The horrifying scandal emerging from Pennsylvania State University is first and foremost about the repeated sexual abuse of boys by a man. What makes it worse is that the man used his prominence as a coach to run a charity for boys, who he then took advantage of. And that scandal, horrible as it already was, was made worse by two of his bosses lying and covering up for the coach, which let him keep abusing more boys for more years.
The best element of the story thus far is that the criminal is in jail and the liars have been fired.
A relatively minor element of the story is that two of the criminal's bosses, though they did further the investigation of the crimes, did not do so with enough diligence. As a result, Penn State also fired these other two bosses. It matters a bit that the university trustees were willing to fire the university president because he was not zealous enough in prosecuting sexual abuse of children by a university employee. This is to the university's credit.
The least important part of this story is that the head football coach was also fired for not being zealous enough in furthering the prosecution of sexual abuse of children by one of his staff members.
So why was the lead element of the news story in many venues - including those that don't care about sports - that head coach football coach Joe Paterno was fired? Why did Penn State students riot in the street about the firing of the head football coach - and not about the sexual abuse by the assistant football coach?
Because big-time sports are the religions of the masses.