It is some time now since Joe Paterno, Joe "Pa" as so many football players knew him, passed away. The man who spent his life as "Pa" left as his legacies a $13.1 million pension for his family and the Jerry Sandusky travesty that continues to mesmerize us every day.
It is hard to go to bed, wake up or have lunch without his buddy Jerry Sandusky greeting us with more of his horrible, tear-invoking, scary history of betrayal for all to see and suffer through.
We must, like the witnesses and jury in Sandusky's trial, try to remain stoic.
Stoic because Joe "Pa," a great guy by all accounts, was a participant in this tragedy and did his part to protect Sandusky.
Stoic because we see evil in the way the Catholic Church sees it. Something to be protected. Support for its predators as they visit horror upon horror on victims of deviant homosexuality.
Stoic because we can see in the way the three judges in Nevada handed the boxing crown to a seemingly undeserving bit player in the larger than life world stage that was and remains Manny Pacquiao's that Sandusky could convince a jury of his innocence.
Stoic because a jury of Sandusky's peers could reach the same decision as in O.J. Simpson's trial. Not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
As horrible as the O.J. Simpson murder trial was, the mother being attacked at night, the children in wretched agony, the running-through-airports man smiling and showing his good side for the cameras, it has no parallel with the Sandusky trial. As bad as murder is, there was only one victim. The victims here are plentiful, from Joe "Pa" to every Penn State football player to everyone everywhere.
Of course, these men could be making it all up against Jerry. They may not be victims but instead horrible people themselves, who still prey on Penn State and Joe "Pa" and Jerry Sandusky.
Perhaps the jury can find some excuse here to ignore the testimony and purify Sandusky and everyone else from any responsibility.
But because we see evil here that most of us barely ever consider or think about, evil of such a huge proportion that it is beyond understanding to most of us, we cannot find this outcome possible. Innocence? Only the boys involved.
How many of our children experience this horror? How many of us come into contact with this form of evil and simply turn the other way?
How many of us treated Joe "Pa" as the victim, someone to be revered because that is the way College Station, Pennsylvania, the United States and the world, indeed heaven itself, treated Jo "Pa?" Not just a victim. The victim.
Someone to be lamented. Someone whose end at the hands of the Big C, lung cancer no less, was something to be pitied despite the evidence of a cover-up and horrors to come.
So that nothing would intrude into this wonderful life of loyalty, courage, success, money, and fame. Certainly nothing like the lives of the many men his faithful assistant helped to shape, turning their every waking moment into something to fear and loathe.
Perhaps you can read or hear about this abuse, see the shaking shoulders, the bent men who shrink in terror, forced to repeat their torture over and over to the public and say to yourself: "They deserved it."
Maybe you say: "This was not the fault of anyone but their parents."
Or perhaps you say that this was after all not everyone's problem, but only those of the boys involved and that horrible man.
If so, then you are simply joining the huge line supporting those who sought to exonerate everyone who stood in the way but who stepped aside and let these acts against young boys stay hidden and continue.
The Pennsylvania authorities. The Penn State administration. The police. The Penn State football staff. And Joe "Pa."
But you know now that they are all to blame. If you can now even say "Pa" and not feel some revulsion, there is no hope for you. You are forever biased.
Joe "Pa" encouraged or at least in no way avoided the moniker "Pa." He was "Pa," as were all on his staff. Fathers to these boys.
Sports are a reflection on life.
We have many coaches every day acting as substitute fathers and mothers as they do their duties, providing counseling and experiences for youth as if they are mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers, on the way to paths in lives that will be filled with the future. Just like the Catholic Fathers.
That responsibility, that aura of fatherhood, was that much stronger where a man was coach for over sixty years, leading his football family onward, holding the revered title "Pa."
We will never know what exactly he knew. But we know he knew something.He was brought this problem by someone very concerned. And he did what so many do. Hid it by kicking it upstairs.
The act of concealment by kicking the problem upstairs was far more damning because of who Sandusky was. Not just some fly-by-night jerk. But an intimate acquaintance and by all accounts close friend of Joe "Pa." Someone who, if he had been tainted by an investigation, could have brought down Joe "Pa" himself. Someone who had the trust of everybody, from his famous charity to the university itself.
Like so many good Catholics, Joe "Pa" took the same route of concealment: "It's not me; do not get me involved; it's someone else's problem." As did so many who focus "on the good" and stay away from the evil.
And tens of thousands showed up, lining a main campus artery for a chance to make the walk, single file, past Paterno's casket, which had an "honor guard" of two Penn State players -- one past and one present. Some mourners stopped for a moment of reflection, or to genuflect in the interfaith hall.
As the testimony unfolds this week, we can see two famous NFL football players Franco Harris and Matt Millen speaking out about the travesty of the actions of the Penn State trustees in firing Joe Pa. And so many other apologists for Joe Pa and his crew of family men at Penn State supporting Joe Pa over and over.
The media do not replay these statements for us. Instead, for those of us who watched them talk about "Pa" as this tragedy first unfolded, their statements of support remain burned forever in our memories.
What do these people think now? It was one thing for the many men who were touched by his positive influence to sanctify and ordain Joe Pa's life by remembering his achievements.
And it is entirely another to listen every day to the torture forced on these boys by Jerry Sandusky, a man coddled, cradled and excused by so many, and realize that he was kept safe by all those involved, including Joe Pa.
The grief of these men who were fondled by their "parent" "Pa" Sandusky at Penn State and think about how their lives have been ruined, and their futures taken from them, is a chamber of horrors.
Is the torture chamber of one boy enough? What about ten? When have we had enough?
By forcing these men into perhaps ever greater torture by requiring them to come forward in public, testify against this man, and relive their tragedies over and over, something unexpected has happened here. Perhaps even a blessing.
For we can now see - - - very publicly out in the open for all to see - - - the torture of homosexual abuse on the faces of those who have experienced it.
We can watch the faces of even the most hardened news reporters finding it almost unbearable to repeat the testimony and provide the necessary factual backdrops of fear, uncontrolled crying and tragedy these young men now face on the stand reliving their horrors.
Perhaps this is the wake-up call to all of us that we have needed so we can understand what happens when men in positions of trust betray our boys with sexual assault and rape. Surely, we can see more clearly the motives and feelings of those who involved in the cover-up and what was covered up.
In the exchange, NBC said, the three weighed whether to tell local authorities what Mr. McQueary had said, though it's still not clear if Mr. Spanier knew the full extent of what the graduate assistant said he witnessed.
And this cover-up is the most horrible fact of all. That being "humane" to Sandusky was foremost in the minds of men whose jobs included as their most important function protecting boys from horror and abuse at the hands of a person so low we never even consider or see them.
We now see before us the embodiment of true evil. True evil smiles before and after the testimony of those he tortured every day before and after trial. True evil is a man whose soul is so corrupt that he cannot take his own trial and the filth of his actions seriously.
After all. In the minds of so many over so many years at Penn State and at his favorite charity, he deserved to be treated "humanely." While his victims deserved nothing at all.
Nothing at all.