A group of about 30 Penn State players showed up Wednesday at the practice fields outside the Lasch Football Building to show unity and support for the football program, wracked by NCAA sanctions in connection with the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal.
A pair of seniors, fullback Michael Zordich and linebacker Michael Mauti, both sons of former Penn State players, delivered a statement on behalf of the players.
The statement reads:
“This team is sticking together. We aren’t going anywhere. And we could nto be more proud to be Penn Staters now. We look at this as a great opportunity to have the ability to bring back not only a team but an entire university.
“This team has taken on more adversity than any team has faced in history, which is a testament to our commitment to our team’s character, our fans and our university.
“One man didn’t build this program and one man sure as hell cannot tear it down. This program was built on the backs of the thousands of great men who put on the Penn State uniform. Today it is no different.
“No sanction or politician can tear this team apart. Noe one can take away what this university means to us. We will stick together and create our own legacy. Our loyalty lies only with our teammates, coaches, fans and families, no one else.
“It’s not going to be easy but we know that we have acquired the strength that we have overcome and we will embrace our anger and burn it as fuel this season.
“We can’t wait for Sept. 1 and to be back in Beaver Stadium and playing for Penn State in front of the best fans in the nation. We ask everyone to come out, show the support, wear your colors proudly and show that adversity makes the Penn state nation tougher and stronger.”
Other than scattered comments on Twitter, this was the first public statement by Penn State football players since Monday’s announcement of the NCAA sanctions, which includes a four-year bowl ban, removal of scholarships and vacating victories by the Nittany Lions from 1998 through 2011.
Players appearing with Zordich and Mauti included defensive end Pete Massaro (Marple Newtown High), quarterback Matt McGloin, center Matt Stankiewicz, offensive tackles Adam Gress and Donovan Smith, guard John Urschel, cornerback Adrian Amos and linebacker Mike Hull.
In other news Wednesday, the football program said three players who were scheduled to appear Friday at Big Ten football media days – tailback Silas Redd, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and guard John Urschel – would not be making the trip to Chicago. No reason was given for the change.