The idea was for players of yesterday to offer advice and support to the current players, who, through no fault of their own, have been forced to deal with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and head coach Joe Paterno's firing.
"Some of the players feel as though they are being blamed for something they had nothing to do with," said Tim Sweeney, president of the Penn State Letterman's Club. "They were assured that we, as lettermen, stand with them through this."
A linebacker who lettered at PSU in 1987 and 1988, Sweeney read from a prepared statement just outside the Lasch Football Building. He said the group supports the hiring of Tom Bradley (himself a PSU letterman) as interim head coach and asked fans to continue to support the current players.
Earlier in his comments, he asked people to pray for the alleged victims in the Sandusky case and to use restraint while demonstrating.
Other former players at the meeting with the current athletes were Jack Ham, Dennis Onkotz, Trey Bauer, Justin Kurpeikis and Keith Conlin, to name a few.
You can hear all of Sweeney's comments in the video below. You can see a verbatim copy of his statement just beneath the video.
TIM SWEENEY'S STATEMENT
My name is Tim Sweeney and I am the President of the Penn State Football Letterman's Club and I would like to read a prepared statement on behalf of the Club. I will not be taking questions after reading this statement so there will be no way that my personal comments will, in any way, misrepresent the position of our Club. We are an organization comprised of almost one thousand former football lettermen and football managers that was established approximately thirty years ago. Our Club has been instrumental in helping our members in times of need and establishing and endowing scholarships within the University.
We prefer to remain a low-key organization but felt it was time to make a public statement after several decisions have been made this week especially with the firing of Joe. The timing of this statement is calculated as we felt it was paramount to reach out to the current members of the football squad and speak directly with them before making a public statement. The Letterman's Club, with prior approval from Joe Paterno, and with the approval of Tom Bradley, was permitted to speak with the team this afternoon and that discussion remains confidential.
First and foremost, our Club echoes the sentiments from Joe Paterno and we ask everyone to pray for the victims and their families in the case. There have been numerous developments this week but all of us must remember and be mindful that no lives have been negatively impacted more than these victims.
It is our sincere hope that the victims do not get lost in all of the discussions surrounding the future of Penn State and Penn State Football.
Secondly, we ask that the students and fans remain calm and respect all property as they assemble and demonstrate. It is paramount for them to obey all laws and abide our law enforcement officers without incident. Our student body is without question the best game-day student body in college football and they are the reason that makes Beaver Stadium the best place on earth to play a football game. Please do not get carried away and let things escalate to the point where someone could get injured.
One of our members, Tom Bradley, has been named interim head coach of Penn State. The Club fully supports Tom and we have the utmost confidence in his abilities to lead the program. Tom has been instrumental in having top ranked defenses year after year and there is no question that he will flourish in his role as head coach. Tom has the pulse of the team and he will get the best out of each and every one of the players. Moreover, the coaching staff is seasoned and knows the work that has yet to be done and they have our full support as well.
One group that has been overlooked this week are the members of the Penn State Football Team and their successful season as they prepare for the most challenging part of their schedule. As previously mentioned, the Football Letterman's Club was permitted to directly address the team in this afternoon's squad meeting where we offered encouragement to a group of young men who are facing countless distractions and negativity. In fact, some of the players feel as though they are being blamed for something they had nothing to do with. They were assured that we, as Lettermen, stand with them through this and we are anxious to support them Saturday as we expect an overwhelming response from former players attending the game. We can only ask that all of our fans offer support to these players especially the seniors who have devoted the past four or five years of their lives to Penn State Football.
Lastly, Joe has mentioned to every team that he has coached that no one person is bigger than the program. This comment remains true today without Joe. But make no mistake, there has been no bigger person in the history of the Penn State Football program than Joe Paterno. Penn State Football has a rock-solid foundation. Thank you for your time.