The media has camped outside of Paterno's house, reporting -- essentially -- nothing before, during and after today's game against Nebraska. We did, however, see a United States Postal Worker walk up to Joe's house, deposit some mail in the box, and then walk off camera.
Joe's got mail.
I think one of the things that people who aren't from Pennsylvania or who weren't on that campus don't understand is this: Joe Paterno was a God in that town. And he was a God that got mail. He was an absolutely accessible God to anyone in State College/University Park.
10,000 students could show up on his doorstep after a successful game and he'd come outside, thank them for their support, tell them he needed some rest and ask them to go back to their homes. And they would.
He stood behind a friend of mine at The Creamery once and bitched at my friend's indecisiveness at the counter:
Joe: C'mon, kid. Make a decision already.
Friend (later that day, and happily): Paterno yelled at me at The Creamery!!!
To the masses that showed up on his doorstep the night he got fired he said, "Get some sleep. Study. We still have things to do...Pray for those victims."
Joe Paterno gets mail and made some dumb decisions. Or, Joe Paterno gets mail and started making some right decisions, but not enough of them. You pick.
I won't condone the campus riot: that was a fucking mess. But I will suggest that perhaps, when you live across the street from an accessible God, an accessible God that tells you to study, and get rest and pick a fucking ice cream flavor, already, your emotions might run high when you hear he's been fired by phone.
I can probably count on one hand how many PSU football games I've watched on TV since I graduated from college. But I watched today and cried like a baby during the moment of silence, during the massive on-field prayer (that included the Nebraska team/staff as well) and when I saw the tears streaming down a baton twirler's face during the playing of our alma mater. I clearly couldn't hold it together when Paterno's son burst into tears during the post-game interview.
I haven't made any dumb decisions yet today: it's only 3:30 though, so there is still time. But I do need to go downstairs and grab the mail.