The Cult of Joe Paterno

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates asks what is at the heart of student outrage over the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

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Penn State students react to Joe Paterno's firing. (Getty)

In a blog entry at the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates tries to understand student outrage over the firing of Penn State coach Joe Paterno in the wake of sex-abuse allegations against an assistant coach. They have shown an utter lack of compassion for the victims, he says.

... Can anyone here try to get into the student mind that does something like this? I'm talking about Gilpin-Faust-like analysis that explains, without excusing. I think we all can agree that the students in this case were being stupid and short-sighted. Moreover there's an utter lack of compassion here for the victims.

But once we all know what we agree about, questions remain. What is the mentality towards football at a school like Penn State? What did Joe Paterno mean to that school and how does it compare to other schools? Are the kids not fully aware of what happened? Or is it just being young? Is this connected to Taylor Branch's piece from The Atlantic on college sports? Watching the ESPN video, it really looked, to me, like boredom -- like a lot of kids looking to get into the mix.

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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