Hearne: Former Star Columnist Posnanski Still Giving ‘Silent Treatment” on Paterno

The silence is deafening…

It’s hard to imagine being in a more awkward position than the one former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski finds himself in today. Then again, worse things could happen. After all, Posnanski banked a reported $750,000 writing fee for his upcoming book about fallen Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

But what began as a picture perfect Posnanski blowjob about a beloved sports icon – something Joe excells at – has taken nasty turn after nasty turn since the Penn State child abuse sex scandal broke last year.

It took an even nastier turn today with the release of a scathing report nailing Paterno for particpating – and possiblly spearheading – a coverup for convicted former right hand man Jerry Sandusky.

“The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized,” said Louis J. Freeh, the former judge and F.B.I. director  who oversaw the investigation.

"Freeh’s investigation which took seven months and involved more than 400 interviews and the review of more than 3.5 million documents — accuses Paterno, the university’s former president and others of deliberately hiding facts about Sandusky’s sexually predatory behavior over the years," the New York Times reports.

"The facts are the facts," Freeh said of Paterno. "He was an integral part of the act to conceal."

Paterno could have put a halt to Sandusky’s abuse of children "if he so wished," Freeh added.

But back to Posnanski…

Make no mistake, any number of hard hitting journalists would give their eye teeth to change places with JoePo. Unfortunately, on paper Posnanski is practically the worst person imaginable to be in the position he’s in.

That’s because Joe’s forged an entire career of delivering the sports news sunnyside up.

Which of course made Posnanski a perfect fit for a planned fluff piece about Paterno which was what the book started out to be. And that undoubtedly was a major factor in Posnanski’s selection by Paterno to write his story. All of which resulted in Posnanski getting incredibe access to Paterno during the months leading up to the scandal breaking, and to whatever extent immediately afterwards.

The $64 million question being, can or will Posnanski deliver the hard edged goods?

Because at this stage of the game, who wants to read about what a great guy Paterno was and how he won all those football games while sitting on his hands for 14 years and allowing Sandusky to abuse however many kids?

Earlier today the president of Nike, Mark Parker announced that the company will change the name of the Joe Paterno Child Development Center child care facility at Nike’s headquarters. 

”It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes,” Parker said.

As a footnote, Nike’s founder defended Paterno at the coach’s memorial service earlier this year.

So it’s basically a case now of last one out turnoff the lights. No way Posnanski can serve up an attaboy at this stage of the game.

However Posnanski’s remained mostly silent on the matter, turning out tweets like "Kansas City here I come" and about Buck O’Neil, Andy Griffith and which KC Barbecue joints to eat at.

Oh and a June 30th plug for the Paterno book; ”Will not comment re: Paterno because I don’t think it’s my place now. But I will say that all of this and more is in the book."

Really, Joe? We can only hope.

Not that former fellow Star sports scribe Jason Whitlock could resist taking a dig at his old stablemate:

"What time today will Simon & Schuster announce a delay in publishing of Joe Pos’ book, "One Hazy Moment"? closest prediction wins The Wire," Whitlock sniped.

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18 Responses to Hearne: Former Star Columnist Posnanski Still Giving ‘Silent Treatment” on Paterno

  1. the dude says:

    Like I said before, this one is
    dead in the water like when Amarillo Slim’s bio was after it came out he had relations with his 13 year old granddaughter.
    Hopefully JoePo didn’t spend any of that advance money.

  2. smartman says:

    Po JoPo
    The release of info today showing that JoPa knew about Jerry back in 1998 makes the book DOA. I hear that Harlequin is hiring.

  3. chuck says:

    I do not know for sure, who Jo is beholdin to for the cash,
    but, the release of negative info on Joe Paterno, should, at least in my pea brain, in no way stop or inhibit the publication of this biography.

    If we are all feeling sorry for Joe Poz, because he has to re write, and re direct some of his thoughts with regard to the research in a pejorative as opposed to obsequious manner, gimme a fuckin break, the guy writes for a living.

    The research is done, and what was going to be, in my opinion, a modestly recieved book on fuckin football, can now become a lapidary written in stone with the tears of children, indictment and expose for corruption and the failings of so called “Sports Heroes” who when faced with a black and white good and evil situation, succumbed to the pursuit of greed, power and status over the bent backs of those same little children.

