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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Posnanski book preview - Joe Paterno’s Last Season

Scott Paterno was the first in the family to understand that the Pennsylvania grand jury presentment that indicted Jerry Sandusky could end his father’s career. This wasn’t surprising; Scott tended to be the most realistic—or cynical, depending on who you asked—in the family. He had run for Congress and lost and along the way tasted the allure and nastiness of public life. He had worked as a lawyer and as a lobbyist. He would sometimes tell people, “Hey, don’t kid yourself, I’m the ####### of the family.” When Scott read the presentment, he called his father and said, “Dad, you have to face the possibility that you will never coach another game.”

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM | 525 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, off-topic, ped, posnanski

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   401. The District Attorney Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4214114)
A good one about my pop - he spent much of his childhood in a refugee camp without running water. To go the bathroom, you went to the fields with some newspaper and then wiped your ass with your reading material.
I hope they at least were able to get the New York Post.
   402. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4214128)
I distinctly remember myself at age, oh, probably 6 or 7, being forbidden from leaving the dinner table until I'd eaten all of the helping of seconds I'd taken. Everyone else got to leave, all the other dishes were cleared, but I had to sit there until I ate every bite. Finally, sobbing and sniffing, I did it.

Never committed that blunder again.


I hated mashed potatoes, couldn't stand the texture, just felt gross, well my mom was determined to make me eat them, and one day she wouldn't let me leave the table, finally one spoonful, two three... just so gross, and

barf, all over the table... I had an iron stomach, I never threw up, even if you stuck a finger down my throat... she never made me try to eat mashed potatoes again.
   403. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4214143)
barf, all over the table... I had an iron stomach, I never threw up, even if you stuck a finger down my throat... she never made me try to eat mashed potatoes again

With my own kids, the rule was you could never say you didn't like something until you'd tried it. Once you'd tasted it, if you said you didn't like it we wouldn't make you eat it, but it was against house rules to just pre-emptively decide you didn't like something.

So, one time with my son, he was about 4 or so, I was telling him he had to try the asparagus. I said, "Look, I understand you might not like it, I didn't like it when I was your age, but maybe you will. So just take one bite of the asparagus. It's not like it's going to make you throw up or anything."

Ooh, bad idea, Dad. My son takes one bite of the asparagus, chews it for a second, tries to swallow it, and then, kablooey, barf all over everywhere.

Have you ever simultaneously cracked up laughing while holding your nose and desperately cleaning up a barf catastrophe?
   404. God Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4214243)
The last paragraph of 403 sounds like something Murray Chass's editor would have had to do a few times.
   405. zenbitz Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4214264)
Damn, Steve that's a funny story.

I admit to being a total softie about my son's eating habits. We tried to just not turn the dinner table into a battle ground and just tried to make sure he got calories (he's skinny and high energy). But in the end, he just turned in to a completely picky eater (he's 8).

APPEASEMENT FOR THE LOSS!
   406. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4214268)
Blatant plug: a friend of mine just wrote a book about picky eaters (with the brilliant title Suffering Succotash), and there's a lot of fascinating science in there about why people might become picky eaters.
   407. AndrewJ Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4214295)
I was a very picky eater as a child. It's gotten better as I've gotten older.
   408. Jay Z Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4214378)
Just arguing against the idea that there is a 'pure' version of college athletics to go back to.

If you go to PE/Intramurals in an attempt to eliminate 'professional' college athletics, it won't work. Teams will want to face off against rival colleges. Heck, when I was at BU and an unofficial member of the BU SCA we had scrimmages against the Tufts SCA people.

When teams from rival colleges face off, people will want to go see them. When 10,000 people show up for a venue that holds 2,000, somebody will have the idea of charging admission. When college pride is on the line, you'll have coaches who encourage ringers to sign up to your college for one credit hour so they can play in the big game. You'll want to regulate all that, so you will have an intercollegial athletic association. Bingo, you have all the elements of the current system. It's no coincidence that this sort of thing started up about 15 minutes after the idea of collegiate athletics was invented.


Yes, there were attempts to use ringers since the beginning. However, the Ivies and service academies successfully de-emphasized big time sports. For decades there were restrictions on freshmen playing, on two-platoon football, even on dunking the basketball. Do we lack the will to de-emphasize big time college sports? Yes. Could we do it if we had the will? Yes.
   409. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:53 PM (#4214381)
allan barra kills the book in his review. just lambasts it.
   410. base ball chick Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4214388)
my twins are just like their daddy - if it's food, looks good to them

youngest will eat pretty much anything as long as there is no mayo in it - he is beyond hysterical about mayo, don't ask me why. but i can handle that - and it ain't that much to ask. i've told my kidz they get 3 things they don't like or won't eat and that's it, ida wanna hear it. i'm not arguing about it, i'm not gonna make em eat, but they sure as heck ain't gettin something ELSE to eat.

i fix pretty ordinary food - i mean, nothin youse rich guys would get in the fancy restaurants, and i am not gonna put up with no kid tellin me what i spent all that time fixin ain't good enough for him.

i disremember my brothers ever tellin my mama or daddy or aunties they wasn't eatin what was fixed. and with my husband, well, there were too many times they were glad to have SOMEthing to eat.

best i can tell, "picky eater" just means the kid wants to eat nothing but candys and junk food or milk. they figured it out their mama is gonna get all up set if they won't eat SOMEthing so they cry and whine until she give in and gives em junk.

we've had all kinds of kidz over who be like that. i tell them they can eat what's on the table or not - up to them, but they ain't gettin somethin else. they might could sulk, but pretty much they eat the food and if they won't, well that's their decision. (this is different from a developmentally disabled child who can't chew or swallow or something like that. or one of those autistic kids - that's different, something is wrong with them, poor kids)
   411. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM (#4214391)
full credit to justin in the lounge for the atlantic review
   412. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4214399)
Very nice review by Barra.
   413. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:03 PM (#4214426)
Brutal review by Barra. Thanks to Harveys for bringing to my attention.
   414. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4214429)
Barra's review is good. I started to quote from it but then realized I'd have to quote 2/3 of it. Go read it.

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/08/joe_paterno_bio.php

Ok, I'll quote one portion:

Again and again, Posnanski nudge's us towards accepting the Paterno family's version of events. For instance, in the statement they released to the press, Paterno says "I understand that people are upset and angry, but let's be fair and let the legal process unfold ... Sue [Mrs. Paterno] and I have devoted our lives to helping young people reach their potential. The fact that someone we thought we knew might have harmed young people to this extent is deeply troubling. If this is true, we were all fooled along with scores of professionals trained in such things ..."

