The conversation that serves to best commemorate the horrible turn of events at Penn State should be, "How are the alleged victims of Sandusky and the Penn State football culture handling this?"
Amid the outpouring of emotion that's followed has been this message that Paterno was not a god and just a human being who made some mistakes. The tributes have largely focused on the good that Paterno did in his life.
There is a greater lesson to be learned by this man's life and from any hero who falls. The lesson is this: You cannot delegate influence. You cannot defer your story to another. It is yours and yours alone.
Since my days in Happy Valley, I have been among the fortunate to get an up close and personal look into the life of Joe Paterno.
It has now been two months since scandal rolled into the Happy Valley. Much is still uncertain and yet the university, the surrounding community, and the nation as a whole remains fixated on the question of responsibility.
Some blunders are unavoidable; often they are self-inflicted. One thing's for certain: 2011 provided some stunning examples of public relations disasters.
Each one of these men has suffered severe damage to their lives and reputations without ever having been found guilty of anything. Shouldn't the punishment follow a finding of guilt -- rather than precede it?
James Ammons, FAMU president, surprised by a CNN reporter, responding to questions about the 'alleged hazing death' of FAMU student Robert Champion pretty much 'failed the test' of leadership when interviewed.
It's not just colleges, or sports, or the Catholic Church. To make sure that parents and children are not afraid, we need to reconsider and reconfigure the norms in every institution that they participate in.
There is a tremendous opportunity to learn from the horrific allegations coming from the Penn State incident to better protect our children from pedophiles who use their reputation and professional standing to sexually abuse children.
I am concerned that the emphasis on collegiate sports that pervades our national culture has its inevitable "dumbing down" effect on students and the institutions themselves.
While the rest of the world speeds ahead of us academically on the secondary level and countries like China concentrate on creating their own MITs and Stanfords, our best state universities have created a fratty, patriarchal sports culture that is often antithetical to good citizenship.
If they earn the right to go to the Rose Bowl, they should be allowed to go. Do not compound the actions of a misguided, morally bankrupt few by denying these young men the opportunity to finish what they started.
The moment I realized that the Penn State scandal was breaking, and breaking big, I knew that the universe had taken over. My prayers had been answer...
Joe Paterno's legacy should be that of a giant, who may have made one serious mistake of judgment, which seems clearer in retrospect than it probably was at the time it was made. There are no perfect heroes in real life.
At least one positive development has emerged from the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.