    This effort, should, as opposed to giving Joe Poz nightmares, be the high water mark of his career.

    You couldn’t get a better break than this if you are an author.

    It is fuckin cheese, right down the middle of the plate.

  4. chuck says:

    Ya know what…,
    if the fuckin douchnozzel is so traumatized by the facts of this case and the lead feet his hero is now sporting in hell, gimme the fuckin research and I will have all of America puking their collective guts into their crotches as they imagine the Hieronymus Bosch painting that was Penn State.

    I’ll have it to ya in 30 days.

  5. rick says:

    maybe it wasn’t suppose
    Maybe it wasn’t suppose to be funny but the use of the term blow job in the story was pretty funny and ironic considering the situation. Also if I was your editor you would lose points for hiss story instead of his but not the spelling police.

  6. Hearne says:

    Chuck is right…
    It would be a dream come true for most writers but it’s a huge departure for Posnanski. There’s no doubt he can do it. But will he? Or will he soft peddle it?
    Since the book was basically done or all but done and since it’s been a breaking news story for seven months, it won’t be an easy transition. If all joe does is recouch it and then retain all the sports minutiae, that would be disappointing. It’s just hard to imagine him turning out the blistering tell all that needs to be told.

  7. Orphan of the Road says:

    It could happen
    Back in the 60s, James Michener’s writing was widely praised but critics were skeptical he could write any prose which wasn’t puff.

    The he went back to his alma mater and wrote a scathing report on the Kent State shootings. It didn’t change his general approach to writing but it proved he could do better.

    Maybe Joe will give back the advance and do his own What Happened book.

    Maybe Glazer will become a Shaker too.

  8. Rick Nichols says:

    To begin with, either way, this is just one more book that America really doesn’t need. My advice to Joe Posnanski – go find someone we know little or nothing about to write about but whose story is definitely well worth telling. They’re out there, believe me. If the book chooses to look the other way and not get into the whole Sandusky affair, well, these put ’em on a pedestal and sing “Alleluia” books are a dime a dozen, and if it deals with this sad mess in Happy Valley, it’ll only feed into this country’s seemingly insatiable appetite for kiss-and-tell, he said/she said material. But Joe’s a big boy and is being paid handsomely to deliver here, so I’m sure he’ll figure out a way to accommodate at least a majority of his would-be readers. Me? I’ll just wait for the movie to come out.

  9. paulwilsonkc says:

    I watched the interview with his son last night….
    …and it was a disgrace. The son defended and defended. Everything taken out of context, you’d have to read the whole report, his dad knew NOTHING. I’ve made it clear I’m a sports agnostic, barely know the season, just happens to be a good deal of them are my clients, but from a moral point of view, the statue should come down, the kids should be released to go elsewhere without penalty and the team should take a year or two off.

    NO sports program, person, coach, image is worth what those young kids will have to grow up under. NOTHING is worth that and to think the VP of the University said that NOT reporting it and just “talking” to Sandusky about it was the “HUMANE” thing to do, means he should be in the same hell. Worse yet, NO ONE EVER talked to him, it seems.

    Football and winning was more important than the future of those boys. Where did they get their values? And in the end, Sandusky retires with an unprecidented package of salary and benefits.

  10. rkcal says:

    time for a re-do
    I am a life-long sports fan, but I like to think I have the blinders off in terms of its negative aspects. It has been increasingly difficult to support college athletics, and by that I mean the big two: football and men’s basketball. As far as I know, the U.S. is the only country that entwines higher education with what amounts to a farm system for the production of professional athletes. Let’s just call it what it is and separate it from universities. Although the Penn State scandal is jaw-dropping in its degree of moral failing, let’s not kid ourselves that moral concessions by adults to the detriment of young people are not going on every day on every major university campus. Won’t happen, but I wish we had the strength to at least separate this system from institutions whose main goal should be the education and edification of young people. Ok, now back to reality…….

  11. mike says:

    While I agree with you, I felt a little bit sorry for Paterno’s son. He is in denial about what his dad knew about Sandusky. However, it would be a hard thing to accept something like that about your father, especially if he was admired (until recently) as his father was. I think most of us would have a hard time facing up to something like that. Denial is part of the grieving process.