But letting the legal process unfold is exactly what Paterno did not do when he chose to not inform the police or make sure they were informed.


Also, the thing about "we were all fooled along with scores of professionals" -- huh? When McQueary reported his account to Paterno, Sandusky wasn't even there to "fool him."
   415. Steve Treder Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4214441)
i tell them they can eat what's on the table or not - up to them, but they ain't gettin somethin else. they might could sulk, but pretty much they eat the food and if they won't, well that's their decision.

That's how we did it with our kids. This is it: this is your dinner (or lunch or breakfast). Eat it or leave it, your choice, but you aren't getting anything else. We didn't have many issues with it. They both grew up healthy, good eaters, food lovers.
   416. Obo Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4214448)
There's a longer Barra review at the Atlantic.

It's pretty fierce.

Edit: Checking the forums, this is the one that Justin T. linked.
   417. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4214459)
Yeah, the Atlantic review is excellent. Two sentences of note:

Posnanski admits that Paterno concluded that what McQueary told him "was of a sexual nature." Then what else, one wants to scream, did Paterno need to know about whether or not the authorities needed to be called in?

   418. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4214465)
As someone who agrees with Barra's POV, reading that review was cathartic.
   419. base ball chick Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4214470)
ray

unfortunately, the word is "needed"
and apparently the facts are that paterno did not legally HAVE TO notify anyone but curley

the fact that he was satisfied by that tells me all i "needed" to know about what kind of person paterno REALLY was under all that "molder of men" bullpoopoo

p.s. happy birthday - a few days late as usual
   420. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4214472)
Another point I don't understand - I get why Posnanski might not want to appear on ESPN or whatnot and have Stephen A. Smith or some other dumb, self-promoting prick scream past him, but I would've liked to have thought he'd want to engage with the BBTF community or a community like it - the sophisticated, not-foaming at the mouth folks who think he's greviously erred. You'd think, reading the Barra or Marchman reviews, Posnanski would be motivated to say more than various iterations of "I wanted to find the gray between the black and white", but it's almost as if Posnaski doesn't want to engage with substantive criticism of the path he's chosen. This, in spite of being a guy who was previously distinctively interactive and open with readers and other writers.
   421. GregD Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4214480)
Another point I don't understand - I get why Posnanski might not want to appear on ESPN or whatnot and have Stephen A. Smith or some other dumb, self-promoting prick scream past him, but I would've liked to have thought he'd want to engage with the BBTF community or a community like it - the sophisticated, not-foaming at the mouth folks who think he's greviously erred. You'd think, reading the Barra or Marchman reviews, Posnanski would be motivated to say more than various iterations of "I wanted to find the gray between the black and white", but it's almost as if Posnaski doesn't want to engage with substantive criticism of the path he's chosen. This, in spite of being a guy who was previously distinctively interactive and open with readers and other writers.
He's afraid of what will be said? And that the questions from rational people will be more damning than the questions from Screamin A?
   422. rr Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4214483)
After reading Barra (thanks for the links), I am still feeling the same way I felt earlier: I just don't think Posnanski is the guy to write this book. I don't think he has the research skills to be a great biographer* and I think he was too close to the Paternos to be the guy to dig up the dirt and "ask the tough questions."

*I am basing that on The Machine, which was a nice enough read but quite shallow, and based on reviews, it seems Paterno has some shallow spots as well.

But then, while I think he is good, I have never been all that impressed by Posnanki as a writer.
   423. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4214485)
This book was supposed to be Father's Day Fluff.
   424. rr Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:42 AM (#4214489)
This book was supposed to be Father's Day Fluff.



Yeah, I know, and Posnanski could have done a nice job with that book: Conversations with the Coach: My Year With Joe Paterno in Happy Valley (the actual original title was much more grandiose than my fake one).

Black Shoe Diaries has a side thread up about it, and the people posting in it who have read Paterno like it.
   425. AndrewJ Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:07 AM (#4214512)
I just don't think Posnanski is the guy to write this book. I don't think he has the research skills to be a great biographer* and I think he was too close to the Paternos to be the guy to dig up the dirt and "ask the tough questions."

Michael Lewis could pull it off -- he likes sports and he understands institutions.
   426. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4214520)
Michael Lewis could pull it off -- he likes sports and he understands institutions.

Pat Jordan! He has the proper level of mockery for our valued institutions. He would strip Penn State and America's love for its toys to the bone.
   427. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 08:27 AM (#4214523)
Pat Jordan! He has the proper level of mockery for our valued institutions. He would strip Penn State and America's love for its toys to the bone.

Carl Hiaasen could do a good job.
   428. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4214574)
Another point I don't understand - I get why Posnanski might not want to appear on ESPN or whatnot and have Stephen A. Smith or some other dumb, self-promoting prick scream past him, but I would've liked to have thought he'd want to engage with the BBTF community or a community like it - the sophisticated, not-foaming at the mouth folks who think he's greviously erred. You'd think, reading the Barra or Marchman reviews, Posnanski would be motivated to say more than various iterations of "I wanted to find the gray between the black and white", but it's almost as if Posnaski doesn't want to engage with substantive criticism of the path he's chosen. This, in spite of being a guy who was previously distinctively interactive and open with readers and other writers.

The best business play is to write a book the cultists will come out in force to buy, and that's what happened. That's always been the primary market for the book and, post-Freeh, the cult became an even better market. The serious market, of course, all but dried up.

Poz took his 750 large and went all in. James and Neyer ran early interference for him to try to give a patina of credibility to his "thesis," and James got rewarded with the comically incongruous, borderline insulting, quote that opened the book. The three of them tried to garner support for the indefensible and at least two of them got all pissy when it wasn't forthcoming. It's been a truly sorry episode for the serious-minded sports community.
   429. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4214578)
Posnanski taking Paterno's side over Triponey is downright pathetic. As noted above, Paterno imported criminals en masse to Happy Valley in the early part of the century:

"In 2008, ESPN's Outside The Lines published investigation that revealed that between 2002 and 2008, 46 Penn State players amassed 163 criminal charges. Ultimately, 27 were found guilty on 45 charges. (You'll have to look up these numbers for yourself on ESPN.com as Posnanski only mentions that 46 were charged.) ... In 2007 there was a fight involving 15 players and some other students at a party; two of the men wound up in the hospital. ("But," as Posnanski is quick to remind us, they were "immediately released, so there were no long-lasting injuries.") Three players were charged."
   430. GregD Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4214581)
("But," as Posnanski is quick to remind us, they were "immediately released, so there were no long-lasting injuries.")
If this is representative--and I trust Barra more than JoePos at this point--then this is devastating. One could make a serious effort to try to understand Paterno's predicament as he aged, and the reasons why coaches turn toward low-character guys for wins and the good life outcomes that can sometimes--sometimes!--result from second chances, but to minimize it is to make oneself look like Pravda.

