Sherman Alexie: WOWWhat a strange and aggrandizing defense of Joe PaternoÂ this is. Michael Novak, while writing this portrait of “the very model of Western humanism,” utterly fails to recognize that it was precisely this beatification of Paterno, Penn St., and college football that enabled the child abuse to continue. The child abuse by Catholic priests went unchallenged for decades because everybody from the Pope down to the ordinary parishioner were incapable of questioning the infallibility of the Church. For many, college football is also infallible. For many, a great football coach is Jesus returned. Somebody might want to update Michael Novak on the concept of false idols.