Mike McQueary, the former Penn State quarterback and assistant coach, is the subject of a lengthy profile by Don Van Natta Jr. in the latest ESPN The Magazine. The story gives us two bombshell revelations. McQueary allegedly accrued a large gambling debt while playing at Penn State, and told players that he was abused as a child. From ESPN.com:
According to several of his classmates and teammates, McQueary developed a compulsive gambling habit at Penn State. He bet and lost thousands of dollars on poker and sports wagering, mostly on pro football, though he also bet, several of his former teammates say, on Nittany Lions games. One former teammate specifically recalls that Big Red bet and lost on his own team in a November 1996 game against Michigan State at Beaver Stadium. With McQueary serving as a backup on the sideline, favorite PSU won on a late field goal 32-29 but didn’t cover the eight-point spread.
As his losses mounted, McQueary owed thousands of dollars to a bookie, a debt that was eventually erased by his father, several people say. A college friend recalls urging McQueary to slow down. “It got pretty bad,” the friend says, “and it just kept snowballing and snowballing. He was very impulsive.”
Teammates aren’t sure if Paterno and the coaching staff knew about the gambling.
McQueary confided in his players something he hoped would make them understand how he’d reacted at the time. He told them he could relate to the fear and helplessness felt by the boy in the shower because he too was sexually abused as a boy.
McQueary has filed a $4 million whistleblower lawsuit against Penn State.