They say everyone has a price, and it looks more and more like JoePos's price was 750k. Or, perhaps worse, that he truly believes this crap and would have done it for free.
   431. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4214623)
It's been a truly sorry episode for the serious-minded sports community.


As regards James (though he's already demonstrated with his Pete Rose stance that he was willing to embrace sheer contrariness for no other sake than to perpetuate his image as an iconoclast) &, to a considerably lesser extent, Neyer, yeah.

Posnanski has never impressed me as being much more than another Mitch Albom; one of those is enough. Or maybe too much.
   432. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4214630)
regarding james i would have had a lot of respect if he had kept his crazy rants in the face of the red sox admonishments and been willing to get fired. if he is so riled up by his conviction that joe paterno got a raw deal then stand up already

but he didn't. he tucked his tail and kept cashing the checks.

pretty sorry
   433. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4214633)
I don't think it's exactly fair to say that JoePoz's "price was 750k." When he signed on to write Father's Day Fluff, and took that advance, that was an entirely acceptable project. Maybe not very exciting, but whatever. It was exciting to Poz, because Paterno was one of his heroes, and I'm sure John Feinstein lives in a real big house.

I think it's far more likely that his personal affection for Paterno is what held him back from (a) keeping his mouth shut during the early days of the controversy and (b) taking the opportunity to critically reexamine Paterno's legacy in light of the revelations. An impatient publisher, who wanted the book out as soon as possible due to its timeliness, must have been a factor but I doubt it was the overriding one.

As far as Poz's current reticence, I would say that the real lesson for him is that he should have kept his mouth shut in those early days. If it wasn't already widely believed that Poz was a Paterno apologist, I don't think that eviscerating reviews like Barra's would have been written. The book would perhaps be seen as a disappointment, a lost chance, but not a pathetic sell-out apology.
   434. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4214634)
i tell them they can eat what's on the table or not - up to them, but they ain't gettin somethin else. they might could sulk, but pretty much they eat the food and if they won't, well that's their decision.

That's how we did it with our kids. This is it: this is your dinner (or lunch or breakfast). Eat it or leave it, your choice, but you aren't getting anything else. We didn't have many issues with it. They both grew up healthy, good eaters, food lovers.


We definitely do the same thing, and it mostly works. Although out of the 4 kids one tries everything and likes most stuff, one doesn't like anything, and the other two are in the middle.

I also encourage them to tell me when they don't like something. I make it clear that they shouldn't do that to anyone else but me, but if they don't like a food, let me know. They'll still have to eat it when I make it, but I will sometimes tailor my cooking around who's home for a given meal. Not always, and too bad if I make something you don't like, but I encourage feedback. I will also make a given dish 3 times before I consider not making it again. It gives them the chance to try things more than once and I find that by the third time there are some things that they discover that they do like.
   435. zenbitz Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4214643)
I should check out that book. For example, he eats salad but only separated into component parts with no dressing. Which is no big deal since we just sort of assemble salads anyway. He like spaghetti with tomato sauce (although only in the last couple years) and likes ground beef or sausage or whatever --- but NOT in the sauce.

To be fair to the kid - he does have some kind of intermittent acid reflux/heart burn or something. Actually was in the hospital for 3 days (suspecting appendicitis, etc.) and they never figured out what was bothering him.

Mostly he's just kinda spoiled though.
   436. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4214645)
I don't think it's exactly fair to say that JoePoz's "price was 750k."


Agreed. He might well have taken half that.
   437. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4214652)
Now that this book has landed with a predictable, wet plop like a turd dropping messily into a punchbowl...in a weird way I actually feel sorry for Posnanski. Want to know the odd thing? While it sure doesn't rise to the level of "tragedy" (by which I mean the requirements of the classical Greek form), it's HIS story in all of this, his regrettable arc, that actually elicits the most sympathy from me. And I say that even as I feel a burning contempt for him and the choices he's made (as everyone here knows -- I've unwittingly turned at least a couple threads into mega-flamewars over it).

But I wonder what he feels about himself right now. I recognize the difficulties of the position he found himself in. I can see how they toxically interacted with his own preexisting flaws as a writer (I hesitate to call them 'character flaws'). I wonder if he understands that he's damaged himself in some irreparable way. I have to think that he does. He reads what we (and others) write. Maybe he denies it, maybe he says "but, but, but..." He's aware, though.
   438. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4214657)
Posnanski has never impressed me as being much more than another Mitch Albom


Naah, Pos actually went to Happy Valley before mailing it in.
   439. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4214660)
Barra thinks Poz doesn't know college football yet writes: Penn State's opponents that year won just 49 of 93 games

His village voice piece isn't a book review, its more or less a primer post blasting Poz as a person.
   440. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4214665)
While it sure doesn't rise to the level of "tragedy" (by which I mean the requirements of the classical Greek form)

What does?
   441. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4214666)

Barra thinks Poz doesn't know college football yet writes: Penn State's opponents that year won just 49 of 93 games


So this is wrong? or? They were over .500 so his point is dumb?
   442. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4214672)
Fish, I'd say Paterno = Greek Tragedy, Poz = pants-pooping-fraud. And darn, I liked Poz, from the days he surfaced in KC and I discovered he was more just another lame KC media type.
   443. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4214673)
Barra's Atlantic piece is awesome.

Barra mentioned the opponents record of .526 like is was something bad. Its very good, considering they went .598 once you remove their 0-11 record against PSU.
   444. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4214677)
His village voice piece isn't a book review, its more or less a primer post blasting Poz as a person.

Anyone want to corroborate this, even if you think Barra's piece was awesome? Is it a review of the book or of Poz?
   445. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4214684)
One thing I really like about Barra's piece is that he identifies that the problem with the book isn't merely the (disgraceful) stuff on Sandusky. Rather, Barray demonstrates that Posnanski provides sufficient evidence to argue that Paterno was abusing his power and treating football as his fiefdom, separate from the university for years before the Sandusky scandal broke. Not only that, but Posnanski is entirely unethical in his smearing of administrators who attempted to rein in the football program and found themselves defeated by Paterno.

On Vicky Triponey, an administrator who attempted in the last decade to discipline football players for the many crimes and other infractions they committed around campus. Paterno wouldn't let her discipline "his" players and eventually got her to resign. Barra:
In a disgraceful bit of deflecting responsibility away from Paterno, Posnanski tries to taint Triponey's reputation: "One close friend of Paterno wondered, 'Don't reporters know how to use Google?' If they had, they would have found that Triponey's time at Penn State was not without controversy, including well-publicized clashes with the student government, the campus radio station, and fraternities." Too bad reporters can't Google the name of the anonymous close friend who said this and failed to mention that dealing with controversy is precisely what Triponey's job was all about.

