Matt Sandusky is known for two things. First and foremost, he is the son of Jerry Sandusky -- more specifically, he is the adopted son of Jerry Sandusky and one of the former football coach's dozens of sexual abuse victims.

Matt is also an enduring reminder of the scandal that rocked Happy Valley, Pennsylvania. His voice has been prominent in the public as well, which was eager to pass its own judgments on Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, and the university as an institution.

For that, Matt Sandusky has suffered. As he explains to Jeff Pearlman in a feature published by Bleacher Report, Matt Sandusky changed his last name several years ago -- and not just to disassociate himself with Jerry Sandusky, whom he now refers to only as "my perpetrator." Matt explains that his kids were being ridiculed by classmates over their connection to the scandal.

"The bullying was very bad," Matt's wife, Kim, tells Pearlman. "So as a family we decided to start new and let the kids avoid being stigmatized."

The fallout is still fresh for Matt after years of keeping his abuse quiet. He first met Jerry Sandusky as a troubled young boy through The Second Mile Foundation, the nonprofit through which Sandusky met -- and violated -- many other victims.

Matt continued to get into trouble with the police. One day, he faced an ultimatum: Either he'd be stuck in the system, or he would have to go live with his perpetrator, who had offered to take him under his wing.

He chose the latter option, and became a part of the family, even though the abuse continued. His loyalty was strong through thick and thin, even when the accusations against Sandusky started to crop up.

"They were my family," Matt says now. "I understand how that looks to people, but this stuff isn't simple."

Initially, Matt was receptive to the coaching from Sandusky's legal team in preparation to be used as a character witness. During that process, he broke down. He told Jerry Sandusky that he remembered being abused. Then he told his wife, who had already suspected that her father-in-law was guilty of abusing the other victims who had come forward.

Matt ultimately went and spoke to police, giving his account of his abuse, and released a statement during the trial coming out to the public and explaining his actions.

According to Bleacher Report, detectives asked Matt why he chose that particular moment.

"I mean, for my family, so that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is," he said. "And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying."

Not everyone believes him, though. Within the Penn State community, there are outspoken critics of Matt who refuse to believe his account of abuse. They suspect alterior motives -- he was one of the victims to receive a payout settlement from Penn State -- and believe he contributed to a media frenzy that perpetuated false narratives about certain aspects of the case, particularly as they related to Joe Paterno.

Even Matt's adopted mother and his adopted brother -- who continues to be supportive and loving toward his Matt -- have discredited him in television interviews.

Matt admits to some frustration and anger with those who don't believe him, but he also operates with the understanding that those attitudes are out of his control. He continues to focus on things he has power over, which include his non-profit work.

When he's at his non-profit, by the way, he goes by Matt Sandusky. He may have changed his name, but that identity has stuck with him. Fortunately, he's found a way to use it for good.

"Like it or not, people identify the name with everything that happened," he says. "And that's important to the cause."

Read the full story at Bleacher Report.

After beating Duke on the road to finish the regular season, North Carolina's football team got a little carried away with the celebration. The players took cans of spray paint -- Tar Heel blue, if you were wondering -- and defaced the visitor's locker room, the practice field turf and the Victory Bell on the Duke campus.

Shortly thereafter, Duke submitted a bill to UNC, and the price was steep: $27,170.44 for repairs.

And not a penny less.

According to The News-Observer, which broke the story, most of the costs -- slightly over $22,000 -- went to re-carpeting the visitor's locker room. Duke cited 60 carpet tiles that were so damaged by spray paint that they couldn't be cleaned.

In other parts of the stadium, "UNC" was spray-painted onto several walls, which required cleaning, and the practice field was defaced with a 20-yard-long line of paint.

According to emails between the administration at both schools, North Carolina's coach called Duke coach David Cutliffe six days after the game to apologize for his team's behavior. Cutliffe apparently never returned the call, which irked North Carolina.

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham also expressed that he didn't understand how the costs for cleaning and repair could be so high, but rather than dispute them expressly, he only apologized on behalf of his school. UNC players had their per diem meal funds for their next football game taken away as punishment for the actions, and both Cunningham and UNC coach Larry Fedora split the cost of Duke's bill, writing personal checks.

So it's mostly a problem that's in the rear-view mirror for both programs. But when some Duke fans defaced property on UNC's campus after a basketball game earlier this year, North Carolina could have sent a corresponding bill to its rival school. Instead, it ate the cost.

