Under the tearful gaze of his fans, the affectionate embrace of the mournful hearts of thousands of Penn State students and friends, a man was laid to rest - in peace. It was Joe Paterno, the idol of the Nittany Lions football team for decades, leading Penn State through the highs and lows of sportsmanship and skill in college football. Yes, Joe Paterno. The hero, the man who could do no wrong. The man who epitomized all that was to be respected in a head coach. The man who stood by his team and his university. But did not stand by the victims of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. The victims who lived without a voice until they were grown men. Did they live in peace? While the numerous victims who suffered horrendous abuse over fifteen years lived in silence for years, Joe Paterno was laid to rest in peace. Among his last words were the words, "It is not a football scandal", referring to the events following the discovery of Sandusky's dark world. Paterno knew about this dark world for more than a decade. He remained silent. He set his own standards on disciplinary action. His own Code of Conduct. Obviously, he did not consider the violation and abuse of young children by Sandusky "serious" enough to warrant the involvement of law enforcement authorities. He thought he could handle it himself. He chose not to act as Sandusky continued to feed his insatiable appetite on his prey - young boys who had reached out to "The Second Mile".
For one moment, let us force ourselves to see the picture, the whole grim picture. The glory of sports, the cavernous and evil mind of a sick man, the reputation of a very large university. What was Joe Paterno thinking? What really were his thoughts as he walked the last mile of his life? Maybe, just maybe, he found it hard to live with himself. Or maybe, he had closed his eyes long before he was laid to rest for the last time. Sandusky is the criminal who tried to get away and Joe Paterno is the man who looked the other way.