16 October 2012

McQueary Files Whistleblower, Defamation, and Misrepresentation Lawsuit against Penn State

by Amy Coleman, Staff Writer

The quiet Happy Valley is once again polarized and Mike McQueary is in the center of it all.  This time he is the plaintiff.  The well-known whistleblower of the Jerry Sandusky scandal is now invoking the PA Whistleblower Protection Laws as justification for a 19-page civil action with the Centre County Court of Common Pleas on October 3rd.      

The particulars of the claim are three suits: violation of the Whistleblower statute, defamation of character, and misrepresentation.  In essence, McQueary views that he was singled out by the previous administration by not being given treatment similar to other Assistant Football Coaches at the time.  Also, his character was defamed when then-University President Spanier made oral and written statements insinuating that McQueary was lying about ‘blowing the whistle’ on Sandusky.  And, Athletics Director Curly and Senior VP Schultz misrepresented that they would make appropriate action so that McQueary would rely upon these statements and not take further action to stop Sandusky.

Although the reaction by the Penn State community has yet to be fully understood, it is difficult to imagine a more brow-beaten group, should the court impose monetary sanctions on the University.  More importantly, is it possible that any court-imposed sanctions could further depress the Penn State nation after the NCAA-sanctions? 

Gene J. Puskar/Associated-Press
The NCAA imposed sanctions upon Penn State, due to its involvement in the Sandusky Scandal.  These include a 4-year ban on bowl games, 40 initial athletic scholarships lost over 4 years, a $60 million fine, vacating all 1998-2011 victories (dethroning Joe Paterno for most all time victories in major college football), and 5 years’ probation, according to USAToday.

At 37, Mike McQueary has spent most of his life as a Nittany Lion, at quarterback 1994-1997, Graduate Assistant Coach 2000-2002, Football Administrative Assistant in 2003, and then Wide Receiver Assistant Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator until he was put on Administrative leave, according to the Penn State Athletics website.  Yet, many students and alumni viewed McQueary as not doing enough in the Sandusky scandal.  On November 10, 2011, Andersen Cooper 360° held a poll asking if McQueary should be allowed to coach because he did not do enough.  An overwhelming 86.19% of those who responded said “No.” 

Was McQueary’s biggest mistake not telling someone else?  Hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps his biggest mistake was driving the bus that would bring the great “Joe Pa” down.  And that is a wound that will probably never heal, even after the NCAA sanctions and fines are long forgotten.  In fact, a blog was published on October 08, 2012, several months after any such commentary on the Sandusky trial, alleging that McQueary perjured himself when he testified about what he saw that night in the locker rooms (Read the blog).  Of course, this blog does not present that Sandusky was innocent or that he was not in fact in the locker room that night with a child.  Instead, it outlines the difference between hearing a sexual act in the showers and seeing it, no doubt as an attempt to add skepticism as to what McQueary actually told Paterno so as to justify Paterno’s actions.  This blog is only one of many out there seeking to avenge Paterno’s legacy. 

In the end, it is seriously doubtful that McQueary will be able to come back from this in the sports world, let alone the small Penn State community which has been closing ranks since a year ago when this scandal first broke.