The Schmooze

Coaches at Penn State Filmed By Documentarian

Dee Mosbacher, a San Francisco psychiatrist and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, has inherited her family’s gift for prescience. Her paternal grandparents, Gertrude (née Schwartz) and Emil Mosbacher, of German Jewish stock, had the foresight to divest their ample stock holdings before the 1929 Wall Street Crash, reaping financial rewards instead from Texas oil investments. This week, headlines about the Penn State University child sex abuse scandal allege that for years, crimes committed on that campus were addressed with a wall of silence instead of being reported to the police. A comparable Penn State athletics department code of silence was depicted in “Training Rules,” a 2009 documentary co-directed by Mosbacher and released on DVD last February from Wolfe Video.

“Training Rules” discussed longstanding homophobic conduct by Rene Portland, a Penn State women’s basketball coach. Portland’s self-declared code of conduct was used as an ironic subtitle for the film: “No Drinking, No Drugs, No Lesbians.” Although the university was aware of Coach Portland’s treatment of gay students, or even those suspected of being gay, nothing was done to ameliorate the situation until decades had passed and lawsuits filed.

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Coaches at Penn State Filmed By Documentarian

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