's reactions to McCue, who said he was prepared to be called names and knew there were people with strong opposing opinions.
"It had been eating at me, the fact that all of these symbols of Joe Paterno are still hanging around in spite of the fact that to me, it was pretty apparent that he was involved in covering up the rape of a young boy," McCue said. "It was a nice day, and what better way to spend a few hours in the afternoon than going out and publicly making it known how I felt."
The school removed the statue 10 days later, and the NCAA announced its sanctions of the team, including a vacation of all wins dating to 1998.
"There is that saying here, 'We Are Penn State'" said McCue. "It's kind of a collectivist thing. It's like we're all of one mind, that's kind of what it says. Whatever Penn State is, we all are that. Well, we're not now all Penn State."
Bar-Lev is also the director of "Happy Valley," a 98-minute film assessing the Penn State sex abuse scandal. SI.com's Emily Kaplan did a Q&A with Bar-Lev about the documentary and the scandal.
- Molly Geary