Posnanski closes out his chapter by quoting a player: 'If it was up to that woman"—Triponey—"they would have thrown me out of school and let me rot. That's how she was. ... But now I'm a father, and I have a child, and I have a good job. I owe that to Joe Paterno. He wasn't perfect, but he believed in me. When nobody else did, he believed in me." Unfortunately, the player, like the Paterno friend who suggested Googling Triponey, is unnamed by Posnanski.
   446. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4214692)

Barra thinks Poz doesn't know college football yet writes: Penn State's opponents that year won just 49 of 93 games


So this is wrong? or? They were over .500 so his point is dumb?


FWIW College Reference has the '69 Nittany Lions SOS as 54th out of 122. Here was their schedule

at Navy (1-9) 45-22
Colorado (8-3) 27-3
Kansas State (5-5) 17-14
#17 West Virginia (10-1) 20-0
at Syracuse (5-5) 15-14
Ohio (5-4-1) 42-3
Boston College (5-4) 38-16
Maryland (3-7) 48-0
at Pitt (4-6) 27-7
at NC State (3-6-1) 33-8

Orange Bowl - vs. Missouri (10-1) 10-3

A 5-5 record is actually not very impressive at all. Boston College that year beat Navy, Tulane (3-7), VMI (0-10), UMass (I-AA) and Syracuse. Kansas State beat Kansas (1-9), Arizona (3-7), Baylor (0-10), Iowa State (3-7), and upset Oklahoma (6-4).

It looks like West Virginia and Colorado and a bunch of patsies to me.
   447. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4214693)
Anyone want to corroborate this, even if you think Barra's piece was awesome? Is it a review of the book or of Poz?


It seems clear that Barra set out to demolish Poz. It's excoriating. And I wouldn't be surprised if he had planned his response before he really even read the book, just going off of Poz's reputation as an apologist.

edit > Doesn't mean it isn't a good article.
   448. GregD Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4214710)
It seems clear that Barra set out to demolish Poz. It's excoriating. And I wouldn't be surprised if he had planned his response before he really even read the book, just going off of Poz's reputation as an apologist.
It is brutal in a way that might make you think of Barra's motivations but it is also closely tied to the text, and he provides enough examples of Pos sinking himself with his own words to make me a little heartsick.
   449. AndrewJ Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4214721)
Another author who could do justice to this entire story: Buzz Bissinger. Even if you don't like his slagging sabermetrics in his Tony LaRussa book.
   450. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4214730)
Joe Posnanski is the Grantland Rice of our day. Agree or disagree?
   451. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4214746)
I don't think it's exactly fair to say that JoePoz's "price was 750k." When he signed on to write Father's Day Fluff, and took that advance, that was an entirely acceptable project. Maybe not very exciting, but whatever. It was exciting to Poz, because Paterno was one of his heroes, and I'm sure John Feinstein lives in a real big house.

I think it's far more likely that his personal affection for Paterno is what held him back from (a) keeping his mouth shut during the early days of the controversy and (b) taking the opportunity to critically reexamine Paterno's legacy in light of the revelations.


I'm not sure we can disentangle Posnanski's childlike hero-worship of Paterno from his book deal. Posnanski said on Francesa's show yesterday that they (I presume the publisher but maybe Posnanski as well) kept asking Paterno for years if they could do this book. Finally, in late 2010, Paterno agreed, and Posnanski was granted access to him. It seems like the agreement with Paterno was basically to do his authorized biography in exchange for access, which means that Posnanski found himself utterly conflicted as to that when the Sandusky mess came raining down. Even if Posnanski weren't conflicted by his hero-worship of the man.

And this is exactly how Barra found Posnanski's book to read: basically to present the pro-Paterno side as much as possible. And the anonymous quotes from "close friends" -- which description, frankly, fits Posnanski as well so the quotes could well have been coming from him -- reek as to this.

Posnanski kept returning to two major themes in the interview yesterday: (1) Paterno was old, and eventually sick, and his mind/memory weren't 100%; and (2) this story is so oh so oh so complex. But (1) is an excuse, and certainly wasn't true in 2001 if it ever was; this was a guy who stared down the president and board years later as they tried to fire him. And (2) is a farce; there is nothing complicated about this story: this god-like Leader Of Men, this architect of the Grand Experiment, in the greatest and simplest moral test of his life, couldn't find it within himself to alert state authorities to Sandusky following a credible eye witness account of child sex abuse.

At every turn in the interview, Posnanski claimed to be simply presenting the facts for the reader to make up his own mind; but the facts presented, and their presentation, are, from Barra's view (I haven't read the book), biased in favor of Paterno.

(Lisa: Thanks for the birthday wish.)
   452. DA Baracus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4214753)
It looks like West Virginia and Colorado and a bunch of patsies to me.


It was. Before you even get to the actual season, PSU was ranked #3 in the pre-season poll after being #2 at the end of 1968 when they were 11-0 after this schedule:

Navy (2-8) 31-6
K-State (4-6) 25-9
at WV (7-3) 31-20
at UCLA (3-7) 21-6
at BC (6-3) 29-0
Army (7-3) 28-24
Miami (5-5) 22-7
at Maryland (2-8) 57-13
at Pitt (1-9) 65-9
Syracuse (6-4) 30-12

Orange Bowl vs #6 Kansas (9-2) 15-14

WV was a D-IAA school.
BC went 6-3 playing against mainly D-IAA schools: Villanova, Buffalo, VMI, Holy Cross and UMass.
Army was respectable, beating #16 Cal.
Syracuse got ranked #15 after beating #9 UCLA (who dropped off the rankings after that), moved up to #10 after stomping Pitt then got their asses handed to them by Cal and dropped out of the rankings.

(Damn, looking at that, the rankings are so much better today. I'll have to remember that next time I complain.)

PSU had plenty of respect in 1969. Looking at who they played, you might even say they were overrated.
   453. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4214792)

BC went 6-3 playing against mainly D-IAA schools: Villanova, Buffalo, VMI, Holy Cross and UMass.


FWIW, Nova and Buffalo were I-A back then, although neither were all that good.
   454. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4214836)
I thought the I-A/I-AA distinction didn't exist until like the late-70s?
   455. DA Baracus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4214874)
FWIW, Nova and Buffalo were I-A back then, although neither were all that good.


