Gerry Sandusky had a decades-long career as a sports broadcaster before former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing children. But once the Jerry Sandusky case became a national scandal, Gerry Sandusky faced unrelenting abuse from people who didn’t grasp the fact that they’re two different people, with differently spelled names, and are not related.
Although Gerry Sandusky has received death threats because people think he’s Jerry Sandusky, Gerry Sandusky says he will never change his name. In a new book, Forgotten Sundays: A Son’s Story of Love, Loss and Life from the Sidelines of the NFL, Gerry Sandusky explained that he remains proud of his name, given to him by his father John Sandusky, a former NFL player and coach.
“About two and a half years ago when the Jerry Sandusky — no relation — Penn State story broke, so many people asked me, ‘Why don’t you change your name?’ And the book is largely an answer to that. Over the last couple years I’ve learned through the journey, it’s not my name to change. Gerry Sandusky is the name I have in stewardship that my parents left me — my father and my mother left me a great name, and I intend to do the same thing for my kids,” Sandusky said on NFL Network.
Still, it hasn’t been easy. Thanks largely to Twitter, which makes it simple for any idiot to send someone a hateful message, Sandusky said that when the Jerry Sandusky scandal was a major national news story, he was receiving abusive messages “hundreds of times a day because of my name.” Although the Twitter abuse has died down, it hasn’t disappeared completely. Even today, when NFL Network tweeted that Gerry Sandusky would be a guest, there were replies to that tweet with comments like, “sickening” and “what about the victims?”
Gerry Sandusky may never stop being confused for Jerry Sandusky, but Gerry Sandusky will continue to take pride in who he is.
Photo via Baltimore Ravens.