View Full Version : Football Joe Poz on Joe Pa: Book due out soon

08-20-2012, 11:57 AM
This was in the "Entertainment" Section of the KC Star this AM, not the sports page:

Link: http://tinyurl.com/8vrplyo

Joe Posnanski’s ‘Paterno’ complicates Penn State story
After scandal changed the focus, former Star columnist’s book answers questions, raises more.


Joe Posnanski moved to State College, Pa., to write a much different book.

Posnanski, a former Kansas City Star sports columnist, imagined his biography of Penn State University’s heralded head football coach Joe Paterno would be about the man who, as Posnanski noted in a USA Today column last week, “always said … that winning … wasn’t what mattered. And yet, he won more games than anyone.” The book he was writing was based, after all, on full access to the coach and his records.

And then everything changed. Last November, Jerry Sandusky, who had coached defense alongside Paterno for 30 years, had received a great deal of credit for making Penn State into “Linebacker U” and was at one time considered Paterno’s heir apparent, was indicted by a grand jury on 40-some counts of heinous sexual assault. In short order, Paterno was fired, the school’s president was removed and its students rioted.

And so Posnanski found himself in the midst of a very different book, one that exists in a kind of limbo between his original goal of portraying what made Paterno tick and the natural reporter’s goal of staying abreast of a developing story.

Posnanski has done his best. In that column last week, he wrote that the “book, I believe, lets the reader make up his or her own mind.”

If only the book had let me make up my mind! For this reader, Posnanski’s “Paterno,” which arrives Tuesday, has complicated the issues of the Penn State story, re-enraged me and then left me with at least as many questions as before.

Yes, Posnanski has written a good, if frustrating, book. “Paterno” is structured, exquisitely, as a five-act tragic opera, and not just because Paterno liked opera. Paterno’s story is one of unimaginable success — a football coach who built a university — and an unimaginably precipitous fall — he lost his job, his health and his life in less than three months.

Four of the five “acts” begin with an “aria” of direct speech, taken from Paterno’s recorded or written speeches or reconstructed from his handwritten notes to set the tone for the section.

There are also “intermezzos,” in which Posnanski takes an entertaining bit of Paterno apocrypha, polished smooth after years of circulation on the after-dinner circuit — his four losses to Alabama’s Bear Bryant, for example — and gives us the funny version and also the more pedestrian one.

Throughout, Posnanski avoids the pitfalls of the worst sports biographies: game results. Instead of a forced march through 50 years of football, Posnanski treads lightly, mentioning only pertinent highlights from particularly big games.

Those who followed Posnanski’s work in The Star will find familiar ground here, as his storytelling is as fluid as ever. This is an archive and interview book, but every now and then, his sharp reporter’s eye is on display.

Posnanski describes a scene the night Paterno was fired. Students and others had silently gathered at the Paterno statue, and Posnanski conveys the ultimate sign of 21st-century respect for this quintessentially 20th-century coach with a choice detail: “A girl of twenty or so felt her phone vibrate but did not answer it.”

Among the frustrations, a casual follower of this story might be surprised to learn from Posnanski’s book that Paterno and Sandusky were not friends; not only that, but these two men who’d worked alongside each other for 30 years “despised each other.”

Their relationship seems to have been a symbiosis of barely suppressed enmity. Posnanski mentions what the family calls Paterno’s “Why I Hate Jerry Sandusky” memo — written in 1993 — but does not quote from it. The gist seems to be that Paterno thought Sandusky had lost his fire for coaching.

If that were the case, a reader wants to know, why did Paterno wait another five years to make it clear to Sandusky that he would not be head coach?

According to the independent report headed by former FBI director Louis Freeh, that discussion took place in 1998 just a month or so before the campus police investigated Sandusky for inappropriate behavior with an 11-year-old boy in a locker room shower. This shouldn’t be confused with a similar incident in 2001, which had been reported to Paterno by graduate assistant Mike McQueary. Paterno contended to the Sandusky grand jury that he knew nothing about the 1998 assault.

Except, well, it seems he did. The Freeh Report includes — and Posnanski mentions — a one-line email from May 1998. Athletic director Tim Curley is asking for an update on “Jerry,” because “Coach is anxious to know where this stands.”

Let’s pause here. In Posnanski’s words, Paterno told the grand jury he “had never heard another rumor about Sandusky, but admitted that things could have been said in his presence that he had forgotten.”

