Victims are priority for Cowboys' ex-Penn State star

07/24/2012 11:41 PM

06/08/2013 11:53 PM

DALLAS -- Sean Lee didn't care whether the Joe Paterno statue stayed up or came down.

He cared whether it helped the victims of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

"It's a statue. It doesn't matter to me if they keep it up or take it down," he said Tuesday at a promotional appearance at Dick's Sporting Goods at the Shops at Park Lane. "That's not what I feel the issue is. What I feel the issue is, is making sure the healing process for these victims is taken care of. If taking the statue down helps with the healing process, then so be it. If the sanctions are going to help with the healing process, then that needs to be done."

The school removed the statue of the late Penn State coach this week, saying it had become too divisive of a symbol of the Sandusky affair, in which the former assistant coach was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of children, including on campus. Paterno and other school officials were criticized in a report for doing more to protect the reputation of the school than trying to help the victims.

Lee said the Freeh report was right in blaming the school for its inaction, but that many people at the school -- where Lee played linebacker from 2005 to '09 -- are trying to fix that, and that it remains a campus full of caring people.

"Supporting Penn State going forward does not mean you support the actions of the administration and what happened in the past," Lee said. "I think there's a lot of good people up there right now who are saddened, sickened by what happened, who can't believe what happened and are trying to improve and never allow what happened to happen again."

Lee said the report commissioned by the school and conducted by former FBI chief Louis Freeh did Penn State a service by pointing out flaws in its system.

"The facts show that they didn't report Sandusky and what happened, and because of that, more kids got hurt," Lee said. "That's what the facts show. Obviously, it should have been reported right away. There should have been procedures in place -- this is what we do, investigate, and go from there, and more kids wouldn't have been hurt.

"Actually, I think the Freeh report was a good thing because it showed where Penn State can go, how it can improve, so something so horrible will never happen again."

The school accepted sanctions from the NCAA in response to the scandal. It included a $60 million fine, scholarship reductions for four years, a postseason ban for four years, probation for five years, and the vacating of every win since 1998, when school officials blamed in the report learned of the first allegation against Sandusky.

"There's really no right way to look at this situation because it so tough and so horrible what happened," Lee said. "For me, like I said, the best thing we can do is do what's right from this point forward, make sure there are procedures in place so this doesn't happen again, support the people who are trying to do right, who have always been trying to do right."

The sanctions stripped Lee of his 11-2 season with the Nittany Lions in 2009. He was a captain on that team, his last at Penn State.

"There's obviously the memories that you have," he said. "As a teammate and a former player, you realize what you did as a team, what you accomplished, and the memories will always be there. So that's not what bothers me."

Tickets go on sale

The Cowboys will put all remaining single-game tickets on sale to the general public beginning Friday at 10 a.m.

Due to the large number of season tickets sold, there are a very limited number of seats available for each of the Cowboys' home games this year.

Club seat holders and reserved seat holders will have the opportunity to buy single-game tickets today in an Internet-only presale event, prior to tickets being available to the general public. Ticket prices will range from $99 to $239 per seat.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or through or by calling toll-free, 800-745-3000.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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