No one would blame any Penn State players who wanted to bolt from the program after the NCAA gave them a get-out-of-jail-free card.
But a large group of players pledged their loyalty to the Nittany Lions Wednesday in an impressive show of solidarity. More than two dozen players, led by senior running back Michael Zordich and senior linebacker Michael Mauti, gathered to give a statement about their commitment to the team this morning outside the Lasch building.
You can watch the event here.
“This program was not built by one man and this program is sure as hell not going to get torn down by one man,” Mauti said. "... No sanction, no politician can ever take away what we've got here. None of that is ever going to tear us apart. ... This is what Penn State's all about -- fighting though adversity. And we're going to show up every Saturday and we're going to raise hell."
"This is the greatest opportunity a Penn Stater can ever be given," Zordich said. "We have an obligation to Penn State, and we have the ability to fight for not just a team, not just a program, but an entire university."
The players did not take questions after the gathering. They also released the following statement as a group:
"This team is sticking together. We aren't going anywhere. And we could not 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. No 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 September 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."
Some of the other players present, according to reports, included quarterback Matt McGloin, offensive linemen John Urschel and Matt Stankiewitch and defensive backs Adrian Amos and Stephon Morris. Notable in his absence was star running back Silas Redd, who is reportedly being recruited by USC. Redd is still scheduled to appear at Big Ten media days in Chicago on Thursday.
Penn State supporters had to love the loyalty and passion the players showed this morning. The team will need that kind of togetherness to overcome the many obstacles in its way.