Adam Taliaferro on NCAA Punishment For Penn State: “It’s hard to deal with. It’s going to take some time for everybody to heal.”July 24, 2012 – 9:00 am by Steven Cuce
The NCAA has handed down its punishment to Penn State. The penalties include a four-year postseason ban, an annual reduction of 10 scholarships over a four-year period, five years of probation, a $60 million fine and the vacating of all wins dating back to 1998. The vacation of all wins dating back to 1998 moves Joe Paterno’s wins from 409 to 298, dropping him from first to 12th on the all-time NCAA football coaches list. None of that matters though after the wrong that has been done in State College.
The NCAA may have been harsh in its ruling, but this wasn’t because of what Jerry Sandusky did. This ruling came as a result of the cover up for Jerry Sandusky’s crimes reported in the Freeh Report. Something had to be done to serve as an example for putting football above the lives of innocent young children. The sanctions hit the Penn State community hard, especially for Adam Taliaferro. Taliaferro, a former Penn State player who broke his neck back in 2000 and is now a newly elected member of the University’s Board Of Trustees, is devastated by the news.
Adam Taliaferro joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia with Mike Missanelli to discuss his reaction to the NCAA sanctions put on Penn State, Joe Paterno’s statue being removed, learning from the Freeh Report and taking the next step at Penn State to recover from these sanctions.
What’s your reaction to what came down today with the NCAA sanctions on Penn State?
“It was tough. I think it was tough for anyone involved with Penn State. For me it was emotional because I look back on the last 12 years or so of my life and Penn State has been a very big part of it. For me, someone who broke their neck playing out there it was like man this is all gone. It’s all erased. For me throughout this whole time I really have tried to just remain as level-headed over this entire situation because like anything I think any crime against a child is the absolute worst. There’s nothing that is worse than that. What I have tried to tell people is like if you have someone in your family that makes a mistake or not even a mistake, but just a horrible decision do you just turn your back on them completely? Or do you just say this is my dad or my grandfather or whoever it may be. Do you support them? Do you just turn your back? I just…the misconception even from my end or through some of the things I said is the fact that I support the university and the football program…that is no way means that we support any of the actions or support anyone who causes harm to children. It’s just horrible and I hope and want people to understand that those are two different things. I support a lot of people. Coach Paterno is the head, but there are so many other people involved with the program and the school in general. For me I was up there at that time. I was there from 2001-2005. I was in that building every day. I had interactions with Jerry Sandusky and he had me fooled just like anyone else. It was such a horrible thing. Now that we know the facts as they are, so for me it is hard to deal with and I know for Penn Staters in general it’s a very emotional time and it’s a raw time, but I think everyone needs to come together and try to move forward with it. I pray every day that the victims are getting the closure, not the closure, but the help and the support they need cause I think that’s what needs to be first and foremost in everybody’s mind.”
How hard is it for you personally to see what has happened to Joe Paterno and his statue being removed?
“It’s tough. You look at the guys who were running behind him on the statue. They had numbers. No.82 and No.86 for his championship years. No.22 for John Cappelletti who won the Heisman. Then there’s one guy behind him wearing No.43, which is the number I wore and people say all those numbers represent a special moment in the coach’s career. For me I took a lot of pride in every time I walked by that statue and for him to have thought of me and who created those numbers and thought of me as someone who was special. With that being said coach for me was someone who was more than a coach. He was someone who really helped me, not only me, but my family in one of my lowest of times. For that I will always hold coach in high regard. Even for me it is tough though because like I said it’s like a family member that made a bad decision. You’re constantly fighting with the fact of these horrible findings, but yet you still want him and Sue Paterno, who’s had a horrible time with this thing to let her know that hey I know things are bad right now, but I’m still someone you can call upon, someone you can still talk to and be there the same way she helped me.”
What was your reaction when the Freeh Report came out for the first time?
“With the Freeh Report it’s one of these things for me that I didn’t see many new facts that I wasn’t already aware of. It’s certainly…there are people in the Penn State community that are of the mindset that there are some holes and some flaws and for me hey the report says what it says. I haven’t ran across anyone who hasn’t read it yet. People have made up their decision. They had their mind set. To try to argue with people about how you feel about it or how they should feel? I think it’s a lost cause. For me like I said I am struggling with this because the person…I was friends with Tim Curley. Tim Curley was at my house eating dinner when Penn State would come play Temple. To know all these people personally it is so hard to wrap your head around the fact that they would have went to these lengths to cover up for these horrible things, but if that’s the case I know Tim Curley is going to have his day in court and that’s what I am really looking forward to with his trial. I think a lot of speculation as far as these e-mails and which coach he was talking about. Hey when that question comes in trial that information should come out and then we can get some definite answers, but for me I have really tried to take a a reasonable approach to this thing and I represent the alumni on the board. So the alumni are hurt and I am trying to talk to as many alumni as possible and see how we can move forward with this thing. The Freeh Report the way I am looking at it is it has provided steps and recommendations for me as a trustee member to really implement within the university to try to make sure things like this never happen again.”
This is a hot button topic and there are no right or wrong answers. You seem to understand what needs to be the next step at Penn State:
“Right and I certainly agree. Like I said I am upset. I mean I am working through it myself. When this all came down I was upset. It’s going to take some time for everybody to heal. This thing first and foremost affects the victims, but they’re so many people involved with the Penn State community that they cry tears every night for the victims and everything that has happened and we just want everyone especially those in the Penn State community to know that we of course will always love the university, but just because we are supportive of the university cause we love the university doesn’t mean that we have forgotten the main reason that we are all in this situation and that’s the victims. I appreciate your time. I wanted to call in real quickly and thank you.”
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