I don't have a whole lot new to add but I have consumed a lot of media around this Penn State thing and I will point you to some of that now.
Many of you have already read this but if you haven't, Spencer Hall's article here is a good place to start: Joe Paterno: Bury A Man, Keep The Statue
I remember watching Penn State lose to Florida in the Citrus Bowl, sabotaged by Curtis Enis accepting a gift and voiding his eligibility, and facing a Florida team smarting from an entire season of regression to the mean. After the final whistle, Steve Spurrier and Paterno went to midfield, shook hands, and then fulfilled a pregame bet. Paterno smiled, pulled on Spurrier's trademark visor, and happily posed for pictures. The loss was no tragedy, and Paterno was probably already on to thinking about an Orlando steakhouse, and dinner, and all the other things I still can't even consider after a loss by my team.
Linked inside that article is this Dan Jenkins piece (The Idea Is To Have Some Fun-and Who Needs To Be No. 1) from November 11, 1968.
"We're trying to win football games, don't misunderstand that," said Paterno last week. "But I don't want it to ruin our lives if we lose. I don't want us ever to become the kind of place where an 8-2 season is a tragedy. Look at that day outside. It's clear, it's beautiful, the leaves are turning, the land is pretty and it's quiet. If losing a game made me miserable, I couldn't enjoy such a day.
Mack Brown had some thoughts on his passing, their relationship through the years and his place in history.
Prior to this whole thing unraveling, I'd actually gotten to know some of the guys at the SB Nation Penn State blog, Black Shoe Diaries. They have produced some really great work under very difficult circumstances, from Ben Jones' in situ Twitter newsman stardom, to their on-going coverage and ultimately a final good bye podcast, they've done themselves proud.
Distilling my feelings, Joe did a lot of good for a lot of people but what he didn't do is what I'll always remember. It's a shame but these are big, big stakes.
As Spencer says...
Paterno failed here, and failed badly. I don't believe in an ultimate judgment for the kind of pain Paterno allowed to happen. That too, seems like a fictional comfort drawn over the deep discomfort of reality. You could kill Jerry Sandusky a thousand times and it undoes nothing. That's why they call it evil, not "correctable injustice." It is why the word exists. That Paterno had some small part in fostering it, and allowing one of society's basic taboos against inhumanity to flourish under his nose, is undoable and unforgivable. Death does not redeem it, and time does not correct it.
Photo credit: Mark Matson/2008 AMERICAN-STATESMAN