The message? Don't be so petty, Blue Devils.

Richie Incognito's return to the NFL has touched nerves all across the country. But in Buffalo, which the lineman now calls home, his presence has set off both outrage and discomfort about the message it sends to the surrounding community.

Incognito is so polarizing in Buffalo because the community was recently in the national spotlight for a teen suicide driven by years of homophobic bullying and abuse from his peers. Jamey Rodemeyer hanged himself in September 2011, and his story became the driving force behind anti-bullying PSAs across the United States.

More than three years later, the community has not fully recovered. Bullying remains a sensitive subject. And Incognito is bullying's poster-boy in sports after former teammate Jonathan Martin outed him to the country for the abuse he was dishing out.

As that story developed, Jamey's father, Tim Rodemeyer was watching. As The Buffalo News recently explained, Tim watched with the painful realization that bullying is not isolated to teenagers -- anyone can do it.

Tim is a Buffalo Bills fan. As one might expect, Incognito's signing brings a mix of emotions. New coach Rex Ryan has pledged to "build a bully" in Buffalo, but that's not the type of mindset Tim would like the team to see.

As he explained to the News, he understands the rationale behind bringing Incognito onto the team. He just hopes things are different now.

“I just hope he’s turned over a new leaf,” Tim told the News. “You have to be concerned with his pattern of behavior, but it’s a team trying to win. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

“But if something else happens, they better get rid of him. I would not be happy if they kept him.”

Tim's hope is that the Bills will use Incognito's presence as an opportunity. Opening a dialogue and using Incognito to drive anti-bullying PSAs could be a step in that direction.

But if Incognito is the same old bully, he might find himself at odds with the city of Buffalo.

Older fans of the Washington Redskins remember the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s, which featured perennial winning and plenty of franchise pride.

Then after a Super Bowl championship season in 1991, and the winning run ground to a halt. And in 1999, the franchise was sold to current owner Dan Snyder. For some, that transaction has become a waking nightmare for the Washington team.

Not only has the team failed to return to its winning ways, but its owner has turned the franchise into a league laughingstock. Most notably there has been his refusal to consider an alternative mascot to the offensive 'Redskins' while using his position of power and wealth to wage personal vendettas and bully those who cross his path.

At least, that's the premise to be explored in a proposed documentary, "Under Our Skins." The project, which is currently fundraising through IndieGoGo, tells the story of Snyder's tenure as owner through his lengthy legal battle with local sportswriter Dave McKenna.

McKenna, a former writer for the Washington City Paper and a long-time chronicler of Snyder -- he's written more than 500 articles on the owner over the years. He was named by Snyder in a lawsuit after the City Paper ran a scathing piece using Snyder as an example of how to poorly run a professional sports franchise.

The two creators behind the documentary, Mark Farkas and Judy Plavnick, first got the idea during the legal battle in 2011. Farkas and Plavnick aren't just interested citizens, either: Farkas is a Peabody Award-winning producer at C-SPAN, while Plavnick has won five Emmys for her work with PBS, ESPN, NFL Films and other outlets.

Here's a preview clip:

"I just thought it was a very good story to tell," Plavnick tells The Washington Post. "And as a producer, you want to tell good stories. Dan Snyder and the Skins: it’s a good story, and I think it’s one worth telling, and one I hope people would find worth watching."

The duo is seeking up to $99,000 in funding for the project, with hopes of finishing the documentary before the 2015 season. The pair also plans to approach the project objectively, and they are hopeful Snyder himself will want to go on record and defend himself.

Soccer observers hoping for change among FIFA's governing body should brace themselves for disappointment: So far, there are no confirmed opponents to incumbent president Sepp Blatter.

Five different opponents have inserted themselves as potential opponents, but none have met the criteria required to be eligible in the election. According to The Wall Street Journal, only one of the candidates has a decent shot of gaining eligibility before next week's deadline.

Candidates must be nominated by five separate heads of FIFA member associations. While the nomination process is blind currently, those involved in the nomination process are made public later down the line.

That is seen as the leading cause for reluctance among current member heads. Those leaders are reluctant to express public opposition to Blatter, for fear of public criticism or even retribution.

Meanwhile, many members that would like to see some change feel that Blatter's victory is inevitable, and they don't want to get stuck on the losing side of things.

"The feeling exists that the final result of the election is set and that it would be risky to sign them," wrote one of the aspiring challengers. "There is also the fear of being singled out or punished."

