The U.S. is the only country that combines amateur athletics with institutions of higher learning. At first, the idea of that didn't seem noteworthy at all, until the case of Penn State made me question the beast that's been created.
How is it that such respected people at Penn State could, in good conscience, look the other way as these kids were being abused? Was this an anomaly?
Anyone who has ever lived in Pennsylvania would need no reminder of the omnipresence of the state's football culture.
We are all the cure to this disturbing epidemic, survivors of sexual abuse and non-survivors alike, and it starts with us, as adults, to force integrity to the surface above all other things -- at the very least for our most important resource -- our children.
To me, had Sandusky been effectively prosecuted in 1998 as he should have been, many young boys would have been saved from Sandusky's horrendous conduct, and Penn State's integrity and reputation would not have been so severely tarnished.
We exalt athletics at the college level for the benefits it provides, there needs to be equal focus on the character lessons it is teaching.
What do we need to know to help break the cycle of shame, secrecy and ignorance that allows sexual abuse to continue?
I feel as if I'm recovering from a hangover. I'm waking up wondering, "What just happened? Is my memory serving me correctly?" I'm a Penn State graduate who, like others in the school's community, is left wondering whether this hell we've experienced is real life.
For me, the burden of being Penn State includes taking responsibility for being part of the myth machine that brought us to where we are today.
The Penn State football team was a secular holy order Paterno was seen as the pope of college football. But it was a facade, and those who knew the story from the inside knew that. The program wasn't clean. Paterno wasn't clean. Penn State wasn't clean.
Penn Staters for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Texans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow will go together where dozens of PACs have gone before. And we're on our way there already, wherever it is.
We cannot undo the harm done but for the sake of those brave enough to come forward, we can move forward as a society. What Sandusky and his enablers did was on them -- how we respond to help victims is on us.
I'm sure nobody was shocked by yesterday's findings. The expression "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up" doesn't apply here. The crime was abhorrent, and the cover-up was just as heinous.
There is a tension in identity between every institution and its community: whether the institution sets itself up as the core of a collective identity, or whether the community shapes the institution's identity as a reflection of its diaspora.
As any Penn State alum will tell you, Joe Pa did enormous good for his school and his community. But as most non-Penn-Staters will tell you, he seemed to put the image of his school above a rigorous commitment to rooting out monsters.