I thought the I-A/I-AA distinction didn't exist until like the late-70s?


Whoops. WV was in the Southern League with at the time Richmond, the Citadel, William & Mary, Davidson, East Carolina, VMI and Furman. They were in D-I when there was only D-I/II/III. Ten years later they were I-AA. Point remains, WV despite their record wasn't very good.

In 1968, Ohio State beat 4 ranked at the time teams, including the #1, #2 and #4; and #3 ranked Texas played four. Penn State beat nobody ranked and finished second. In 1969 #1 Texas played three: #2, #8 and #9; and #3 USC played four. Penn State played one ranked team and finished second. Posnanski's claim that PSU was overlooked by the experts who had little respect for east coast teams just doesn't hold up.
   456. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4214876)
Near the end of Paterno, as Posnanski tells it, author and subject are sitting alone at a table (we assume in Paterno's home) a couple of week after Joe had been fired. Paterno asks Posnanski, "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 about Jerry Sandusky 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 simply said, "I wish I had done more," again .


Something about this passage simply does not ring true, beginning with Paterno feeling the need to have Posnanski's opinion of his actions.


Barra seems to be saying here that Posnanski fabricated this conversation. I don't know, of course, but one further point in favor of that theory is that Paterno says nothing more in that conversation than what Paterno said in his own statement, i.e., that he wished he had done more.

Also, Posnanski's setup of the question, "I had heard what he said about not understanding the severity, not knowing much about child molestation, not having Sandusky as an employee..." This gives Paterno needless cover. Paterno knew the situation was severe enough to get his superiors involved; he knew it was about child sex abuse. What more was needed to report the damned thing to state authorities? Didn't understand the severity makes no sense, and as for Sandusky not being an employee, then it makes even less sense that Paterno was consulting PSU guidelines (consulting guidelines? really?) rather than just picking up the phone to police.

You don't "consult guidelines" in this situation if you think it's not very severe, and you don't "consult guidelines" in this situation unless you're trying to understand your obligations so that you can find a way around them. Which is exactly what Paterno did.
   457. GregD Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4214888)
He nodded. He did not try to defend or deflect. He simply said, "I wish I had done more," again .
It's also the cloying tone, as if he's congratulating Paterno for saying he wishes he had done more. Note the little "did not try to defend or deflect." Congratulations, Joe! Note also what Paterno is saying not I screwed up. Or how could I not have taken obvious, available steps? Or how could I have done so little? But I wish I did more. That's a catastrophically inappropriate response to what happened and one that Joe Pos--at least in this excerpt--sets up as a grand act of remorse.
   458. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4214931)
and you don't "consult guidelines" in this situation unless you're trying to understand your obligations so that you can find a way around them. Which is exactly what Paterno did.


Disagree. I'd damn well consult guidelines in a situation like this to be damned sure I didn't omit to do anything that I ought to have done. Unless you're sure you've memorized your responsibilities in such a case, you'd be a fool not to make sure you'd checked all the boxes.

That's not to say there mightn't be ethical responsibilities beyond what's in the book, but I'd be supremely unimpressed if told by someone that he figured he'd done all he needed and didn't bother to see what he was supposed to do.
   459. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4214937)
I think the very very simple point that college football enables criminals of all types to be recruited and crimninal behavior for their performers to go unpunished makes it simply very easy to understand how Paterno and everyone else involved enabled their own blinders to the fact that they were doing anything wrong, no matter the insanity of the crime.
   460. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4214944)
That's not to say there mightn't be ethical responsibilities beyond what's in the book,


Not to respond for RDP, but I guessing his position would that, in this particular case, the responsibilities by "the book" would be at least coextensive with the ethical responsibilities.
   461. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4214965)
the Barra quotation leaves out the words "and dissolved in a coughing fit" after the final "again."

Agreeing with all else that GregD says in 457, the "coughing fit" is one last plea for sympathy.
   462. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4214984)
It's a couple things there: (1) simply calling the police and trying to get the identity of the kid wouldn't have violated the guidelines (*); and (2) Joe Paterno didn't pay any attention to guidelines anyway. He didn't look at the guidelines when the university president said the board wanted him out as football coach; and he didn't look at the guidelines when faced with his players' crimes. As to the latter, he affirmatively tried to avoid the guidelines and the procedures they set out.

He only cared about the guidelines when they could be used as a shield, as cover to do less than obviously needed to be done -- that's the only time Joe Paterno ever gave two shits about the guidelines.

(*) There isn't a stitch of evidence that Paterno ever lifted a finger to do anything for the kid that McQueary told him had had sexual activity inflicted upon him by Jerry Sandusky, in the decade between the activity and Paterno's death. That's the kid who needed Joe Paterno to do something for kids, not the 18-22 year old "kids" he coached.
   463. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:21 PM (#4215003)
Spanier's lawyer:

Freeh's report, Lewis said, assumes that former graduate assistant Mike McQueary told coach Joe Paterno in 2001 that he saw something sexual in a locker room shower, and that Paterno echoed that to athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz.

Freeh likewise presumes they in turn told Spanier that McQueary saw something sexual.

"Curley and Schultz have denied that they ever told Dr. Spanier anything of the sort," Lewis said. "Horseplay was referred to over and over again, but never with any sexual connotation. ... But Judge Freeh paid no attention to that."

"The Freeh report, as it pertains to Dr. Spanier, is a myth. And that myth ... ends today," Lewis said.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/ex_penn_state_president_lawyers_g6rRnXP4oHwydqY3FfZ5UI#ixzz24IuTZCeF


The bolded statement is absurd if it is questioning the underlying events, since by Paterno's own testimony McQueary told Paterno that he saw something of a sexual nature. And Paterno testified that he conveyed "substantially the same information" to Curley:

Mr. Paterno: Well, I don’t know what you would call it. Obviously, he was doing something with the youngster.

It was a sexual nature. I’m not sure exactly what it was.

I didn’t push Mike to describe exactly what it was because he was very upset. Obviously, I was in a little bit of a dilemma since Mr. Sandusky was not working for me anymore.

So I told — I didn’t go any further than that except I knew Mike was upset and I knew some kind of inappropriate action was being taken by Jerry Sandusky with a youngster.

Q: Did Mike McQueary tell you where he had seen this inappropriate conduct take place?

Mr. Paterno: In the shower.

...

Q: To whom or with whom did you share the information that McQueary had given you?

Mr. Paterno: I talked to my immediate boss, our athletic director.

Q: What is that person’s name?

Mr. Paterno: Tim Curley.

Q: How did you contact Mr. Curley?

Mr. Paterno: I believe I did it by phone. As I recall, I called him and I said, hey, we got a problem, and I explained the problem to him.