That's not the only barrier to reform in FIFA -- there's plenty to suggest that, despite numerous calls for change and a spate of scandals within the organization, member associations don't actually want to press for reform.

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl recently wrote that with $2 billion in World Cup 2014 profits, along with another $1.5 billion in reserves, organizations are happy to get fat on the revenues trickling down instead of upholding the integrity of the organization.

Only demands or ultimatums issued by major sponsors, such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola, could prompt meaningful changes -- and those would only be in the interest of preserving profits.

So if you're hoping greener grass, prep yourself for more of the same.

Jack Johnson is in the middle of a seven-year contract worth $30.5 million. And yet, the defensemen for the Columbus Blue Jackets has had to file for bankruptcy, in which he reported his total worth was just $50,000.

Meanwhile, he owes an astonishing $10 million in debt. But don't blame Johnson. Blame his parents.

The Columbus Dispatch broke the story in November of how Johnson's parents were responsible for creating this disaster. Now a report from Deadspin provides some more details of how the 28-year-old NHL player has been the victim of parents who used his high income to fund their extravagant lifestyles.

Johnson's parents had grown accustomed to such lavish spending that his high salary wasn't enough: They were forced to sign up for predatory loans that carried crushing interest rates and fees.

Johnson's big mistake was trusting his parents with his finances and management in the first place. His agent, Alan Miller, once expressed to Johnson that he was very concerned with the level of his parents' involvement in his finances. Instead of heeding that caution, Miller was fired the next day -- by Johnson's parents, no less. From Deadspin:

According to the person close to Johnson, Jack was oblivious all along to his disappearing money and mortgaged contract. His parents told him all their big purchases were bought with an inheritance from a recently deceased relative, and Johnson, the source says, had no reason to disbelieve them.

"There were a few people trying to track him down, he would confront his parents, and they would tell him to focus on hockey," the person said. "Typically, they dismissed the people as con artists who were just trying to shake him down. Some of those interactions were happening as long as a year ago. But he had no idea it was a real problem until the spring [of 2014]."

Johnson continued to let his parents meddle in his finances even after existing debts had resulted in 25 percent of his hockey paychecks being garnished. Not until his engagement to Kelly Quinn -- the sister of NFL quarterback Brady Quinn -- did Johnson start to figure out just how badly his parents had destroyed his finances. Even as his suspicions grew, his parents discouraged the marriage, likely because it was closing off their access to his finances.

Last May, Johnson confronted his parents, after which he hired new attorneys and advisers and began cleaning up his finances in month. He hasn't spoken to his parents since at least October, when he filed bankruptcy. Hard to blame him.

FIFA has once again rejected calls to switch the playing fields at the Women's World Cup to natural grass, insisting that matches will be played on artificial turf -- even though the organization will consider replacing some of the turf fields for better artificial options.

FIFA women's competitions head Tatjana Haenni said that artificial turfs at soccer stadiums in Vancouver, and elsewhere through Canada, will be tested to make sure they meet certain quality standards, and fields that fail to meet those standards will be replaced. But grass, she made clear, would not be installed.

The statements come despite loud calls for FIFA to give the Women's World Cup the same quality playing surfaces as men receive in their own World Cup. Prominent critics have included current U.S. star Abby Wambach, former U.S. soccer star Mia Hamm, and the NBA's Kobe Bryant, who have criticized FIFA for discriminating against women and not giving them the same playing conditions as men.

Several elite female soccer players have filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal in Ontario, Canada, over the matter. The tribunal has not yet made a statement on the issue.

But FIFA made it clear that the issue should be dead by now. Teams should focus on the tournament instead.

"I think some players said it as well, at one point there’s a time where you need to focus on football and on the event," Haenni said. "All those teams and players and coaches want to win that Women’s World Cup ... There's a certain time where you need to focus and you need to accept certain environmental or infrastructural conditions, whatever it is."

The Women's World Cup will take place in Canada this June and July.

A high school girls basketball coach in California has been suspended for a rare reason: Winning by too large a margin. Arroyo Valley's Michael Anderson kept his foot on the gas pedal even as his team went up by 60 early in the game against a winless opponent.

The end result was brutal: A 161-2 beatdown.

Decisive as it might be, it was far from impressive. The coach was called by the school's athletic director and later told The Riverside Press-Enterprise that he had been suspended two games for what had happened.