Men in their early 80s do forget things. But it strains credulity to believe that Paterno, whose players often praised his remarkable memory for things like the cheesecake their mothers had served him on recruiting visits, forgot allegations of pederasty involving an employee whom he not only hated but who had founded and run a charity for wayward adolescent boys.

This is one of many contradictions that begin to trouble the reader. Up until now, even when Paterno has been a jerk — and his players usually thought he was that — the reader has liked Posnanski’s Paterno, a Brooklyn boy who majored in English at Brown and built a rural school’s football program into a powerhouse.

Posnanski deliberately does not dwell on Sandusky and the scandal, preferring to keep his attention squarely on Paterno.

Two illustrative vignettes bookend Posnanski’s tale. Early on, Posnanski tells the Paterno family’s “shyster” story: At a restaurant many years ago, one of the coach’s children ordered an all-you-can-eat salad. Another daughter, toward the end of the meal, snatched a slice of cucumber off her sister’s plate. The coach accused her of being a shyster, of stealing from the restaurant’s owners — it’s not an “all you and your sister can eat” place — and stormed out.

Everything mattered. That’s the story Posnanski figured he was going to tell about Paterno. “Again and again, over and over,” Posnanski writes, “Paterno told (his team): Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.”

At the end of the book, the other little thing: Last November, Paterno and his crisis team are meeting to discuss the statement they’ll release to the public. Paterno takes issue not with the substance of the statement, but with the phrase that claims he went “to work every day for the last sixty-one years …”

“Well, I didn’t come to work every day,” Paterno says. “I was sick a couple of days … and there were other things … I don’t know if I’d say that’s completely honest.”

It’s a punch line, but it’s a rueful one. By this time, the little things are very much beside the point.

In that recent column, Posnanski wrote, “I believe I have written about his life with as much honesty as I have.”

I believe him, too.

I wish I could say I believe Paterno.


Joe Posnanski will talk about “Paterno” in a one-hour discussion with Vivien Jennings of Rainy Day Books, 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St. The $28 admission includes two tickets and the biography. A book-signing will follow.

Garcia Bronco
08-20-2012, 12:04 PM
The hero doesn't come back in the end.

08-20-2012, 12:11 PM

08-20-2012, 12:20 PM

On Nov. 4, 2011, Joe Paterno was a nominee for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The main library at Penn State was named for him, and a statue of him stood in front of the football stadium. He was admired by American presidents — Republican and Democrat — and beloved by business leaders and clergy, football junkies and academics. There had been countless glowing stories written and told about him. 60 Minutes had done a piece on him so favorable that Paterno himself claimed to be embarrassed by it. Sports Illustrated had named him Sportsman of the Year. The Big Ten Conference named a trophy after him. Paterno had won more games than any big-time football coach ever and was on any short list of the greatest coaches ever. People called him Saint Joe, and only in recent years — as Paterno got older and crankier and less effective — had there even been much sarcasm in the title. That's how it was on Nov. 4.

On Nov. 5, a Pennsylvania grand jury presentment was released that charged Paterno's longtime assistant coach Jerry Sandusky with crimes against children so heinous that it hurt the eyes to even look at the words. The grand jury also charged two Penn State officials with failing to report those crimes and then lying about that failure under oath. We know now what has followed — a Penn State-funded investigation concluded that Paterno played a crucial role in the university's tragic failures, there has been a nationwide effort to scrub Paterno's name from the record — but even in the immediate aftermath, it was clear that Paterno had been told something about Sandusky showering with a young boy and he had not reported it to the police. Anyway, to everyone he was Penn State. And so, on Nov. 5, Joe Paterno became perhaps the most despised man in American sports.

And I was there in the middle of it all.

I had come to State College to write a book about Joe Paterno. It was a project years in the making. There was not just one thing that drew me — there never is just one thing with a project like a book — but if I could point to one thing it might have been one of the themes about sports that fascinate me, something about winning … and what that word really means. Paterno had always said — quite loudly and with perhaps too much righteousness in his voice — that winning football games wasn't what mattered. And yet, he won more games than anyone. He kept coaching into his 80s, long after even his most devoted fans thought proper. That riddle fascinated me. Why? What is this about? What is HE about? When I began the project, people constantly wondered if Paterno was too revered and virtuous to make for an interesting book, and the only question anyone seemed to ask about it was: "What's left to say about Joe Paterno?"

Obviously, nobody asked me that question after Nov. 5.

