Skip to comments.My thoughts on the new "Paterno" book by Joe Posnanski (25 year photographer of the football team)
Posted on 08/25/2012 3:54:09 PM PDT by FlJoePa
I just finished the book, Paterno by Joe Posnanski. I was fortunate enough to have the back cover photograph. My Friend Joe Hermitt had the front. Between the two of us we probably photographed JoePa more than anyone.
I read over half the book on a bench in Sunset Park, not more than 100 yards from the Paterno home. Why? I am not sure why. I wanted a quiet place to read and reflect on this man that I knew all these years. This seemed like the right place. I spent many cold hours in front of his house in November. I always wondered what I wasnt seeing. What was going on in that house and how was Joe handling all of this? Now, this book has given me insight into those unanswered questions.
No matter which camp you reside in, this book will not change your mind or sway you in any direction. I am a photographer and this is the only Paterno book I have ever read. I am not a writer or a book reviewer. I am a man that spent 25 seasons (somewhere north of 200+ games) covering Penn State football from as close as you could get. I also saw Joe at many functions away from the field. My job is to show the viewer what I see. Basically, I am a paid observer. I never had much to say from this front row of history. However, as I get older I have discovered the guy behind the camera has a lot on his mind.
If you are looking for the Holy Grail answer as to why Joe did what he did or didnt do, you will not find it here. The Book did one thing for me, and that was all I was looking for. It filled in some of the blanks. We all know the core story: Brooklyn, Brown, Engle, George, Sue, Coach, Bear, champions, players, education, age. This was the hit music we heard over and over and it became lore. The book feels like the Album to those greatest hits. The songs you didnt hear when you were only listening to the hits. Now, we want to hear the album and see what the rest of the story is. I liked the album. Details I didnt know, insight into the last days of Joes life, stories I never knew. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.
Everyone will tell you Joe was a complex man. He was, no doubt. He had faults and they dont sugar coat it in the book. I saw some of these first hand. The book does not draw conclusions, it allows you to think for yourself. Make up your own mind and hopefully find peace with what you find. I did.
I have told my close friends what I am telling you now. In all the years I covered Penn State football with all the people I knew, players, coaches, reporters, photographers, workers, fans, students, and everyone else you can think of after doing this for 25 years, I was as stunned as anyone when the Sandusky story broke. I didnt hear a rumor, a whisper, a sentence, or a single word about Jerry Sandusky. Nothing. I was very close to the program and gained the trust that you only get from being there that long. I heard nothing.
The following is MY opinion on Joe Paternos role in this whole mess. The book reveals a lot of what I thought was going on. I honestly dont believe he understood or comprehended what he was told. His generation could not comprehend these horrific acts. The generation gap is too big for us to understand what he thought. His kids made him read the newspapers so he would understand what was happening. They insisted he know what was being said about him. He did with great reluctance. He had to ask his kids embarrassing questions about some of the sexual descriptions. Things you never want your kids to ask you.
After reading the Sandusky report and asking his kids about public opinion of him, and they were totally honest, he said: How could they think that? They really think that if I knew someone was hurting kids, I wouldnt stop it? Do they know me? Do they know know what my life was about? Exactly. That is exactly how I feel. He never liked Sandusky, that was known, for a very long time, by people anywhere near the program. He would never protect anyone who did that to kids. He would walk to the police station and report it, in person, if he had any idea what was going on. Thats what I think. Read what you want, believe what you want. Many times, in this book, Joe speaks to you about this. If this man was acting all his life doing everything he could the right way, turning boys into great men, and working to improve everything around him. Why would he protect someone hurting children? He wouldnt. Its that simple. To protect the program, his image? Nope, if you believe that then everything you knew about Joe Paterno was an act. If that was an act we witnessed one hell of a performance. Nope, we saw the real deal and people were so quick to sell him short. I wont.
Joe said, let the truth speak for itself. He is the only person to say he wished he had done more. How selfless is that? He passed on everything he knew, because he knew it was out of his realm of knowledge. He thought he did the right thing. He thought he took care of it. In hindsight, he wished he had done more. Yes, we all wish that now. I dont believe he had any clue to the depth of this horrific man. Sandusky fooled EVERYBODY.