The coach also expressed regret for his actions while suggesting that he didn't expect the game to get so far out of hand -- when he put in his bench players in the second half, he was surprised by their output.

Arroyo Valley applied a high-pressure full-court trap throughout the first half, ostensibly under the pretense of tuning up for tougher competition down the road. By halftime, the score was 104-1.

Nevertheless, the opposing team's coach was not happy with the result, and he made sure his opinions were known. He called the ethics of Anderson into question.

"People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team," opposing coach Dale Chung of Bloomington High told The Sporting News. "They should feel sorry for his (Anderson’s) team, which isn’t learning the game the right way."

The Press-Enterprise reported that Arroyo Valley won its first game without Anderson. It was also a blowout -- 80-19 over San Bernardino Indian Springs -- but not the extent of the one against Bloomington that triggered the uproar.

FIFA has announced that it will release its internal ethics report in full, although it will redact certain parts to protect individuals from public scrutiny. The decision reverses its earlier stance to keep the report within the organization.

FIFA had come under fire for commissioning the report from former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, then the chief investigator for the organization's ethics committee.

Upon reading the 430-page report, though, FIFA decided to release the report as a summarized version written by a different member of the ethics committee.

That decision prompted Garcia to resign his position only 24 hours later, accusing FIFA of releasing a summary that misrepresented the report's findings. The summary suggested that the only ethics violations identified were minor; Garcia says his report does not agree.

Meanwhile, FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed that the organization would not re-open voting on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, set to be hosted by Russia and Qatar.

At a press conference, Blatter changed his tune after previously opposing the ethics report's release: "We have always been determined that the truth should be known."

It remains to be seen, however, just how much of the report is redacted. FIFA claims it is committed to transparency, but its actions have suggested the opposite.

Blatter did say that the report inspired significant changes within the organization, but he declined to elaborate on those changes or why they were necessary. Perhaps the full report will shed some light on the matter.

What's happening in Qatar is sickening: Some of the most beautiful soccer stadiums the world has ever seen are being built by migrant workers who have come to Qatar seeking work.

What they find, instead, is a form of slavery. Those workers often have to pay outrageous recruitment fees to find work in the first place. When they are hired, their employers often take their passports.

In fact, employers assume a sort of pseudo-ownership over migrant workers in which their legal residence is their employer's location. Although laws are in place to regulate timely wage payments, health insurance, annual leave and safety regulations, they are frequently ignored.

"Adding to their vulnerability, they must obtain an exit visa from their sponsor in order to leave Qatar," reports Human Rights Watch. "Migrant workers are prohibited from unionizing or engaging in strikes, although they make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce."

In Qatar, thousands of migrant workers die every year from being overworked: Suffering heart attacks, dying from exhaustion and other work-related afflictions. The stadiums that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup are not exempt from this mass murder.

Hundreds have already died, according to human rights activists. In fact, by the time the stadiums are fully constructed, an estimated 4,000 migrant workers will be killed by these work sites. That's an average of about one death per day.

When they aren't risking their lives building stadiums for the country's ultra-wealthy, migrant workers in Qatar have the privilege of serving as fake sports fans for one dollar per hour. As reported by the Associated Press, Qatar's ruling emir is obsessed with attracting major sporting events, but filling the stadium with excited fans -- the organic kind -- is quite a challenge. So migrant workers get to file into the stands they built and pretend that they're having fun, so long as they didn't die during the long workday beforehand.

What's happening in Qatar is so grossly inhumane that a Paris architecture firm has released designs for a memorial to the killed migrant workers. The Jenga-like tower would feature one horizontal column for each worker killed during the soccer stadium construction process. The brilliant and practical feature is that the tower could be built infinitely to accommodate as many dead as Qatar can produce.

The injustices faced by migrant workers are a national problem in Qatar outside of the World Cup. But FIFA's decision to award Qatar the 2022 tournament implicitly endorses the labor that would be used to construct those stadiums. It sends a message to Qatar that it can ascend to the globe's most visible platforms by climbing up the backs of people owned by their employers like property.

And it's only the most inhumane example of FIFA's blatant dismissal of ethics or morals as it boldly goes on doing whatever it damn well pleases. At this point, it's clear FIFA won't reform itself unless serious action is taken by its member organizations.

What's unclear is what it will take for those countries and associations to take a stand.

