Penn State Of Mind

Life in State College, Pa., where Joe Paterno reigned, takes place in a bubble. It's a football-first culture that can warp reality — and morality

Peter van Agtmael / Magnum for TIME

Accused child molester Jerry Sandusky's image was removed, far left, from a mural of Penn State greats. The blue ribbon is a symbol of support for victims of child abuse.

Clarification Appended: Dec. 22, 2011

In the days following the revelations of the sex scandal at Penn State, the horrific details of a football coach's alleged rape of young boys were difficult to believe. The community's response bordered on incomprehensible: students rioting in defense of Joe Paterno, the revered football giant who lost his job as head coach for failing to do more to stop the abuse; alums at a tailgate party, arguing that Paterno's indifference was no big deal and chanting, "You gotta fight/ For your right/ For JoePa!" to the tune of the Beastie Boys classic; the funeral-home...

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