Q: Was the information that you passed along substantially the same information that Mr. McQueary had given you?

Mr. Paterno: Yes.

   464. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4215009)
I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didn’t want to interfere with their weekends.


I would hope this goes without saying, but if I ever employ anybody reading this you can feel free to interrupt my Saturday under these circumstances.
   465. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4215026)
I haven't read the book and I am inclined to cut Posnanski more slack than others here, but the tone of that last exchange with Paterno is all wrong.

I told him that I thought he should have done more when he was told about Jerry Sandusky 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."


This makes it sound like Paterno did what would be expected of an ordinary man, but failed to measure up to the higher bar expected of a great man like Joe Paterno. That has it backwards, though. Paterno *didn't* do what we would expect of any decent man in that situation, he failed to measure up to a rather low bar and, if you agree with the conclusions of the Freeh report, he committed an actively evil act by intervening and convincing Curley not to report the allegations to the police. There is no "Right or Wrong" to debate here, it is absolutely "Right" for people to have expected more out of Joe Paterno or any other person in that situation.

Maybe Pos was just being nice to a dying man, but if that's the case he should have said so in the book.
   466. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4215036)
#465, that paragraph reeks of Pos (1) pretending he was asking Paterno hard-hitting questions, and (2) providing cover for Paterno.

How could you be putting forth a good faith effort to get serious answers from Paterno by asking that question, and presumably only that question, and (presumably) being satisfied with the reply?

How could you be writing a biography about Paterno and yet believe that such questions would not be crucial to the biography?

Posnanski said yesterday that the purpose of his book was not to write a Sandusky book. But how could you write a biography of Paterno while not being all that interested in covering the Sandusky material?

Paterno was probably the most sought after interview in America at the time Posnanski had access to him. And Posnanski's approach was, shrug, I'm not really interested in asking him about this; I'm writing a biography of the man, but these questions aren't really within the scope of the book I want to write. Huh?
   467. asinwreck Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4215073)
Barra's review certainly relies on close reading of the text. It gives me pause, and the treatment of Vicky Triponey certainly reads like an abuse of Posnanski's power framing the narrative.

Joe Paterno testified to the grand jury in January of 2011. When was he summoned? I wonder if he gave Posnanski the greenlight for the book knowing that this was coming around the bend and he would want a professional telling his side of the story. If that is the case, the "senile old man" defense is even less convincing.
   468. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:45 PM (#4215117)
Obviously, I was in a little bit of a dilemma since Mr. Sandusky was not working for me anymore.


Why?
   469. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:50 PM (#4215126)
Joe Paterno testified to the grand jury in January of 2011. When was he summoned?


The university received subpoenas from the AG for personnel records and correspondence regarding Sandusky in January 2010.

If Paterno didn't know about those subpoenas (nearly impossible, and wouldn't Paterno have had to be involved in complying with the subpoenas anyway?), then his next chance, at least according to the evidence Freeh uncovered, was September 2010, when a newspaper contacted Spanier to ask about an investigation of Sandusky.

If Paterno didn't know about the newspaper's contact with Spanier (plausible, I suppose), then he certainly was aware in the December 2010/January 2011 timeframe, when PSU's counsel met with Schultz, Paterno, and Curley to discuss supoenas for them. Paterno actually testified January 12, 2011.

   470. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4215129)
Nor does that remotely cause a "dilemma." If Sandusky's no longer in Paterno's chain of command, that makes the "guidelines" even less relevant to the situation. It's just a private citizen child rapist raping in Paterno's locker room. Sandusky's simply a common criminal with no connection to Paterno and a tangential one to the university.

Paterno was just making #### up, pure and simple, and was in full possession of his faculties when he was doing it.
   471. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4215159)
Or was it a private citizen whose use of the locker room Paterno had signed off on. That would be more of a dilemma.
   472. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4215174)
Joe Paterno testified to the grand jury in January of 2011. When was he summoned? I wonder if he gave Posnanski the greenlight for the book knowing that this was coming around the bend and he would want a professional telling his side of the story. If that is the case, the "senile old man" defense is even less convincing.

It was during this same timeframe that he started working with the university to grant himself a large payout when he retired, presumably at the end of the 2011 season.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/14/sports/ncaafootball/joe-paterno-got-richer-contract-amid-jerry-sandusky-inquiry.html?pagewanted=all

That same month (January 2011), Mr. Paterno, the football coach at Penn State, began negotiating with his superiors to amend his contract, with the timing something of a surprise because the contract was not set to expire until the end of the 2011 season, according to university documents and people with knowledge of the discussions. By August, Mr. Paterno and the university’s president, both of whom were by then embroiled in the Sandusky investigation, had reached an agreement.
   473. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4215183)
And the same time period in which he appeared at Big Ten preseason media day (caught live by this Big Ten fan) and deflected questions about his expiring contract with bromides -- "Aw, shucks, that stuff isn't important," "Aw shucks, that stuff will take care of itself," "Aw shucks, I don't care about that stuff, that's not why I do this," and the like. He must have parried in that vein at least a half-dozen times.

In fact he had, several months earlier, shaken the university down for a golden parachute knowing what was coming. The whole "aw shucks" routine was a pure lie.
   474. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4215187)

Or was it a private citizen whose use of the locker room Paterno had signed off on. That would be more of a dilemma.

Not sure how that makes it more of a dilemma - if anything that makes Paterno's moral obligation even clearer.
   475. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4215204)
Re the guidelines thing.

Once you find out that a kid has been sexually assaulted, you call in the authorities and ask questions about "procedure" later. It is that simple. What were the "guidelines" supposed to say? "Don't report an eye witness account of child sex abuse to the state authorities."? Seriously now.

And we know now that the "guidelines" thing was just a trick anyway, because what happened? He "reported" it to his nominal superior, a day later, and then actively worked to stop his nominal superiors from reporting it to the authorities. Where in the guidelines does it say to do that?

As Sandusky wasn't an employee and didn't work for Paterno anymore, that made it even more clear. As if it needed to be. And even if he was an employee, anyone with any moral fiber at all would have said, to hell with the guidelines, I am picking up the phone right now to report this to police. Had McQueary reported that he saw Sandusky stab his wife in the locker room, would Paterno have consulted "guidelines"?

What was the reason to consult the guidelines here? Paterno or the school was going to be sued because Paterno reported an eye witness account of child sex abuse to the police? In what universe?
   476. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:57 PM (#4215210)
If Sandusky raped a woman in the showers, the cops would have been called immediately. Guidelines wouldn't have even been considered.