***

Every week, it seems, there's a new storyline concerning scandal within FIFA. Throughout the fall and into winter, though, those stories have concerned an increasingly daring and combative FIFA.

In some ways, that corruption is a part of FIFA's DNA, going back decades to the early years of organizing soccer into an international sport. The more pertinent issues concerning it today stem from a 430-page report ordered by FIFA to investigate accusations of bribery and other corruption regarding the World Cup bidding processes that placed the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the hands of Russia and Qatar, respectively.

FIFA assigned the report's creation to Michael J. Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney and a member of the FIFA ethics committee. Eighteen months later, Garcia produces a 430-page report that offered as in-depth of a conclusion as he could offer, given that Russia refused to cooperate with the investigation while inquiries regarding Qatar simply weren't able to be answered in full.

It was expected that the report would be made available to the public. But after FIFA's executive committee read through it, they shut the door on its full publication. Instead, a 42-page summary of that report was drafted by Hans-Joachim Eckert, another member of the ethics committee, and only the summary was released.

Garcia appealed, contending that the summary did not accurately represent the findings detailed in the report. Of course, FIFA rejected that appeal.

Left with no other option, Garcia resigned from the FIFA ethics committee Wednesday.

"(My) report identified serious and wide-ranging issues with the bidding and (World Cup host) selection process," Garcia said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Garcia also said that Eckert's decision to publish an inaccurate summary "made me lose confidence in the independence of the Adjudicatory Chamber, (but) it is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude that my role in this process is at an end."

Garcia also challenged FIFA and its ability to correct itself internally after years of rampant corruption.

"No independent governance committee, investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization," Garcia said.

FIFA's president made only a limited acknowledgement of Garcia's resignation.

"I'm just surprised," Blatter said. "It's all what I can say. Just that."

There are parties within soccer's organized hierarchy that see Garcia's resignation for what it is: Another black eye on FIFA's integrity. FIFA vice president Michel Platini was disappointed to see Garcia go, and he's been an outspoken critic of FIFA under Blatter's leadership. Platini, who is also the UEFA president, has refused to support Blatter as president of FIFA. But Platini has also declined to put himself up for election to FIFA's top position.

He called Garcia's resignation "a new failure for FIFA."

"FIFA's ethics committee was created to increase transparency at the organization, that's what we wanted, but in the end it has just caused more confusion," Platini said.

Platini may not want to pursue the presidential seat within FIFA, but his voice will be an important one in righting a ship that has sailed so far in the wrong direction. The circumstances surrounding Garcia's report, and the way his findings were obscured in the infamous "Eckert Decision," snuff out what was more or less the only realistic hope FIFA had of driving reform from within.

By refusing to hold itself accountable, FIFA has demonstrated that only force will prompt it into action. Platini himself may not be entirely clear of corruption -- he was reportedly offered a Picasso painting as a kickback from Russian president Vladimir Putin -- but as a legendary soccer player for France and an executive in both FIFA and UEFA, Platini has the power to incite more palpable demands for change.

Rhetoric alone won't do it, though. To inspire any progress, FIFA needs to face imminent financial threats. Europe's football association is the organization best-positioned to force such an ultimatum. By coming together and taking a stance -- a protest involving even a handful of countries -- major soccer nations like England and Germany could threaten to boycott the upcoming World Cups unless serious reforms are made by FIFA.

Financial consequences are the only thing FIFA is sure to respond to, which means a revolution has to come from major soccer powers.

A boycott of the World Cup sounds extreme, but there were already rumblings last month that UEFA members would discuss the possibility of a boycott. FIFA's decision to withhold its own ethics report will surely stoke that fire.

The risks those countries face are not small: Millions of dollars lost, an absence from soccer's most celebrated stage, and all without the assurances that FIFA will enact any credible change.

The alternatives, though, are even worse: FIFA continuing to operate unchecked, dismissing ethical charges and continuing to taint international soccer by allowing bribes and corruption to dictate the organization's actions.

Meanwhile, FIFA is content to incentivize the systemic human rights violations ongoing in Qatar at this very minute, and for years ahead.

Time is running short to pull the plug on Qatar's World Cup bid. It may come to pass that in the year 2022, the world's most popular sport will be played on a cutting-edge stage built by slave labor.

There's no place for that kind of dichotomy in an event designed to celebrate humanity and cultural diversity through soccer. But then, that narrative only matters to fans and the participants. And FIFA must be grateful for the distraction.

Syndicate content