Nittany Lines

Former Penn State football star LaVar Arrington defends school, Joe Paterno in passionate letter

Penn State's #11 Lavar Arrington puts pressure on Ohio State quarterback #8 Steve Bellisari during the fourth quarter of the game at Beaver Stadium on October 16,1999.
Penn State's #11 Lavar Arrington puts pressure on Ohio State quarterback #8 Steve Bellisari during the fourth quarter of the game at Beaver Stadium on October 16,1999. Centre Daily Times

Former Penn State standout linebacker LaVar “Leap” Arrington is jumping into headlines once more.

Arrington, who played for the Nittany Lions from 1997-99 and finished his illustrious career as a Heisman contender, Bednarik Award winner and All-American before being selected by the Washington Redskins in the 2000 NFL Draft, has long been vocal about his passion for his school.

The 37-year-old took to Facebook on Monday to express that dedication, as well as to address the oft-discussed and debated subject of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State four years ago.

Arrington stated in a lengthy, strongly worded post that every time someone asks him where he went to school and he tells them, he can already anticipate what the next questions will be.

“We’ve been made fun of, insulted, frowned upon,” he wrote. “I’m sick of it, there’s nothing wrong with the pride and dignity we hold in our hearts for our school. I felt guilty to be proud of who I am and what I represent as a PSU’er. Even in knowing I/we had nothing to do with what happened.”

Arrington said that he’s still trying to “find peace within all of the chaos that one man’s actions led to.”

“We do not and should not have to justify ourselves for an isolated wrong doing within our community,” he wrote.

Arrington continued to discuss Paterno, and how he feels it’s not just the former coach that was persecuted in the wake of the scandal — it was the entire Penn State community.

I don't recall being at Beaver Stadium with 100 thousand plus and us eating hot dogs and popcorn watching these horrible happenings on a Saturday morning or afternoon. So today I'm writing this to (bury) once and for all the feelings I've been wrestling with for many years now. Let's all agree that to some degree justice has been served for the few that were responsible. As for Joe, he was never guilty of anything by the letter of the law PERIOD.

Former Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington

“I don’t recall being at Beaver Stadium with (100,000)-plus and us eating hot dogs and popcorn watching these horrible happenings on a Saturday morning or afternoon. So today I’m writing this to (bury) once and for all the feelings I’ve been wrestling with for many years now. Let’s all agree that to some degree justice has been served for the few that were responsible. As for Joe, he was never guilty of anything by the letter of the law PERIOD.”

Arrington then stated that Penn State is not a “cult football community that blindly defends the school,” and that it falls on current students and alumni alike to re-create the narrative.

“I’m proud to be a Penn Stater ‘dammit’ and I’m proud that You are ... We Are Penn state together! I’m proud every time I see that Nittany Lion logo! I’m proud of every time I hear We Are!! Penn State!! The media or everyday interaction with people will never remove the love I have for my school or my alums. That’s it WE ARE PENN STATE and only those who lived it can understand it and that’s all that matters to me!

“One can only apologize so many times ... The apologies and regrets have been issued in true sincerity, TIME TO MOVE ON!!”

Penn State athletics spokesman Jeff Nelson had no comment on Arrington’s post.

Paterno died in January 2012 after a battle with lung cancer.

Jerry Sandusky enters the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa. for a hearing May 2, 2016. Sandusky has filed a petition under Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act, seeking a new trial.

Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse crimes in June 2012. He remains incarcerated at Greene state prison in Waynesburg, serving a 30 to 60 year sentence. He maintains his innocence and is seeking a new trial.

Sandusky coached at Penn State until his retirement in 1999.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 814-231-4629, @JourdanRodrigue

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