Also, I get really tired of hearing it called "child abuse". That sounds like you are making them mow the lawn when its really hot out. How about rape or at least sexual assault.


   477. Steve Treder Posted: August 22, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4215215)
Also, I get really tired of hearing it called "child abuse". That sounds like you are making them mow the lawn when its really hot out. How about rape or at least sexual assault.

Buzz Bissinger made a point of saying we shouldn't even be that polite, but instead call it buttf@cking a child, because that's what it was, and perhaps that will wake some people up to how profoundly depraved it was.
   478. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4215220)

Once you find out that a kid has been sexually assaulted, you call in the authorities and ask questions about protocol later. It is that simple. What were the "guidelines" supposed to say? "Don't report an eye witness account of child sex abuse to the state authorities." ? Seriously now.


Yup. 100%

It's like the BS Colleges do when they try to handle alleged sexual assaults internally (to prevent bad publicity of course).

If you hear that a violent felony has possibly been committed, the only proper response is to call the police immediately.
   479. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4215221)
Short answer, Ray: I'm checking the guidelines because offhand I don't know who the people are that I'm supposed to contact. In an organiation that size there are people whose job desription and training include knowing the laws, the chains of notification, etc. I can either sit down, shaken, I would presume, and try to make it up from scratch, or I could go to the procedures, or I could call someone directly above me who would almost certainly say, "OK, let's see what we're supposed to do."

Why? Because I don't want later to be n a situation where I'm asked, "Why the #### didn't you notify X." Not to lose the problem, but to deal properly with it.
   480. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4215226)
Yeah, I'm 75% through the book now and after devoting the first quarter of the book to a mostly unflattering depiction of Paterno's upbringing and career ("Joe was far from perfect..."), the rest of the book is a vigorous application of the "Joe didn't know what Sandusky was doing, if he'd known he would have stopped it immediately" defense ("...but he didn't cover up for a child rapist, folks"). Poz points out on every other page that Joe didn't know because he didn't want to know and went out of his way, the last 15 years or so of his life, to avoid knowing anything that didn't relate directly to the next game, and leaves it to the reader to make the moral inference. But nevertheless the book is definitely advocating the Joe Didn't Know defense. Posnanski spends much effort on driving home the argument that Paterno hated Sandusky, had hated him since the 1970s, didn't want him in the building after Sandusky "retired", and therefore would instantly have called the cops and had his ass busted if he'd thought he had any reason to.

Based on what I know of Joe Posnanski, I have no doubt he sincerely believes it. The writing is tremendous as usual, but the book falls well short of convincing me.
   481. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4215228)
Once you find out that a kid has been sexually assaulted, you call in the authorities and ask questions about "procedure" later. It is that simple. What were the "guidelines" supposed to say? "Don't report an eye witness account of child sex abuse to the state authorities."? Seriously now.

Yep. Here's how the guidelines fit in: You turn to them to see what bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo you may have to undertake in addition to taking the self-evident step of reporting to the police the serious and depraved felony reported directly to you by the man whom you coached, mentored, and hired.

   482. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4215229)

If you hear that a violent felony has possibly been committed, the only proper response is to call the police immediately.


Because we know the cops never #### anything up
   483. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4215233)
Because we know the cops never #### anything up


You know, for all that makes the news, every defense attorney I've ever met has conceded that the cops get it right about 99% of the time. I probably trust them more than most bureaucrats.
   484. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4215236)
Also, I get really tired of hearing it called "child abuse". That sounds like you are making them mow the lawn when its really hot out. How about rape or at least sexual assault.

Buzz Bissinger made a point of saying we shouldn't even be that polite, but instead call it buttf@cking a child, because that's what it was, and perhaps that will wake some people up to how profoundly depraved it was.


I agree with the sentiment (Joe Sheehan shares Bissinger's view), but I've been choosing my words carefully to purposely avoid the word "rape" when discussing what McQueary told Paterno on that first day. Or even what Paterno subsequently knew. Believe it or not, I am trying to be as fair as I can to Paterno by calling it "child sex abuse." Because there is a good faith argument to be made that McQueary did not convey to Paterno on that first day that, literally, anal rape had occurred

This is not an argument that "Paterno didn't understand what sodomy was," but, rather, is an argument that McQueary perhaps did not convey to Paterno that anal rape was occurring. McQueary testified that he did try to make Paterno aware of it, but not in so many words, and Paterno testified that McQueary described an incident of a sexual nature but that Paterno didn't press him to be more graphic. (Granted that from this, if McQueary did not ultimately report "rape" to Paterno, Paterno is perhaps partly at fault.)

Some 9 or 10 days later, according to McQueary, he made it clear to Schultz and Curley that, specifically, "intercourse" is what he had observed. Did Schultz and Curley convey that to Paterno? (Spanier, for his part, claims he never knew. And he hasn't thus far been charged with anything.)

As I type this now, actually, I am still unclear what evidence we have that Paterno specifically knew at the time or in the years that followed before the lid was blown off this thing that McQueary witnessed, literally, rape. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? As everyone knows, I've not been shy in criticizing Paterno, but I have tried to be careful not to hold him accountable for more than what the evidence shows.

Boiled down: Did Paterno actually understand that McQueary witnessed "rape," and what is the evidence for this? I just scanned several relevant portions of the Freeh report and I can't see it. I mean, I've held Paterno accountable for knowing that child sex "abuse" had occurred, and I think that is plenty enough to hold Paterno in contempt, but I haven't imputed him with knowledge of "rape" because I'm not sure that would be completely fair.
   485. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4215237)
Boiled down: Did Paterno actually understand that McQueary witnessed "rape," and what is the evidence for this? I mean, I've held him accountable for knowing that child sex abuse had occurred, and I think that is plenty enough to hold Paterno in contempt, but I haven't imputed him with knowledge of "rape" because I'm not sure that would be completely fair


Does it change the dynamic? You've posted proof that Paterno got the idea "something sexual" went on. Is the difference between fondling and rape the line between calling the cops or not?

note: I'm not trying to say that you believe that to be the case, just trying to show my personal belief that the distinction is meaningless.
   486. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM (#4215238)
Posnanski spends much effort on driving home the argument that Paterno hated Sandusky, had hated him since the 1970s, didn't want him in the building after Sandusky "retired", and therefore would instantly have called the cops and had his ass busted if he'd thought he had any reason to.


Dubious premise, but completely wrong conclusion. Paterno's purported "hatred" of Sandusky renders his enabling of Sandusky all the more grotesque and inhuman -- doing the right thing would also have rid Paterno of someone he detested.
   487. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4215239)
Short answer, Ray: I'm checking the guidelines because offhand I don't know who the people are that I'm supposed to contact.