The family says Joe died with peace in his heart. I believe he knew the truth will come out in time. Time the haters didnt give him. Time the Board didnt give him. Now, all we have is time. I think we owe it to him to give this time to play out. Time will tell us what we need to know, then we can decide for ourselves what makes sense. I know Joe rests in peace on that quiet hillside in Lemont. He lived a great life and we were lucky to have him for so long.
So, how do I feel about Joe Paterno? Thats easy. I miss him.
Its a shame that with so much success, Joe will be remembered for this failing. He gave many young men a lesson in character and then failed his own.
Thanks for posting this.
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The very sad thing about all this is the dam NCAA punished the community, and they PUNISHED THE KIDS for the whole debacle.
What the hell did the community and the college kids do to deserve this?
You’ll have to provide me some sort of proof that Joe “failed his own”. What exactly do you mean by that?
If anything you have to offer comes from the freeh report summary, don’t bother. It is absolute garbage.
If you want on/off the PA Ping List, please freepmail me. Thanks!
Time could tell it was worse.
>>The very sad thing about all this is the dam NCAA punished the community, and they PUNISHED THE KIDS for the whole debacle.
What the hell did the community and the college kids do to deserve this?<<
That is the same question people ask about the children of illegal aliens and other criminals. Penn State failed its responsibilities and the kids suffer.
The alternative would have been no punishment at all, since by definition, any punishment would have punished the community and the kids.
So, this guy (the photographer) was in on it too? Have you read the book? Or the quotes from it?
Oh, it could get worse - but not for Joe Paterno.
It could get worse for the b.o.t., the sitting president (who actually GAVE js those keys to the Lasch building), the second mile (what’s left of it), the various state and local agencies that continually allowed js access to kids. js was allowed to adopt 7 kids and foster dozens of others. Tell me what role Joe Paterno had in any of that?
It could also get much, much worse for the sitting governor. He is in this up to his neck and has 600,000 PSU alums that aren’t big fans right now
espn and the ever reliable louis freeh have already written Joe Paterno’s narrative. And way too many people on this forum have gobbled it up as if it was biscuits and gravy.
We are never going to know for sure what Paterno was thinking — why he did or didn't do the things he is accused of. Yet, that hasn't stopped so many people from rushing to judgment. I thought in this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Paterno was tried and convicted in the media based on a highly suspect report with little if any tangible evidence. Has America sunk so low that we have thrown out the Constitution just to mount a lot of heads on a wall?
The reason Sandusky got away with it for so long is simple - he got others in on it. He participated in a ring of powerful people who passed the kids around. And in that way, he set up his insurance policy - not just against being caught, but against even being stopped.
Did JoePa know? Probably. He ran Penn State, and he couldn’t get rid of an assistant coach he didn’t like? Bull. He was TOLD he couldn’t get rid of Sandusky, when Sandusky sought help from his powerful “friends.” Sandusky figured he’d eventually be head coach. So, JoePa knew, but he also was trapped, like everyone else who knew.
Sandusky’s Ring of powerful people is what needs to be investigated. ALL of those creatures need to be found, dug up and exposed.
Problem is, who are THEY connected to? How deep does this rabbit hole go?
Especially if it involves rituals?
Looked at that way, it’s amazing Sandusky was exposed at all.
I didn’t read the book but I looked at the picture.
So Joe Paterno was involved in a child sex ring? Is that what you’re telling me? Is that what you believe? WTF is wrong with you?
“his generation did not comprehend”
A friend of mine and I were discussing Paterno situation. Then we started talking about our own fathers. Both of the Paterno generation. We both agreed that neither of them would have probably understood the gravity of the situation. Sure there were “queers”, but child abuse was not discussed. No doubt it happened...but not discussed.
I’m sure not excusing Paterno on any level, but this does make some sense to me. He died before facing charges and was stripped posthumously of his titles. Does it help all those young men? No, but what punishment is left for a dead man?
Sandusky was caught several times by Penn State employees. The administration knew & lied to a grand jury. Paterno knew & did nothing. His death is the only thing that kept him out of the witness or defendant chair.
The author is rationalizing 25 wasted years of photographing an enabler of a child molester. And that planned coffee table book of Paterno Football Pics is down the drain.
I am so glad that Joe did not know anything about the sodomy in the shower. His statue should go back up.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, so you may be correct. But do you have any evidence ?
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