Cubs

Sandusky's son talks about dad's sex abuse

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Sandusky's son talks about dad's sex abuse

From Comcast SportsNet
Nearly two decades before Matt Sandusky's blockbuster allegation that he was sexually abused by his adoptive father, his biological mother raised questions about their relationship. Debra Long fought the court system over her son's placement in the home of the famed Penn State assistant football coach, who was convicted Friday of sexually abusing 10 boys. Her objections, which she discussed in a December interview with The Associated Press, add a new dimension to the grim trial testimony that illustrated how Sandusky wooed the victims he culled from his charity for at-risk youth. Prosecutors said Sandusky used gifts, trips and access to Penn State's vaunted football program to attract and abuse vulnerable boys he met through the charity, The Second Mile. "If they'd have listened, these boys didn't have to be abused," Long said. "They would have found the problem back then, and a whole lot of kids wouldn't be victims now." Instead, she said, "we couldn't get anything done. It was Jerry Sandusky. He started The Second Mile home. He could've done nothing wrong." Matt Sandusky said that Jerry Sandusky, once Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno's heir apparent, began sexually abusing him in the late 1980s, when he was 8 years old, and continued until he was 15, according to a police interview recording that NBC aired Tuesday. He was placed in foster care with the Sandusky family in January 1995, about a month after he set fire to a barn and several months after Long tried to cut him off from Sandusky and The Second Mile. Matt Sandusky, who was adopted after he turned 18, described for investigators showering with the ex-coach and trying to avoid being groped in bed, according to the police recording. He said he was undergoing therapy, that his memories of abuse were only now surfacing and that he was coming forward so his family would know what happened. His attorneys confirmed the recording's authenticity to the AP, but declined to comment beyond a statement. "Although the tape was released without Matt's knowledge or permission, it illustrates that he made the difficult decision to come forward and tell the painful truth to investigators despite extraordinary pressure to support his father," the lawyers, Justine Andronici and Andrew Shubin, wrote in the statement. Jerry Sandusky hasn't been charged with abusing his son. Unless Matt Sandusky alleges rape, which he didn't do in the police recording, the ex-coach cannot be charged criminally based on his son's accusations, because of the statute of limitations. In the December interview with the AP, Long said that Sandusky was pushy, was controlling and estranged Matt from his birth family -- but that Centre County's court system ignored her concerns because of Sandusky's stature. Long did not return several messages left for her on Monday and Tuesday. Records provided to AP by Long in December show that after Matt Sandusky attempted suicide in 1996, his probation officer wrote, "The probation department has some serious concerns about the juvenile's safety and his current progress in placement with the Sandusky family." Despite those concerns, probation and child welfare officials recommended continued placement with the Sandusky family, and the judge overseeing his case agreed. Centre County President Judge Thomas Kistler, who joined the bench in 1997 and was not involved in Matt Sandusky's juvenile case, said he saw "legitimate questions" about the decision to keep Long's son in the Sandusky home, but "I can't shed any light on them." Speaking generally, he said nearly every birth parent objects when the state decides to remove a child from the home. "These kinds of decisions made by judges and social workers are very emotionally charged. I don't think the parents have ever agreed with me on any of the cases where I've taken the kids," he said. In the early years of his relationship with Jerry Sandusky, Matt would hide behind a bedroom door and beg his mother to tell the coach he wasn't home when he spotted Sandusky pulling in the driveway, Long said. Her son never said why. "Nobody could ever get that out of him. But then again, Matt was afraid of Jerry," she said. Long said Matt was a good kid but began acting out after Sandusky entered the picture, and his behavior got progressively worse. She became alarmed by Sandusky's controlling behavior and tried to stop visitation in the fall of 1994. But Sandusky continued taking Matt out of school, without her knowledge or consent, she said. "I didn't like his treatment of Matt," she said. "I thought he was a little too possessive, and it was my son, not his son." In early December 1994, Matt set fire to a barn. He spent his 16th birthday, on Dec. 26, in juvenile detention. On Jan. 6, 1995, records show, he was placed in foster care -- with the Sandusky family. Long said she knew Matt would be placed in a Second Mile foster home but didn't think it would be with the Sandusky family. Of all the foster families in Centre County, "he had to end up with that one," she said. It struck her as odd. "Jerry told Matt that he had a judge ready to sign the order and nobody could stop it," she said. "He told Matt before we ever went to court that I wouldn't win against him. Matt came right to me and told me, he said, Mom, Jerry said you wouldn't win against him.'" Long was initially limited to a half-day a month with her son. Her lawyer repeatedly petitioned the judge for greater access. Matt attempted suicide in March 1996, swallowing 80 to 100 pills, according to the probation department report. He referred to it in the recent police interview. "I know that I really wanted to die at that point in time," he said. But he nevertheless indicated he wanted to remain in the Sandusky home. "I would like to be placed back with the Sandusky's, I feel that they have supported me even when I have messed up," Matt Sandusky wrote shortly after the suicide attempt. "They are a loving caring group of people." Long said she once called the Sandusky house when Matt's biological brother, Ronald, was in an accident. She said Sandusky's wife, Dottie, answered the phone and said, "What are you calling him for? It's no longer his brother." "I said, I'm sorry, but the same blood courses through his veins (that) courses through his brother's veins. They're not separated by a name change,'" Long recalled. "She was downright rude." The AP was unable to contact Dottie Sandusky. Jerry and Dottie Sandusky couldn't conceive children, according to his autobiography, and adopted six children. None of the other five has commented on their father's legal case or Matt Sandusky's allegations. Messages left for them were not returned. Matt Sandusky said, according to the NBC recording, that he decided to come forward after publicly standing by his dad, for his family, "so that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is. And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying."

