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.
One of the questions I hear over and over when child sexual abuse comes up is, "Why didn't they tell?" But when I was trying to figure out how to be safe again after my own experience, telling was one of the first options removed from the table. I didn't have anyone to tell.
If we as a society really want to keep things like this from happening again, we should stop horsing around with the fantasy of a society led by a responsible elite while we the people cheer or jeer from the sidelines.
In this type of homophobic environment, where everyone knows policy is one thing and practice is another, perhaps Penn State was paralyzed not only by the alleged rapes, but by the fear of having a gay coach.
It is the systematic idolatry of football at Penn State and beyond that is the true culprit -- not merely Joe Paterno or Jerry Sandusky.
One priest abused 90 of our 243 victims. This priest testified under oath that he told his archbishop of his crimes. The archbishop told him to "go and sin no more." The priest did not follow his archbishop's advice.
Courage was lacking among key figures in positions of power and authority at Penn State and its football program. The 20th-century theologian Paul Tillich comes to mind when I reflect upon this.
Penn State is not only judged in terms of all the things it did wrong in handling its repeated episodes of child abuse, but it is the direct inheritor of everything the Church did wrong.
With Paterno's breach of integrity, yet another myth of great American male leadership has cracked. Another cultural elder was revealed as nothing more than a ruthless businessman seeking to protect his institution at all costs.
There are two main characteristics of the abuser: narcissism and grandiosity. The narcissist cares only for his own needs. And many of these people are like the Pied Piper -- the energetic coach, for example.
Should we really be that surprised that Penn State fans came out to support Paterno? Isn't it a ubiquitous aspect of being a sports fan to cling to your team even when objective indicators suggest otherwise?
The single-minded zeal of a school that's all about football or a church that's all about sin, such extremes create zealots and zealots are not known for strong moral fiber.
I have heard it said that the measure of a civilization is how it treats those who have hurt it, I think a further measure is how it treats those who deeply disappoint it.
I hope this outrage and anguish is a result of society reaching a point in which we expect the same courage of adults to report suspected child abuse, as we expect of victims in coming forward with disclosures.
Most lawyers who have ever had a role in an alleged child abuse case were stunned by the bail set in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation charges.
I am horrified by the reaction Penn State has had to this scandal. The students are more worried that their beloved head coach has been fired than that eight children have been sexually abused.