Tim Piazza’s family continued its media tour on the Today Show this morning, revealing the details of the hours after they found out about their son’s injuries at Beta Theta Pi’s bid acceptance night.
Tim’s father Jim Piazza reiterated that this wasn’t just typical “boys being boys” and the alcohol and hazing the night of his son’s injuries were reckless.
“This wasn’t boys being boys Matt — this was men who intended to force feed lethal amounts of alcohol into other young men and what happened throughout the night was just disregard for human life,” he said. “They basically treated our son as roadkill and a rag doll.”
Mr. Piazza also revealed that the family hasn’t seen the video yet, and while he doesn’t necessarily want to, he would sit down and watch it with top Penn State administrators who he believes aren’t doing enough in wake of Timothy’s death.
“We haven’t seen the video yet. I don’t really want to see it, but I will tell you this: If the Board of Trustees and President Barron sit down to watch the video with me, I’ll watch it,” Jim said. “I don’t want to see it as a parent because I feel like it’s going to be incredibly painful and the last memories of my son will be him being abused for 12 hours and dying a slow and painful death.”
Jim Piazza said that nobody from Beta Theta Pi or Penn State came to the wake or the funeral, but when he brought this up with President Barron a few days later in person he received no apology or reason why. The university issued an apology this morning — explaining why no administrator was in attendance — after the Today Show story was broadcast.
Tim’s brother Mike Piazza, who is a rising senior at Penn State, said he found out what happened after calling the hospital when his brother didn’t come home. Mike was also tasked with telling his parents Tim was in the hospital with significant injuries.
“One of his roommates called me to see if I knew where he was because he hadn’t come home, so I called the hospital just to see and the woman on the phone told me he was in the emergency room so I went over there immediately and when I got there I found out pretty quickly how serious it was,” Mike Piazza said on the Today Show. “I had to call my mom to let her know that he was severely injured and that they were gonna fly him to the Hershey Medical Center because it was so severe that they couldn’t treat him there.”
Jim said the doctors sat the family down after Tim was out of surgery at Hershey and told them he had a nonrecoverable brain injury and he wasn’t going to make it.
“We were hoping there was going to be something different in the outcome,” Jim said. He continued that when the family got to see Tim, a “tear came to his eye,” and the doctor said he may be able to hear them. Ultimately, there was nothing the doctors were able to do to save Tim’s life. As his mother Evelyn pointed out, the damage was too severe and the bleeding had gone unattended for too long.
The outcome would have of course been different had Piazza been brought to the hospital earlier. “They killed him” in not calling for help sooner, his father said
In the second aired portion of the interview with the Today Show, the Piazzas discussed the implications of Tim’s death and what that’s worth.
While he will leave it up to the jury to decide how each of the 18 members of Beta who were charged are legally culpable, Jim said he sees each of them equally as “morally culpable,” for what they did to Piazza. While some have voiced concerns that those facing charges may have their lives ruined, the Piazzas think that no punishment is enough to replace the life of their lost son.
“What’s a life worth?” Jim asked. To which his wife and Tim’s mother Evelyn said the former members of the fraternity “threw their lives out,” insisting them serving time for their alleged actions wouldn’t be a waste.
Host Matt Lauer asked the Piazza’s what people — himself included — should tell their kids and what advice they can give as teenagers enter the real world and move to college.
“Do the right thing, understand what happened, and if you are ever in a situation where somebody needs help, help them — it’s a phone call away,” Jim Piazza said. “There’s no reason not to help somebody that’s in need.”