No, after Nov. 5 I found myself in the middle of something surreal. I was staying in a small apartment in State College, connected to my wife and daughters through the magic of Skype, and it felt like the ground was unstable. Every few minutes, it seemed, there were new details, rumors, accusations, defenses, truths, lies, so many it was hard to see straight. The media surrounded Joe Paterno's home. Facts emerged and retreated. No charge was dismissed; no allegation was too sinister for discussion. I had agreed to speak at a class at Penn State — a class I had spoken at the previous two or three years — and because of timing the class met just hours after Paterno had been fired and many students foolishly rioted in the wake. The discussion grew heated and spirited, and suddenly I found myself being quoted and misquoted in stories and being charged with mindlessly defending Joe Paterno against horrible villainy with which he had not yet been charged. All I had wanted to say was that we needed time to find out what was real and what wasn't.

With that in mind — "Justice," it says in The Ox Bow Incident, "has never been obtained in haste and strong feeling" — I went underground. I have made my living as a daily reporter, but this required something different. I could not allow myself to get caught up in the shifting winds of this story. In the last months of Joe Paterno's life, I met with him on several occasions and talked with him at length when he was perhaps the most sought after interview in America. I was granted access to his personal notes, and there were many. I talked to some of the people closest to him and also some of his harshest critics. I also talked with child sex abuse experts and legal experts to offer background and context. I read anything and everything that might give me some insight into who Joe Paterno really was. I reviewed inner-office e-mails (the same ones used in the Freeh Report), documents and timelines. I searched for what is real.

That was the point. Something real. Joe Paterno, throughout his life, has been infused with superhuman qualities and inhuman qualities. He was called perfect for so many years, and he was called omniscient and all powerful too. He was none of these things, though. The first words of the book came to me all at once:

"This is the story of a man named Joe Paterno, who in his long life was called moral and immoral, decent and scheming, omniscient and a figurehead, hero and fraud, Saint Joe and the devil. A life, of course, cannot be reduced to a single word, but …"

But … what? That was my book. There was the bloated superhero of Nov. 4, the savage villain of Nov. 5 … and I searched for the human being in the middle. I believe most of us live somewhere in the middle.

I suspect I will never have a more difficult task as a writer — I've been told by several authors that no biographer in American history has had a book change so drastically in the course of reporting. I suspect that's not right, but it is right that I was feeling my way through the dark. I was pushed and pulled, accused and derided, and that wasn't much fun. There were hundreds of questions, none of them with easy answers. But I had come to write a true book. That was what mattered. I have done my best to do that.

I think the richest and most significant stories defy easy answers. That's what draws me, both as a writer and as a consumer. The best movies, the best television shows, the best stories, the best novels and the best biographies are, I think, complicated. They stir many emotions, not all of them happy ones, not all of them angry ones. There are many people out there whose lives were enriched, altered and elevated by Joe Paterno. This is simply true. There are also many people out there who were victimized as children by the unspeakable evils of Jerry Sandusky, and no matter where you stand on the news it is at the very least true that Joe Paterno was one of the people who should have done more to stop him.

Nobody would argue — and certainly my book does not argue — that the good Joe Paterno did in his life should shield him from the horrors of his mistakes. Some would argue, especially in the white-hot emotion sparked by the latest revelations, that Paterno's role in the Jerry Sandusky crimes invalidates whatever good he might have done. My book does not argue that either. My book, I believe, lets the reader make up his or her own mind. When people ask me if Penn State was right in tearing down Joe Paterno's statue in light of the Freeh Report's conclusion, I ask a different question: "Should they have built a statue to him in the first place?" When people ask me if the NCAA was right in unleashing draconian penalties against Penn State, I ask a different question: "Should they have held up Joe Paterno as a paragon of purity and virtue for more than four decades?"

I realize some people have opinions about me and the book even before it comes out. This is one of the most emotional stories in memory. Children were damaged by a devious predator in a quiet little place that calls itself Happy Valley, and it is all but impossible to think of anything worse. Sandusky was not stopped — not by the police, not by child services, not by other authorities and child abuse professionals, not by the charity where he worked, not by the school where he had coached and, perhaps most striking to the rest of us, not by the football coach who had once been his boss, the head football coach who had professed all his life to stand for right. Emotions are raw. And how could they be anything else?

