LaVar Arrington apologizes to Jerry Sandusky alleged victim
Sandusky is the former Penn State assistant football coach who is on trial for allegedly having sexual relationships with ten different young boys, whom he met via the Second Mile program for underprivileged youth in Pennsylvania.
Arrington writes in his piece (edited for length):
It's hard to believe I could feel any worse about the horrific situation at Penn State and the allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. But when the trial opened yesterday, to my dismay, matters became even more personal.
One witness, identified as Victim 4 by the grand jury, mentioned me multiple times. He spoke of wearing my jersey and having his photo taken with me. It again brought to mind his name, which originally had come to me when news of this scandal first broke.
He's 28 now, but I can recall seeing him around all the time when he was a kid, and I built a relationship with him. I always enjoyed interacting with kids. As time went on, I knew he looked up to me and was a big fan, and I made a point of stopping to talk with him. I'd ask him the usual questions: 'How are you?' 'How's school?' He always seemed mad or kind of distant. I remember distinctly asking him: "Why are you always walking around all mad, like a tough guy?"
My preconceived notion was that he was part of Sandusky's Second Mile foundation, so he must live in a troubled home, and I chalked it up to that. I would just tell him to smile every once in a while or laugh, that it would make him feel better. I guess with everything that I had going on, it certainly wasn't a priority for me to try to figure him out. I saw him at the 1999 Alamo Bowl and shared a couple laughs. I left school for the draft and that was that.
So it's mind-blowing to realize that a kid I took an active interest in during my time at school was suffering right in front of me and I had no idea that the pain allegedly came from someone in my own football program.
I hate everything that has happened, and now I must admit I feel even worse, knowing what allegedly was happening so close to me, and that I was unaware.
As a parent, I pray I can come to some peace about this and prepare my family for living in a world like this. I will never just wonder why a child is mad. I will never just assume ever again. I will always ask, and let them know that it's okay to tell the truth about why they are upset.
My anguish and disappointment doesn't compare to that of the victims. All I can do is hope that Victim 4 finds this entry and can see that I'm offering my sincerest apologies. I am so sorry this happened.
A powerful piece.