Justice, in Jerry Sandusky's case, was relatively swift.
A year ago, when legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno led his Nittany Lions onto the field for their season opener, his former assistant was still a free man, not yet charged with the heinous crimes that shocked us all.
As far as most people knew, the opening day game simply marked a new beginning -- a blank slate on which Joe Pa might write another championship before the aging coach inevitably retired, taking his final bow before generations of adoring fans.
Few could have imagined on Sept. 3, 2011, after a 41-7 rout of Indiana State, what was to come in just a few months.
Maybe Sandusky will be allowed to watch this Saturday's season opener against Ohio on a television in a prison common room.
Actually, he should be forced to watch.
Whatever mistakes were made over the years, Sandusky is ultimately responsible for the damage he's done.
He destroyed more than a dozen young lives, also bringing down the storied football program he used to lure his victims.
Paterno is dead, the university president has been fired and two top administrators are awaiting trial on charges related to the case.
The NCAA, in what some see as a completely reactionary move, slapped unprecedented sanctions on Penn State and its football program.
They were necessary, association board members said, to change the athletic-centered culture at the root of the scandal.
Athletics -- football in particular -- are so much a part of Penn State's identity that university leaders turned a blind eye to a child predator in order to protect the program.
Agree or don't -- that was one of the findings of an independent investigation commissioned by the university's board of trustees.
Saturday represents a new beginning for Penn State football.
A new coach. A new administration at the university's helm.
Still, a team of students who were no more than early grade-schoolers when Sandusky was molesting other young boys will be playing under the shadow of Sandusky's crimes.
There won't be a championship at the end of the season, no matter how successful they are.
If there ever was a win-at-all-cost culture at Penn State, it's gone.
These men are just playing a game.
And it's OK to cheer.