Penn State Football: Posnanski Doubts Freeh Report in Interview, Only Local Appearance Set
A week after the release of his highly anticipated book on the life of Joe Paterno, author Joe Posnanski will sit down with Bob Costas on Costas Tonight at 9 Wednesday night on the NBC Sports Network. While Posnanski doesn't give Paterno a free-pass, he does question some of the conclusions that the university-sponsored report came to.
Sports media blogger Ed Sherman posted a portion of the upcoming interview on his site, the complete excerpt can be seen here, with a selected portion printed below.
Posnanski will be making his only scheduled area appearance when he stops at Penn State at 4 p.m. Sept. 14 in room 114 of the Osmond building. Malcolm Moran the Knight chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State, will moderate the event hosted by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism and is free and open to the public.
On the Freeh Report being flawed:
Costas: “Without getting bogged down in the particulars, this is the essence of Louis Freeh, former FBI director‘s report. The conclusion: In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, Paterno, among others, but again Paterno is the figure that the public gravitates toward here, repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from authorities, the university’s trustees, the Penn State community and the public. If that is true, as Freeh concluded, it is indefensible.”
Costas: “You don’t believe that though.”
Posnanski: “I don’t believe that, no. I honestly don’t. I honestly believe that what Louis Freeh did, and I have no qualms with the Louis Freeh report, he had his goals and his role in this thing.”
Costas: “Well if you don’t think that’s true, you must have qualms with his report.”
Posnanski: “He didn’t talk to Tim Curley; he didn’t talk to Gary Schultz; he didn’t talk to Joe Paterno; he didn’t talk to Jerry Sandusky; he didn’t talk to Tom Harmon; he didn’t talk to Mike McQueary. He didn’t talk to any of the major players in this and I think, I understand why he went to those conclusions, and he did, but I believe the report is very incomplete and I do believe that as things come out, it’s going to emerge that some of the people who wrote some of the emails and so on are going to say that everything has been misspoken.”
“My feeling again is, and I’m really not looking to dodge because there are so many things that we don’t understand and hard to know, but I have many of the same facts that I reported on my own that are in the Freeh report – he jumped to conclusions that I cannot jump to. I mean, I jump to definitely there was a sense that Joe Paterno knew more than he suggested; there’s definitely a sense that Joe Paterno should have done more. But the cover up, the idea that he was actively following it, these sorts of things, I think they’re still, to me, they’re still up in the air.”
On his feelings about Paterno:
Costas: “(According to public opinion) the only acceptable take is that Paterno was fully culpable in the most extreme interpretation, and that he was, prior to that, a fraud and a hypocrite and this doesn’t just invalidate the good he may have done, it exposes that good as a fraud.”
Posnanski: “Exactly, and I think that’s what certain people wanted. That’s not the story, that’s not the book. I wasn’t going to write THAT book. Somebody else can if they want. I wrote the honest book, the book that I believe is true. I believe that I had better access than I’ll ever get again for a book and I believe that I used it as well as I could.”
Costas: “What did you come away thinking? What is your bottom line on Joe Paterno?”
Posnanski: “I think really what I come away with is what a complicated life it was and what a big life it was.”
Costas: “Do you view him as a good man who made a tragic mistake, be it of omission or commission? Or is he less of a good man because of that mistake?”
Posnanski: “It’s somewhere in the middle. That’s a tough one. I don’t want to dodge it. I think he did a lot of good in his life and I think he did make a tragic mistake.”
Costas: “At his best, was he a good man?”
Posnanski: “Definitely. At his best, I think it’s too long and too distinguished and too many achievements to think that it was worth nothing.”