As a writer, I tried to take the measure of the man who was that head football coach. I believe I have written about his life with as much honesty as I have. I have reported as many of the facts of the Sandusky case as I could uncover (including some new ones). But I also objectively wrote about why so many people admired and idolized Joe Paterno in the first place. I wrote at length about his youthful idealism. I wrote at length about his unprecedented success as a coach. I wrote at length about the last 15 years of his life when he would not quit. I wrote at length about the end.

No, I don't feel about Joe Paterno the same way I did when I started writing the book. But I don't feel about him the way his most blistering critics feel. He was a human being, filled with ideals and flaws, honesty and hypocrisy, charity and selfishness, modesty and the refusal to abdicate his throne. There was little simple about him. I chased the complicated story of a man and his long life. I hope that is the story I wrote.

08-20-2012, 02:49 PM

Psyko Tek
08-20-2012, 03:00 PM
I like JoPO
wish he had not written about JOPA
think this should get penn state nuked from space

Lex Luthor
08-20-2012, 03:07 PM
A long article isn't a massive wall of text.

La literatura
08-20-2012, 03:12 PM
Early on, Posnanski tells the Paterno family’s “shyster” story: At a restaurant many years ago, one of the coach’s children ordered an all-you-can-eat salad. Another daughter, toward the end of the meal, snatched a slice of cucumber off her sister’s plate. The coach accused her of being a shyster, of stealing from the restaurant’s owners — it’s not an “all you and your sister can eat” place — and stormed out.

Curious as to what people's thoughts are on this story. It's not very inspiring, but I'm wondering I feel that way because of Paterno, or if it's the action itself (making a big deal about taking a slice of cucumber) that just isn't that impressive.

08-20-2012, 05:53 PM
Curious as to what people's thoughts are on this story. It's not very inspiring, but I'm wondering I feel that way because of Paterno, or if it's the action itself (making a big deal about taking a slice of cucumber) that just isn't that impressive.agreed. Just seems anal. Thats not teaching a moral lesson to a kid. I'm sure there were better oppertunites for that lesson.

08-22-2012, 09:51 AM
JoPo is getting slammed in a few reviews. My favorite qoute from Hearne:

"Nobody delivers a better sports writing blowjob than Posnanski. Nobody."

ROFL Thats JoPo in a nutshell.


08-22-2012, 09:53 AM
Joe Paterno, protector of cucumber slices. Children, not so much.

08-22-2012, 10:05 AM
Early on, Posnanski tells the Paterno family’s “shyster” story: At a restaurant many years ago, one of the coach’s children ordered an all-you-can-eat salad. Another daughter, toward the end of the meal, snatched a slice of cucumber off her sister’s plate. The coach accused her of being a shyster, of stealing from the restaurant’s owners — it’s not an “all you and your sister can eat” place — and stormed out.

He sounds like a real asshole.

Garcia Bronco
08-22-2012, 10:26 AM
Joe Paterno talking about dishonesty is like my 3000 pound Director talking about self-discipline. It takes a lotta balls.

08-22-2012, 10:32 AM
I like JoPO
wish he had not written about JOPA
think this should get penn state nuked from space

It's the only way to be sure.

08-27-2012, 10:20 AM
JoPo to speak with Costas about book on NBC SPorts Network Wed night the 29th.


08-28-2012, 06:40 PM



One thing is obvious after reading “Paterno,” the much-anticipated biography chronicling disgraced Penn State coach Joe Paterno: The biographer doesn’t know his subject.

This explains Joe Posnanski’s reluctance to express an opinion about the deceased football coach he allegedly spent nearly two years getting to know intimately. In the few interviews Posnanski, the book’s biographer, has consented to, the celebrated sportswriter has ducked characterizing his thoughts on Paterno by saying he wants readers to make up their own minds regarding Paterno and his legacy.

Posnanski’s fluffy, 400-plus-page opus provides sparse guidance. What it inadvertently does, for the highly careful reader, is expose how a coach and a writer can sacrifice their integrity over time, one compromised decision at a time.

It’s difficult to discern what is most shallow in Posnanski’s book — the reporting, the access or the insight.

A mere 26 pages in and the “journalist” who reportedly had unprecedented access to Paterno, the coach’s family, confidants and football program is reduced to retelling a story spoken by a female football intern at a Paterno memorial service recalling the coach walking into his office, catching her eyes and remarking: “It’s cold out there, heh?”

“He was a legend,” Kait Sawyer is quoted in the book. “And he was talking to me.”

That was the book’s first glimpse into Paterno’s soul. JoePa, an old man, made small talk with a young woman. Imagine that.

