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.Of course, that is less than 100 games since the NCAA sanctions!
If you are looking for the Holy Grail answer as to why Joe did what he did or didn’t 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 didn’t hear when you were only listening to the hits.Too simple for the haters though. And to this day, I still can't understand how turning Sandusky in would have been bad publicity for the University, or the football program. On the contrary, they would have been heroes for bringing the monster to justice. Don't you think if Paterno/Curley/Schultz/Spanier knew what we all now know that they wouldn't have put forth the effort to stop him? Paterno and Spanier have said that in fact. Curley and Schultz will echo those sentiments during their trials probably. The motive for a cover up is highly suspect.
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 didn’t 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.
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 wouldn’t stop it? Do they know me? Do they know [sic] 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. That’s 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 wouldn’t. It’s that simple.
Pat Little concludes with:
So, how do I feel about Joe Paterno?I miss him too.
I miss him.