Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary has been in the news this week after an ESPN the Magazine profile revealed that he told Nittany Lions players he could relate to a Jerry Sandusky abuse victim because he was sexually abused as a child. Hidden beneath that powerful narrative was a discussion of McQueary’s alleged gambling problem.
ESPN the Magazine’s Don Van Natta Jr. spoke to several of McQueary’s former classmates and teammates who claimed he lost thousands of dollars gambling on poker and sporting events during his playing days at Penn State. Several of his former teammates say he also bet on Nittany Lions football games while he was a member of the team.
A college friend said he remembers urging McQueary to slow down when his gambling got “pretty bad” and began snowballing. One Penn State alum who attended the school during McQueary’s playing days told BettingTalk.com that he remembered hearing rumors about McQueary’s alleged gambling problem after a controversial ending against Rutgers in 1995.
McQueary, a backup quarterback at the time, entered a game against the Scarlet Knights with his team leading 52-34. He was presumably supposed to hand the ball off and burn the clock, but he instead threw a touchdown pass to put Penn State up 59-34 with roughly a minute remaining. The Nittany Lions were a 20-point favorite in the game.
As Deadspin noted, Joe Paterno defended McQueary after the game and said he was supposed to hit his tight end for a first down but could not resist throwing to a wide open receiver downfield. However, the video above shows Paterno shaking his head and looking disappointed after the touchdown pass. He later got into it with Rutgers coach Doug Graber over the play.
Does this mean anything now? Not really, but if you like stories about players potentially gambling on their own team you should at least find this interesting. It sure seems fishy to me.