College Football: Penn State child abuse scandal leaves a dirty legacy

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

The number of victims continues to climb in the Penn State child abuse case. I’m not necessarily referring to the actual young boys who suffered the horrendous acts at the sick hand of the perpetrator (name purposely excluded). I’m referring to the collateral damage this scandal continues to cause on a daily basis.

The families of all those involved are now victims as well. Any innocent student athlete, staff or faculty member, alumni, supporter, or casual fan of the program is, to some degree, a victim. From Joe Paterno’s legacy all the way to the guy sitting in the top row of the stands — anyone remotely associated with the university is affected by the criminal actions of those who were more directly involved.

A program that was at one time revered for its squeaky clean image is now tarnished forever. This scandal not only impacts those in the present, but its influence will be felt for generations to come. It has also managed to overshadow, if not completely erase, all of the good that came before it.

When something of this magnitude casts its dark shadow over such a broad spectrum, the results are immeasurable. This combination of one man’s sick desires and the ignorance of the few others more directly involved form the definition of the word tragedy.

I’m not intelligent enough to know of any way this wrong could ever be made right. It will have to be left up to the ultimate judge. I think I am smart enough to know that those who are guilty of these despicable crimes will be paying the penalty for a very long, long time — eternity!

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the July 18-24, 2012, issue

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