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Missing the extra points

I refer to the Nov. 10 column, "Beware the Paterno witch-hunt," in which Fritz Metzinger says he is not defending Joe Paterno, but rather questioning the ferocity of public judgment. Yet such a statement is rather puzzling when the author barely analyzes the public judgment. Instead, Metzinger points out the virtues of Paterno's character, which delight no one but his fellow sports fans, while completely ignoring the facts of the case, which are of interest to the common citizen and hard to dispute.

Metzinger's uses of the Duke lacrosse case and the Kobe Bryant case are non-sequiturs. The accusations in those cases were backed by witnesses with clear motives to make false accusations. In this case, we have charges of a much different nature. Does Metzinger dispute the charges laid against Sandusky? Does Metzinger somehow think that the graduate assistant fabricated his calls to Paterno, just to get some profit or lay some dirt on him? If not, why does Metzinger compare this case to the Bryant and Duke cases? Does he think that the nature of evidence for Paterno's knowledge of Sandusky's abuse is on a he-said/she-said basis? If not, why make the irrelevant comparisons, and why attempt to distract the public with Paterno's feel-good sports accomplishments?

In fact, I find that there is no "witch hunt" against Paterno. Metzinger supposes that the public is eager to "condemn first, confirm later" - but, in fact, Penn State fans are far more eager to rush to Paterno's defense solely because of his illustrious but irrelevant sports reputation.

John Soong\nCLAS IV