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Penn State Scandal: Mike McQueary's New Story Changes Everything

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 15:  Wide receivers assistant/recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary of the Penn State Nittany Lions watches the action against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on October 15, 2005 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Nittany Lions 27-25. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images)
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
Avi Wolfman-ArentCorrespondent IIDecember 2, 2016

Right when you were ready to put Joe Paterno, Tim Curley and the whole Penn State football program in the seventh level of hell, there comes news that we should have anticipated all along: We didn't/don't know everything there is to know about the scandal at Penn State.

A source close to the investigation now tells ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that current (amazing we can still say that) Penn State coach and former graduate assistant Mike McQueary did indeed halt the locker room assault he allegedly witnessed nine years ago.

That news broke alongside an email from McQueary himself claiming that he also went to police with information about Jerry Sandusky's alleged rape of a 10-year-old boy.

Both these stories run counter to the common public assumption that McQueary a) didn't stop the assault when he witnessed it and b) kept his allegations air-tight and sealed within the formidable walls of the Penn State football program.

Now, nothing about McQueary's new tune vindicates his actions. As far as we know, McQueary still let the incident, and the man responsible, linger for years without any sort of punitive action. Nine years, in fact.

But that's the new problem we in the sporting public have to address, the specter of "as far as we know."

These revelations about McQueary's actions give me pause about the role media plays in scapegoating public figures, especially during the middle of a prolonged criminal investigation.

These legal processes are slow and generally tight-fisted when it comes to sharing crucial details. I imagine there's a lot more buried beneath the legal briefs and paper crush of detectives' files.

A few days ago, it was easy to demonize the graduate assistant with a sordid story and a conspicuous hair color. Now I'm not so sure, and I'm not so sure I want to make any more assumptions about who knew what and when they knew it.

McQueary's no angel in all of this, but it seems today that he isn't the devil we all wanted to think he was.

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