The huge response to my last post on my personal association with the Jerry Sandusky trial was unexpected and amazing. I am thankful that my expression of my feelings sparked this reaction. I hope it has been as therapeutic for you as it was for me, and I’m glad that most of you were able to use my thoughts as a way to talk about responsibility, guilt and what we can do better next time.
There have been countless messages on the Washington Post site, in phone calls and on my social networks. They have made this difficult situation into one that allowed you to vent your frustrations and concerns over the Sandusky trial.
This morning I saw a message on my Facebook page and by the end I had to sit in a quiet place until I finished shedding tears.
One of my closest friends and teammates shared his thoughts on the situation, and because he and I were so close in school, I guess the way he expressed it brought out emotions that I did not even know were there.
His name is John Gilmore. We came to Penn State the same year--he as a tight end, me as a linebacker. Despite playing on opposite sides of the ball, we were super tight. We lived together off campus and were one another’s support system.
Once again he has served as a trusted friend and I thought it would be nice to share his letter to me this morning:
“So I go onto Yahoo to see what’s happening in the “real world”, and I see that my brother LaVar Arrington is one of the top searched stories. Holding my breath as I clicked on the link, I find that Lavar is physically o.k, but mentally struggling with some past events.
“ I’ve thought about LaVar a lot during this Sandusky scandal. I’m sure most Penn State football players are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this trial, but with LaVar this case hits a little closer to home. We all felt deceived. I’m sure at some point in time we all asked ourselves, ‘Was there something I could have done’?
LaVar’s situation was a little different, because LaVar was Sandusky’s ‘guy.’ Sandusky knew that LaVar would do anything that was asked of him, because LaVar is that type of guy.
What happen[ed] to all of these kids is an absolute travesty, and to be a pawn in this whole scandal has to be a tough thing to deal with.
All the players that came through the program during that time know exactly who Victim #4 is. He was always around the facility, and at various functions. LaVar knows this young man by name. Jerry had no shame asking a favor of LaVar. I was Lavar’s celly, and I remember LaVar going out of his way to go with Jerry to meet some kids, or sign some autographs. Nobody ever questioned a thing, because Jerry was ‘the man.’
LaVar I’m sorry you feel the need to apologize on behalf of another man. I believe in divine providence. Everything happens for a reason. There’s no silver lining in this story. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be used that way, but I have to believe that it was YOU for a reason.
If it were only for an hour, or a day, I’m sure the time you spent with those kids was exactly what they needed at the time.”
This has been such a difficult time for everyone involved, from the victims to all of the people associated with Penn State University and beyond. But in the midst of such a horrible time to see the amount of compassion and support for all the people affected has been phenomenal.
It doesn’t matter where people attended school or where they are from, all kinds of people responded to my entry with the hope that everything works out and that justice will be served.
These young men who are testifying still have so much life to live. This trial will end, and life still will have to continue for them and everyone else, to know that there has been so much positive reinforcement is very touching. In my own selfish way I’m glad I received some as well.
I know John--“JG” as I call him--works tirelessly to improve playground conditions for kids in Reading, PA. We share a common bond associated with working to impact young people’s lives, and as a mentor it’s not easy, but it’s more than worth it.
To know that people are encouraged to push through this together and care for one another will serve a very big purpose. What it may be I don’t know, but I believe it will be great.