And that's exactly what Joe Paterno was: the center of everything in college football. He is the all-time wins leader, having bested the wide-brimmed corruption of Bobby Bowden. He coached for a state in the middle of America, and his very nickname, Joe Pa, places him at the head of everyone's table come Thanksgiving; so to be pointing fingers at him, now, appears to sever the very tired and true aphorism that a father knows best.
I wanted to write something about the speculative revelations of the last few days, but then I read this piece by Michael Weinreb, at Grantland, that tries to answer the question above, and I realized why bother when it's already been done. And while Weinreb moves from shock to callous understanding, from a search for answers that will surely feel like tugging at a scar in a magician's sleeve, that's the next emotion to arise: why bother believing in heroes.
This story is disgustingly sad in so many ways: The crimes here violate much more than the NCAA bylaws that fret over such things as preserving amateur status and the reputations of academic institutions but the very fabric of what makes a person good and decent. Read the Attorney General's report, and, if true, it becomes hard to consider Paterno much of either right now.