Glanville: Fall to Spring - A player’s offseason changes meaning with each changing season

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USA TODAY

Glanville: Fall to Spring - A player’s offseason changes meaning with each changing season

A few weeks after the we (the Cubs) were eliminated from the 2003 playoffs, I got a phone call from my college professor. Since it was officially the off-season, I was in the early stages of a break from following a pocket schedule to tell me where to be every day for nearly eight months.

But this was a man I could not refuse. I chose my college major to go into his field of transportation engineering and he was calling because he needed a teaching assistant to accompany him on his trip to South Africa.

One minute I could barely move off of my couch in my Chicago apartment after losing Game 7 against the Marlins. The next minute, I would be standing within miles of the Southern most point in Africa at the Cape of Good Hope. Why not? I needed the distraction so I agreed to go.

The offseason is its own transition. Leaving the regimen of routine, of batting practice and bus times, to an open ended world that you have to re-learn again. When I finished my first full major league season in 1997, I lived in Streeterville at the Navy Pier Apartments.

That offseason, I decided to stay an extra month in Chicago only to wake up panicked for the first two weeks because I thought I was missing stretch time for a home day game. A major league schedule becomes etched in your DNA after a while.

It is also a time that you get to reflect. The regular season does not give you a moment to really get perspective on what was just accomplished, what it all means, what you would change. I always joked about the T-shirt I wanted to a sell that listed all of the things a major league player figures out during the off-season. From the perfect swing to the ex-girlfriend you need to un-break-up with next week.

It all becomes so clear when a 96 MPH fastball isn’t coming at you.

For years, I would arrange a training program to follow, but I quickly learned that I had to mix it up. There was only so much repetition I could stand in the off-season. So some years, I moved to the site of spring training and worked out early with the staff, other years I found a spot at home where I grew up or wherever I played during the season, to train.

I was single when I played, but now with a family, I have a better understanding of the challenges my teammates would express as they were re-engaging as a daily father again after this long absentee existence.

To keep it fresh and spicy, when I got older in the game, I enrolled in a dance studio and took a winter of dance lessons. Salsa, Foxtrot, Rumba, you name it. On Thursdays we had to dance for an hour straight, changing partners in the room every song change. Dancing with the Stars had nothing on me.

Of course, not every offseason is fun and games. There were years when I wasn’t sure I would have a job the next year, or I was in the throes of a trade rumor. In 1997, I was traded from the Cubs to the Phillies two days before Christmas. In 2002, my father passed away on the last game of the season, leading the offseason to be a time of mourning.

By my final season in 2005, I thought I was officially on my couch forever. I was going to fade away into oblivion like many players do. No fanfare, the phone just would stop ringing and I would just let the silence wash over me. The Yankees had called earlier in that off-season, acting like they were doing me a favor which I turned down, then they called back later with a more open tone, seeing me as a potential key piece in their outfield with Bernie Williams slowing down quite a bit at that point.

I did get off that couch for that call, only to get released the last week of camp, so I was back on the couch, with a fiancé and some extra salt in the wounds after that final meeting with Brian Cashman and Joe Torre, who boxed me into the coaches office to tell me I was released. Released? Come on. Never had that happen before.

The Cubs players will go through all of this if they have the good fortune of playing a long time. The wave of uncertainty, the meaning of age in this game spares no one. Each offseason is a time to reset, a period where you get away, seemingly adrift from the game, then as spring gets closer, the shoreline comes up in the horizon once again, magnetically drawing you to its shores for another season.

Amazingly, you don’t always know your age and what it has done to your body. 34 can’t be that old, right? I can still run, or throw 95. Then those 23-year-olds in camp are the wake up call, or maybe you are that 23-year-old and can’t believe your locker is next to Ryne Sandberg’s.

Then you blink, and you are advising Jimmy Rollins about etiquette and realize you have become that guy, the seasoned vet, preaching about locker room respect.

For the 2018 Cubs, they fell short of their goal to repeat their 2016 magic. Failed to meet their singular destination that meant success over all else. Yet, those who come back for 2019, will not be the same player, the same person, that left the locker room at the close this season. They will have grown, changed, aged, wizened up, rehabbed, hardened. All of which means that new perspective is the inevitable part of this time off, whether you like it or not.

Baseball is a game that has this unique dynamic. The highest intensity rhythm of any sport. Every day you are tested. You are pushed to the brink by sheer attrition. According to my teammate Ed Smith, who was playing third base at the time when Michael Jordan reached third, Jordan, after playing well over 100 games in a row, said to him “Man, I have never been this tired in my entire life.”

The grind.

Then it stops on a dime. Season over. Only on baseball’s terms.

But you may be granted another spring. Another crack at it. Until one day, the baseball winter never ends and its time for you to plant your own spring.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.