  12. Orphan of the Road says:

    You are in good company with your thoughts.


    While Penn States case may be the worst case scenario for college athletics, it is how college football & basketball operate. It is time to take a long, hard examination of how big time athletic programs have become win-at-all-costs.

    The most telling tale of JoPa’s failure before this tragedy was covered in the media. No one blinked as the charade of building character reached a most horrific pinnacle.

    Tony Bill was a QB. Before he got to PSU he had a drinking problem. He would drink a six-pack in the shower after every practice. He was out of control on campus. Yet JoPa stood by him, ignoring what was going on right in front of his eyes. Then one day Tony could no longer perform because of his drinking. At that point Joe kicked him off the team.

    The football team was exempt from any supervision or punishment from the university. They ignored The Clery Act and refused to report and track on-campus crime.

    “In a news conference after the release of his report, Freeh said he was struck by the silence of Penn State’s janitors.

    “They were afraid to take on the football program. They said the university would circle around it,” he said. “If that’s the culture at the bottom, then God help the culture at the top.”‘ – Philadelphia Inquirer story.

  13. paulwilsonkc says:

    @ Orphan/Mike
    The most jaw dropping part was the emails they read from the executive cabinet at Penn!! The back and forth about police, no police, lets just talk to him about it…. and when the VP said he thought just “talking to Sandusky about it” was the most HUMANE, I think we all know what “humane” meant and who the term was directed at; everyone BUT Sandusky.

    I think HUMANE meant, the endowment will keep growing, WE will all keep our jobs, the football program will be unphased, that $200K bronze statue wont have to come down, no one will ever be the wiser because we are SPORTS GODS and not even an abused child could stand the guilt of taking us down!!! THATS what, in MY pea sized brain, HUMANE really meant. Because in the end, he apparently wasn’t even TALKED to.

  14. the dude says:

    We talked about this
    at the watercooler at work here and basically came to the conclusion that the Penn State program should get SMU style nuked for 10 years, done, no footbal program at all. But, the longer I think about it the more I see that this could have happened at any D one football school and my thoughts lead to nuking the NCAA system totally. The pure greed and corruption at the leadership level ruined the lives of many people there and you can’t fix that with any amount of money or jail time.

    The current NCAA system must come crashing down, there is too much corruption and greed. Nuke it now so we can get back to ACTUALLY EDUCATING STUDENTS.

  15. Hearne says:

    The Man Speaks…

    Post this posting Posnanski let fly another plug on his upcoming Paterno book. But not much more than a plug. Here it is:

    “I dedicated myself to write the most honest book I could about Joe Paterno. Everything I have to say about his life is in it.”


    The unfortunate thing is that Paterno died before Joe could put him on the spot for lying about Sandusky and the coverup. So we’ll see.

    All of that said, Craig reminded me yesterday that this will probably not be the only book written on this subject and whether or not Joe can bring it, if he doesn’t someone else undoubtedly will.

    To be fair, it’s not like Posnanski signed on for a hatchet job. Short of really providing some outside of the puff piece box reporting and perspective though, one has to wonder who wants to read about what a great football coach Paterno was. It just all rings so hollow now

  16. smartman says:

    One Trick Phony
    The irony of this situation is that we’ve discovered that JoPa was not the man we all thought he was and that JoPo is not the writer most people thinks that he is. When it comes to writing Joe is a boxer, not a puncher or a fighter. He likes to dance around the ring throw some jabs and maybe some body shots to score points. Never anything too bloody or violent. To be a true champion you have to be able to do all three things well. Again, the best guy to write this book is Joe Ezsterhas, a Penn State, JoPa version of American Rhapsody.

  17. paulwilsonkc says:

    I kind of feel sorry for where Psonaski is!!
    This thing had the be put to bed long before the scandal broke, I would guess. I dont know, Ive not written a book, but I bet he was as caught off guard as anyone and it can cut both ways.

  18. Orphan of the Road says:

    Forget Ezsterhas
    Get Ed Sanders to write it. His book on the Manson tribe got to the truth of who Manson was rather than Vincent Bugliosi’s self-promoting hubris.

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