From there, the book attempted to create the appearance it delved deeper. But it offered little evidence of its descent. I read the book slowly, over four days. I took notes. I re-read. Simon & Schuster, the publisher, trumpeted the fact Posnanski embedded himself in Happy Valley for more than a year, researching Paterno, Penn State and The Grand Experiment.

With the exception of Posnanski’s interaction with former Penn State fullback Don Abbey, the book reads like a series of cleverly written blog postings buttressed by brief telephone interviews. Posnanski, the storyteller without ego according to his passionate band of sycophants, is center stage throughout “Paterno,” most often without good reason. He delights in explaining how inconsequential figures in the book acquired nicknames. He showboats, sharing nerdy, pointless and colorful background stories on Herschel Walker and Bear Bryant. Posnanski dances and distracts because he has little that is new or enlightening to share about his subject, Joe Paterno.

Based on the content of the book, Posnanski barely had any more access to Paterno and Penn State football than the typical Penn State beat writer. All the dialogue with Paterno reads as though it transpired during a couple of rushed interviews after Penn State dismissed Paterno and the coach’s family realized it needed a biographer/stenographer to record Paterno’s rationalizations.

There is virtually no scene-setting or description of the quoted sources’ emotions and body language when speaking about Paterno. Sources who say nothing of consequence are granted anonymity. There isn’t one piece of insight into what Paterno actually did as a coach in his latter years. Was Posnanski ever inside Penn State’s locker room? Did he ever see Paterno interact with current players or coaches on the practice field, in his office, at his home? Did Posnanski attend any Penn State games during Paterno’s final season? Insiders within the program surely knew the Sandusky cloud was hovering over the final season. As a journalist, did Posnanski ever ask to see the scene of Sandusky’s most infamous crime? Whatever insight about Happy Valley that Posnanski gleaned from allegedly living there isn’t in this book. And, most tragically, the book lacks a sophisticated, nuanced point of view and/or narrative.

The book relies heavily on the perspective of Guido D’Elia, a Paterno insider Posnanski describes as a “Penn State marketing guru.” Hats off to Guido. Job well done. He convinced Posnanski that perusing Paterno’s sanitized, Paterno-family-approved handwritten coaching notes and letters from his time in the military represented groundbreaking access.

The short chapter Posnanski wrote exploring Paterno and race is but one glaring example of the book’s shallowness. The chapter is built around the plight of Penn State’s first black quarterback, Mike Cooper. It was the 1970 season and Cooper lasted only a handful of games before getting benched. Penn State didn’t have another black starting QB until the 1990s. According to the book, Cooper lives in Harrisburg, Pa. Posnanski never talked to Cooper about his experience at Penn State. Posnanski wrote about Cooper as though he were dead.

“Cooper graduated from Penn State and moved back to Harrisburg, where he worked for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Teammates rarely heard from him,” the book stated.

On a whim Saturday morning while eating breakfast in a Las Vegas hotel, I tracked down Cooper’s ex-wife, his former boss, a cousin and finally Mike Cooper. He retired last March from the Housing Finance Agency. He returned my call — he said “accidentally” — but declined to be interviewed about Paterno. Cooper isn’t dead. Give a motivated journalist a year in Pennsylvania, a research assistant and a $750,000 book advance, and I bet he/she could crack Mike Cooper.

As for a peek into Paterno’s thoughts on race, we’re left with the well-worn story about a northern coach who led his team out of a southern restaurant that refused to serve one of his black players in the 1960s.

Seriously, most puddles are deeper than “Paterno.”

It’s the antithesis of John Feinstein’s “A Season on the Brink” and Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights.”

“Paterno” is “A Tuesday with JoePa (and Guido).”

Despite the Posnanski-friendly narrative that the Sandusky storm came from nowhere and unexpectedly ruined Posnanski’s plan to write a hagiography, the storm clouds and what they meant for Paterno were evident for more than a year before his firing. People in Pennsylvania — where Posnanski was allegedly embedded — were writing about and gossiping about Jerry Sandusky and the grand jury investigation for nearly a year before he was arrested and charged. There was no surprise. There was plenty of time to prepare and craft a narrative that neither vilified nor sanctified Paterno. There was time to explore Paterno’s humanity and the unique set of circumstances and conditions that grossly compromised Paterno’s integrity.

