Since "it" broke I have been a defender of our school, our culture, our team, and our coach (JVP). Like many on this site, I've been called names, argued until I grew hoarse, and actually lost friends in the process of sticking up for what I thought was right. The news over the weekend (and I'll admit, things are nothing more than selective leaks) rocked me as much, if not more, than Joe's death.
There's a growing part of me that is beginning to see what happended, unfortunately, much as the national media's first reporting did- cover up, reputation protection, money, football. I think we all have to be prepared that this unfolding situation might end much worse than we could have imagined. There might be more evidence than one email that Joe knew a whole lot more than he let on. He might have done the unforgivable and lied to us even as he was given the opportunity to unburden himself. The three men at the center of Penn State's part of the scandal- Curley, Schultz, and Spanier- might give eyewitness accounts of how they decided to do nothing, rather than risk Joe's program and what it brought to the school.
The perpetrator of the abuse will rot in jail and there are legal questions that will be answered for Curley, Schultz, and Spanier. But we all know what happened also happened because of decisions made on behalf of, and for, the institution (Penn State). How does the institution make things right? How do we, as part of the institution, offer some measure of justice? I have my opinion, and its probably the least popular one there is (a voluntary one year break from football), but I think we need to start thinking about what can be done- from Penn State's perspective- to meet society's expectations of how top universities and people in power are supposed to behave.
What I fear is something imposed on us, something that will be needlessly harsh, and irreperably hurt the University. As fans, students, and alumni we have to stop with the hero worship, realize that football is great entertainment but not much else, and really come to grips with how Penn State failed.