"The police."

In an organiation that size there are people whose job desription and training include knowing the laws, the chains of notification, etc. I can either sit down, shaken, I would presume, and try to make it up from scratch, or I could go to the procedures, or I could call someone directly above me who would almost certainly say, "OK, let's see what we're supposed to do."


And this is perfectly reasonable. AFTER the police are called.

Or, to be slightly less rigid: It would have been one thing had Paterno frittered with the guidelines for a couple hours before calling police, or had he called Curley and said "what are the guidelines because we need to call the police here." I mean, it wouldn't have been ideal, but I'd have given him a pass for it. But that's not what he did, and as we know he ultimately stopped them from calling the police.
   488. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4215241)
As I type this now, actually, I am still unclear what evidence we have that Paterno specifically knew at the time or in the years that followed before the lid was blown off this thing that McQueary witnessed, literally, rape. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

The state of the evidence is as you wrote. I find the difference between "rape" and conduct of a "sexual nature" between Sandusky and a child in the shower -- what McQueary's said at Sandusky's trial he'd told Paterno -- to be meaningless under the circumstances.

If Graham Spanier and Tim Curley had gone to the police and repeated even the less graphic account McQueary provided to Paterno, as they were going to before Joe Paterno stopped them, Jerry Sandusky would have been in prison no later than 2002 and would still be there.
   489. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:39 PM (#4215243)
Does it change the dynamic? You've posted proof that Paterno got the idea "something sexual" went on. Is the difference between fondling and rape the line between calling the cops or not?


No.

Again: I am commenting specifically on the issue of whether we should use the word "rape" when describing what Paterno knew.

note: I'm not trying to say that you believe that to be the case, just trying to show my personal belief that the distinction is meaningless.


I think it's important to be clear, and not to hang Paterno with knowledge he wasn't guilty of having. IF he indeed didn't have it. And as I sit here I think there's an argument that he didn't have it.

It doesn't free him from the conclusion that he acted disgustingly and beneath contempt here - a conclusion I obviously hold - but I see no reason to be unfair to the man.
   490. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:42 PM (#4215245)
The state of the evidence is as you wrote. I find the difference between "rape" and conduct of a "sexual nature" between Sandusky and a child in the shower -- what McQueary's said at Sandusky's trial he'd told Paterno -- to be meaningless under the circumstances.


If it was "merely" fondling, for example, I still hold Paterno depraved. And perhaps when Paterno heard "of a sexual nature" and saw how upset McQueary was, light should have dawned on him that all bets were off as far as what McQueary had observed, but, again, I'm trying to be fair to the record and to what the evidence shows.
   491. bigglou115 Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:48 PM (#4215247)
I think it's important to be clear, and not to hang Paterno with knowledge he wasn't guilty of having. IF he indeed didn't have it. And as I sit here I think there's an argument that he didn't have it.


You're probably right in that its important to be clear, but there's the old legal standard of known or should have known to consider as well. If he knew "something sexual" was going on I think its fair to impute on him the standard that he should have known rape was substantially likely to be happening as well. Not a perfect fit, because as has been routinely pointed out this isn't a legal matter so much as a moral one, but I'm hard pressed to believe rape didn't cross his mind and it would have crossed the mind of a reasonable person.
   492. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4215248)
SugarBear, I'm sorry, I've agreed with you generally on this issue but I think it's important to get it right and not conclude that Paterno knew that "rape" had been witnessed without having credible evidence to that fact. I'd prefer not to make the leap by inference, although if the leap isn't that wide I'll make it. And, sure, perhaps from what we know now the leap isn't that wide. I'm asking why I should reasonably conclude it, which is a different question from asking whether it makes a difference; I have agreed that Paterno is deserving of utter scorn.

I don't think anyone here would accuse me of being soft on Paterno. I'm trying to stick to making conclusions based on the evidence.
   493. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4215250)
Not a perfect fit, because as has been routinely pointed out this isn't a legal matter so much as a moral one, but I'm hard pressed to believe rape didn't cross his mind and it would have crossed the mind of a reasonable person.


This may be fair. I'm open to changing my mind on this, and interested in hearing peoples' perspectives on it.
   494. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4215257)
#465, that paragraph reeks of Pos (1) pretending he was asking Paterno hard-hitting questions, and (2) providing cover for Paterno.

CONCUR. Immensely.
   495. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4215259)

Paterno's immediate actions are less problematic for me. Obviously he should have called police as soon as he could, but if he was shocked/confused by what he had heard and conflicted about reporting allegations against a long-time colleague, and took a day or so before doing so, I could find that understandable. What's much worse is that, at the very least, after he found out Curley was not going to report it to police, he didn't do so himself and did nothing to follow up on the issue in all the months and years afterwards. And in the worst case scenario, if you agree with the Freeh report, which makes a pretty strong case, Paterno was the one responsible for the decision not to go to police.
   496. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 22, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4215274)
SugarBear, I'm sorry, I've agreed with you generally on this issue but I think it's important to get it right and not conclude that Paterno knew that "rape" had been witnessed without having credible evidence to that fact.

That isn't my conclusion. I agree with you that the state of the evidence is that Paterno was told of activity of a sexual nature, but not rape. I guess I don't see how that changes Paterno's duties and obligations.

"Coach, Jerry Sandusky was engaged in sexual conduct with a 10 year old in the shower and I saw it" vs. "Coach, Jerry Sandusky was raping a 10 year old in the shower and I saw it." I"m not seeing much light between the two, other than maybe immediate shock value. Both are unambiguously felonies and police matters, right?
   497. zenbitz Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:42 PM (#4215326)
It's actually even worse than 495. Even under the most generous interpretation of Paterno's lack of detailed knowledge of the events, or lack of understanding of the severity ("what is sodomy") HE STILL HAD TIME TO REPENT BEFORE HIS DEATH. Sandusky was convicted on _45_ counts. There were 15+ years of rumors about his behavior.

Once it all comes down on your head - and this goes for the PSU admins as well - it's time to fall on your sword and admit you made a horrible, horrible mistake.
   498. rr Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4215328)
One angle that Paterno defenders use is that Schultz oversaw the campus cops. One problem there, though, among others, is that as Poz said, "He was Joe Paterno."
   499. rr Posted: August 22, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4215334)
Another thing--there has been a lot of stuff about how Paterno didn't like Sandusky. But he still didn't drop the proverbial dime on him, and had him as DC for years and years.
   500. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4215338)
every defense attorney I've ever met has conceded that the cops get it right about 99% of the time.

"Well, Fred! doesn't concede it, so that's 98% right there."
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