For Gerry Sandusky, this was a week just like any other.
It was Nov. 5, 2011, Week 9 of the 2011 NFL season. The Baltimore Ravens were set to play their rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the next night. Sandusky, the Ravens' radio announcer, would have a big game to call.
Soon, though, a harrowing coincidence would change things. As he watched the news that night, he was bombarded with a half-hour of information of another Sandusky.
This one was Jerry Sandusky. This Jerry Sandusky had been arrested in State College on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys he had met through his charity, The Second Mile. This Jerry Sandusky's arrest would be the catalyst to one of the largest scandals college sports had ever seen, a scandal that would envelop the community of Penn State and mar the reputations of many involved with it.
And this Jerry Sandusky had a name that was eerily similar to Gerry Sandusky's.
"I knew right then and there that there was gonna be a really, really interesting time ahead," Gerry said.
What's in a name?
Gerry's wife, Lee Ann, said her husband always had tremendous respect for his late father.
After all, John Sandusky was a National Football League lifer, spending a total of 43 years in the pros as a coach or player, including six as a player with the Cleveland Browns. To add another parallel, Jerry Sandusky's son, also named Jon, is now the Browns' director of player personnel.
"His dad was such a great man, such a revered man, and Gerry had such respect for him," Lee Ann Sandusky said. "He always said, 'My dad left me a great name that I will pass on to my son and my daughter as a great name,' and he always conducted himself in a way that would reflect that."
Now, to many outside of the Sanduskys' small suburban community in Sparks, Md.,that name represents anything but greatness.
Lee Ann, 52, said she met Gerry, 50, in Miami when she was an interior designer and Gerry was a sportscaster. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Lee Ann was familiar with the other Sandusky, who was the mastermind of Penn State's "Linebacker U" defense of the 1980s.
Lee Ann said Gerry was working on a story at the time on the upcoming Penn State-Miami National Championship game, and he ended up including the idiosyncrasy of Jerry Sandusky's similar name in his story.
They now have two children, Katy, 21, and Zack, 17, and have been married for 25 years. Everything about the lives of the Sanduskys is ostensibly normal -- except for, well, their name.
And though the boys abused by Jerry Sandusky have obviously suffered incomparably, it's changed some situations that would otherwise be normal, the Sandusky family said.
Gerry said that during Week 9 in Pittsburgh, he got a chance to meet Dick Ebersol, who was an executive for NBC Sports at the time and a giant of the sports media business.
Gerry said he had been excited to meet Ebersol, a kingpin in his industry. However, upon extending his hand for a shake and saying "I'm Gerry Sandusky," a funny thing happened.
"He physically flinched," Gerry said. "That's when I realized, oh boy, life has changed."
Last weekend, Gerry said the Sandusky clan was out to dinner at the Black Lane Curry House in New York, a restaurant that claims to have "excruciatingly hot" curry. If a customer is able to eat their entire dish of phall curry, they get a free beer and a certificate, according to its website. When Sandusky completed the challenge, he got the certificate with his name on it.
Within five minutes, he said, the restaurant was abuzz with surprise that a man named Gerry Sandusky had been dining with them.
"The people beside us were like, 'Oh my gosh, that's so great! Can I see your certificate?'" Lee Ann Sandusky recalled. "And he handed it to him, and the girl looks at the name, and she looks up at Gerry and said, 'Seriously?' "
It's not just Gerry that's had to deal with some unwarranted attention.
Katy Sandusky took closely after her father, as she attended Towson University like him and now works in the marketing department of the Baltimore Ravens. She had a story, too.
"I got introduced to a vendor, and my boss introduced me as 'Katy Sandusky,' and he kind of gave me a weird look," Katy said. "Then a girl from another seat proceeded to say my dad was Gerry Sandusky. The vendor got a look of visible horror on his face."
Everything would, of course, later be explained. Zach Sandusky, meanwhile, is a senior football player at Hereford High School. He said his name has made his family the brunt of a few distasteful jokes from his classmates.
"It's really just a little inconvenience, people being stupid about a terrible thing," Zach said. " 'Your dad's sick,' joking around with stupid things like that, like, 'How is your dad doing in jail?' Nothing really terrible, just people not thinking."
Still, all the Sanduskys not named Gerry said their patriarch has received the majority of the flak.
"It's been a really rough couple of months," Lee Ann said with an incredulous chuckle. "I'm not gonna lie."
Dealing with the trolls
Gerry Sandusky had established himself as a well-known public figure long before Jerry Sandusky was found guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse.
According to his profile on his own website, Gerry has been a television and radio broadcaster for over two decades and has two Emmy Awards under his belt. He's also the president of his own media company, The Sandusky Group, of which Lee Ann is the client relations director. He's even covered a Super Bowl, an MLB All-Star Game, and interviewed such celebrities as Michael Jordan and former President Ronald Reagan, his website says.
But nowadays, some recognize him for a different reason. He said he's getting used to dealing with the questions.
"If I'm in the Baltimore area, most people are like, 'Aw, I feel bad for you man, hang in there,' " Gerry explained. "If I'm traveling, the response is usually the one-word response with a question mark. It's either 'Really?' or 'Seriously?' or 'Are you kidding me?' -- and it's a really visceral reaction, too."
And now, as a result of his name, Gerry has had some interesting experiences in social media as well.
His Twitter bio should be a repellant of trolls -- or those who deliberately start arguments on the Internet, often for no good reason. It reads, "I am Gerry with a G. Baltimore sportscaster. No relation to the former Penn State coach. Views expressed are my own."
Still, @GerrySandusky -- with 5,726 followers as of press time Thursday -- is receiving a good deal of hate. He said it began in November when the charges against Jerry Sandusky were made public, but it has picked up major steam since he has been found guilty.
Though some Twitter users have tweeted at Gerry in support of his situation, others have tweeted at him and called him a horrible man and a monster. Another tweeter said he was guilty by association. Some of the other tweets are too inappropriate to describe in print.
Others have tweeted at Gerry with confusion as to why he was tweeting from jail. Though Gerry has responded to most of them, his responses have been amicable considering the things being said to him, sometimes almost humorously so.
Gerry explained that he's been able to maintain a cool head in spite of it all, because when it comes to hate, "It's all about the hater, not the person being hated on." Gerry said if people want to misdirect their hate at him instead of the other Jerry Sandusky, it would be a waste of time for him to fight it.
Lee Ann Sandusky said her husband's aplomb in such an unfortunate situation has been very impressive.
"He's always conducted himself in a way that has so much integrity, and people know what a quality human being he is," Lee Ann said.
Gerry said the tweets that he shakes his head at most profusely are the ones that suggest he is tweeting from a jail cell, as the other Sandusky is currently being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility. Still, Gerry said misguided hate doesn't even surprise him anymore; he just anticipates it.
Gerry even has a theory about it.
"I'm way past the point where anything would make me mad," he said. "If anything, it's kind of reconfirmed a theory I've had called 'The Third Grade Theory.' If you remember your third grade class, there's always those kids who are really, really smart and they got everything right way before everyone else. Then there was the percentage of the kids who were really, really dumb and they couldn't get anything. Then there's the rest of us who are somewhere in the middle. But you know what? Most of life is a lot like that third grade class."
As it happens, Gerry's profile on his website ends like this: "Married, with two children, Gerry remains mystified why his parents chose to spell his first name with a 'G' and shackled him to a lifetime of misspellings."