On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people will be streaming into Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley PA. If the split in the crowd between men and women is 50/50 that means that 12,500 women and 8300 men will be former or perhaps current victims of child sexual abuse.
I want you to think about that: 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men.
Today's NCAA sanctions against Penn State are appropriately severe, but I can't help but wonder about the people who will go to those home games. Almost 21000 people attending are most likely the victims of someone very much like Jerry Sandusky.
The crimes that Sandusky was convicted of are some of the most heinous imaginable. I don't have to imagine because it's something me and my colleagues deal with daily. The pain that the victims suffered both physical and emotional is fathomless. The victims and their families will never be completely healed.
Against this backdrop of evil and pain, a number of people were valiant in their efforts in reporting today. Desmond Howard was particularly brilliant on ESPN. He stated "Remember the victims and don't just remember them, think about them every day. They were victims because they had no choice. They had no chance against a burly football coach victimizing them." "These current players aren't victims. They have a choice, they can leave." "Unlike the real victims, they can walk away"
I don't know if the NCAA sanctions will cause a culture change at Penn State or any other college. I do know that 12 men, and probably many more don't care about culture changes, or cover ups. They do care about healing and being as normal as they can be.
This has ALWAYS been about the victims.
On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people as well as the rest of us would do well to remember that.