I have addressed the abuse allegations specifically in the other thread (Paterno passed).
But, it is clear that many people here really don't know what he truly represented, why he is so revered in this area. I myself did not know all of it.
I want to share some of that here, because Paterno is a man who's like we won't see again soon.
Many of you are likely aware that he held not just a high athletic standard, but a very high academic standard as well. It was the "bold experiment".
To begin, how many of you are aware that he was in the fore of treating all people well? He began at Penn state when race issues were boiling all over the south still. He was not a marcher, a protester. He simply did what was right. He did this in many ,many ways. He picked talent and treated them as just that.. talent. YET, he never let the athletes become stars. Penn state jerseys do not, have never (under Paterno, at least), had names of players. They are all part of the team. They all work together, are celebrated as a team or they come down as a team.
When his players got into trouble, he would be the very first to hold them to task. BUT.. it was often in private ways not seen by the public. That was his way.
He was "old school", with a very Italien bent. When he came to recruit players, he went directly to ... the players moms. Player after player talks about how they came home to find him in the kitchen, being fed and chatting with their parents, but particularly their moms. The promises he made differed from most recruiters. He did not promise fancy gimgaws or gaurantees of specific positions. He promised that the boys would get good educations, FIRST. Second, they would be held responsible. In many cases, he promised the moms that the boy would go to church. He promised the boy a chance to FIGHT for the positions.
And, though the "outside" looks at his 409 wins, the people in State College look to his commitment, a REAL commitment to education and integrity. That is why he is celebrated. That is why Robinson came from the pro bowl to speak. It is why the thousands of tickets were ALL gone in 7 minutes of their offering.
Per the last incident, I think the Chairman of Nike put it well. The Failure was not that Paterno did not report. He reported it to the head of campus police and the head of the university in full. The failure was in those people to investigate. AND.. it was very much those people's job, those people's duty to verify. Paterno's failure was in trusting that the people who were more directly trained in this to investigate it as well as THEY should have. Paterno stuck to what he knew and could do.