Andrew Mollenbeck, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – When Shakespeare wrote the words “What’s in a name,” he couldn’t have envisioned the plight of Gerry Sandusky.
The radio voice of the Baltimore Ravens and sports director at WBAL-TV has to start each introduction with a clarification.
Last week the former Penn State coach – Jerry Sandusky – was convicted of sex abuse with young boys.
“My name’s Gerry Sandusky,” the broadcaster starts off when traveling outside Baltimore. “That’s Gerry with a ‘G,’ no relation to the former Penn State coach.”
While some are afraid to ask whether he has any connection to the former coach, others indulge their curiosities.
“Suddenly my name opens the door to all kinds of negative comments, negative connotations and terrible associations with a heinous crime, and I had nothing to do with any of it,” he says.
By now, Sandusky is accustomed to the queries, and he has responses at the ready.
“I never have to be introduced twice at a cocktail party now,” he shrugs.
But the name has been much more than a memorable ice breaker.
Sandusky said the name connection has also been hard on his wife and kids.
His son, who will be a high school senior in the fall, is working at a baseball camp for the summer.
“Yesterday all the campers found out his last name, and so immediately all these kids were appalled and were asking him questions,” Sandusky says.
Strangely, Penn State actually sent the rising senior a standard recruitment letter.
“Does Penn State really think a kid with a last name Sandusky is going to enroll there?” he asks with incredulity.
Sandusky addressed the name connection on air last November. He says most viewers and listeners in Baltimore now understand there is no relation to the former Penn State coach.
But every time he’s on the road, the questions start all over.
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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)