Paterno, like Tom Osborne, Bill McCartney and countless others, let the media define for him what was most important — finishing the season ranked No. 1 while appearing to adhere to the NCAA’s unethical rule book.

The Saint revealed he was a Sinner when he attacked President Nixon for declaring the 1969 Texas-Arkansas winner national champion over Paterno’s soft-schedule-undefeated Nittany Lions. Paterno professed there were more important pursuits than winning. After having two undefeated teams denied a mythical title, he became obsessed with finishing No. 1. For decades, he was the most vocal proponent for a playoff system. In the late 1970s, he started bending his self-imposed recruiting rules and taking players who didn’t fit his rigid profile.

Posnanski fails to connect the obvious dots, but he unwittingly tells the story anyway. Matt Millen was the type of player Paterno previously avoided. He was a wild hell-raiser who originally wanted to go to Colorado because the Buffs were going to pay him, according to Posnanski’s book. Millen wound up captain of the 1979 Penn State team. The team disappointed. Paterno kicked several players off the team, including Franco Harris’ younger brother. Paterno stripped Millen of his captaincy. The squad severely underachieved and Paterno considered retiring in the aftermath.

A self-righteous man doesn’t sacrifice integrity overnight. It happens methodically. It happens when his ambition concludes the calendar isn’t cooperating. A middle-aged sportswriter might still dream of being as famous as Mitch Albom. An aging coach might want to be as revered and beloved as John Wooden. Paterno, Sandusky and Mike McQueary were on a collision course for three decades. Paterno’s vanity and insecurity — the ingredients necessary to play deaf, dumb and blind to Sandusky’s heinous perversion — were on full display when he went after President Nixon, when Paterno first publicly exposed he cared too deeply what others thought of his team and its accomplishments.

“President Nixon knows more about college football than he does Watergate,” Paterno famously quipped.

President Nixon might retort that Joe Paterno knows more about Barry Switzer and Jackie Sherrill —coaches Paterno smugly accused of breaking NCAA rules —than Jerry Sandusky, a 30-year assistant.

As best I could tell, the book has one true motive —distancing Paterno from Sandusky.

The book spends a great deal of time crediting Paterno for every good thing that happened to Penn State football, especially on defense. Paterno, according to Posnanski, put his best players on defense, single-handedly invented a 4-4-3 defense in his second season and came up with the defensive strategies that stopped Walker and Georgia and Vinny Testaverde and Miami in PSU’s two most important games. The book alleges that Sandusky’s disinterest and lack of professionalism ruined what should’ve been Paterno’s third national championship team, the 1999 Nittany Lions. The team was loaded on both sides of the ball with future pros. The poorly coached defense ruined the season, the book claims. PSU lost its final three regular-season games in what turned out to be Sandusky’s final season as defensive coordinator. At the postseason banquet Paterno eschewed the tradition of speaking individually about each senior player. He claimed he did so because the coaching staff let the seniors down. A rational biographer, acknowledging Paterno’s massive ego and vanity, might suggest Paterno did it because he felt the seniors let him down.

The book also argues that Paterno hated Sandusky. I actually believe this. Sandusky connected with Penn State players in a way that surely pushed Paterno’s jealousy buttons.

The book had one other discernible goal — distancing Posnanski from his journalistic cowardice and fraudulence. Posnanski cut a financial deal with Simon & Schuster and Joe Paterno. An unspecified and unexplained portion of the reported $750,000 advance would be donated to the charity of Paterno’s choice, Posnanski admitted in a blog posting last November. This financial arrangement served as the self-imposed golden handcuffs that justified Posnanski hearing every implausible Paterno rationalization — “what is sodomy?” — as potential gospel. "Paterno" is a memoir, not a biography. This was a limited partnership from the outset, with the iconic, manipulative and narcissistic coach wielding all the power . . . even from his grave.

The private, JoePa-vs.-JoePo, “what do you make of all this?” anecdote — where Posnanski allegedly tells Paterno man to man that he didn’t do enough to stop Sandusky — printed at the end of the book was Posnanski’s weak way of cutting the strings from his dead puppeteer.

Posnanski writes that Paterno simply repeated his previously reported regret that he didn’t do more to stop Sandusky. The conversation was not shared to tell us anything new about Paterno. It was solely printed to put the biographer in a more favorable, tough-guy light.

Too late. “Paterno” reveals far more about the biographer than the subject.

08-29-2012, 10:35 AM
hehe........Damn....Whitlock unloads on his old Pal Posnanski!