Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Posnanski: "No, I Don't Feel About Joe Paterno The Same Way I Did When I Started Writing The Book"

But what exactly has changed with Joe Posnanski's thinking? Doesn't say. We're five days away from the release of the former Sports Illustrated star's Joe Paterno biography, and Posnanski took the opportunity to justify the book in a USA Today column today:

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.


This is probably the best marketing option for a brutally ill-timed biography: the complicated-human thing. How else can he shoehorn in a new theme for a book that had set out to detail the life of Joe Paterno, coaching legend, before the scandal hit? In doing so, he's forced into awkward moments like this:

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?"

"They," you say? Trouble is, Posnanski is asking and (maybe) answering these questions while we're seeking more answers to another one: What did Joe Paterno know and when did he know it?

Posnanski: Paterno offered a complex challenge [USA Today]


Share This Story

Get our newsletter