We've obtained a copy of Joe Posnanski's book, Paterno, which is scheduled for release Tuesday. We've already shared some reactions from others who have had a chance to read an advance copy. And while we're still parsing through the book, we're passing along certain details as we come across them.
The book's final chapter is a collection of unrelated anecdotes about Paterno as told by his children and several of his former players. Much of the chapter is light. But on Page 361, the tales of how much Paterno liked ice cream and the aw-shucks little lessons of wisdom Paterno often imparted are suddenly interrupted by a short story involving just Posnanski and Paterno. They are alone at a table at Paterno's home. It is a few weeks after Paterno had been fired by Penn State. As Posnanski tells it, Paterno had just had an awful coughing spell, and "his face was still red from the effort." He asks Posnanski to stop asking questions for a bit.
This is where Posnanski takes the scene from there:
He asked me: "So what do you think of all this?"
I told him that it was crazy, but that was not what he was asking.
"What do you think of all this?" he asked me again.
I had not intended to include this in the book. It was a personal moment between writer and subject. But as the story has played out, I decided it was important. I told him that I thought he should have done more when he was told Jerry Sandusky was showering with a boy. I had heard what he had said about not understanding the severity, not knowing much about child molestation, not having Sandusky as an employee. But, I said, "You are Joe Paterno. Right or wrong, people expect more from you."
He nodded. He did not try to defend or deflect. He said simply, "I wish I had done more," again, and then descended into another coughing fit.