Last November, Joe Posnanski told Penn State undergrads that Joe Paterno was being made “a scapegoat”. At the time, Posnanski was putting the finishing touches on a hotly anticipated Paterno biography, completed with no small amount of cooperation from the PSU head football coach’s family and friends. Fast forward several months later, and it is entirely probable that Posnanski regrets some or all of his defense of Paterno, but in the wake of last week’s publication of the Freeh Report, Posnanski colleague and fan Jeff Pearlman opines that ‘Paterno”s rush to August 21 publication is a very bad idea (“scrap the whole thing… aybe wait a year or two, then—when the dust clears and the implications are more understood,”)
But there is no possible way, one month removed from a report that details Joe Paterno’s knowledge of a pedophile roaming the Penn State campus (and his refusal to do anything about it, when he clearly could/should have), a proper biography can be released. No. Possible. Way.
By all accounts, Joe Posnanski’s biography was—until relatively recently—a love letter to Joe Paterno; an ode to a legendary coach and the men he inspired. Well, that no longer works. Like, not partially doesn’t work—doesn’t work at all. When a man allows the molestation of multiple children to take place on his watch; when the molestation of multiple children is brushed under the carpet in the name of protecting a football program (a football program!?) … well, call me crazy, but I no longer care about D.J. Dozier’s warm reflections of the time cuddly ol’ JoePa had him run off tackle against Ohio State. Not only do those sort of details turn insignificant—they turn insulting.
(UPDATE : Simon & Schuster’s promotional video for ‘Paterno’ that originally appeared in this post was removed from YouTube yesterday).