While the scandal at Penn State involves allegations that assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing children, the situation also reflects the homophobia that exited under PSU women's basketball coach Rene Portland's 27-year tenure, says a documentary filmmaker.
Fawn Yacker, who directed Training Rules, a 2007 documentary about Portland's homophobic policies for her players, wrote in Outsports Friday that Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno also had a hand in covering up Portland's abuse of team members. Portland openly endorsed rules against having out players until Penn State University passed an antidiscrimination policy in 1992. She continued to enforce the antigay rule, but her actions went underground until a complaint from a former player went public.
"Portland was able to wreak havoc on the lives of so many of her players while Paterno and the university did absolutely nothing to stop her," she wrote. Yacker added that Paterno hired her during his time as PSU's athletic director and supported Portland's rules against teammates engaging in relationships with each other and being out lesbians. He also backed Portland after student protests in 1986 and 1991 in reaction to homophobic remarks she made in the press.
In the wake of the Penn State scandal, the school's board of trustees has created a committee to investigate Sandusky's alleged history of abuse as well as the cover-up that occurred to hide it.
"We are committed to restoring public trust in this university," said board chairman Steve Garban, according to CNN.