No sports book this year has garnered any publicity like that of Joe Posnanski’s “Paterno” (That’s what everyone is calling it, though no one knows what the final title will be).
Last Friday on NBC Sports Hardballtalk.com, Craig Calcaterra reported that “Posnanski’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, moved the publication up nearly a year in response to the story blowing up ” — “the story,” of course, being the Sandusky scandal and trail – “and it comes out in August 2012 instead of June 2013.” S&S reportedly paid Posnanski $750,000, and he moved near the Penn State campus in order to be near his subject.
In Posnanski’s proposal, which for some strange reason was leaked and is making the rounds on several websites, the book is supposed to “Tell the remarkable story about a man who could have been anything but decided that the best way he could help change America was one college football player at a time.”
That pretty much tells you what Posnanski thought about his subject.
What isn’t clear is exactly how Posnanski intends to deal with the
growing number of unpleasant revelations about Paterno, particularly the
ones in last week’s Freeh Rpeort concerning his lack of moral authority
and action trying to stop Jerry Sandusky from molesting boys.
Serious blips began to appear first when Posnanski referred to
Paterno as a “scapegoat” in the Sandusky affair, then more recently, in
his January obit for Paterno in Sports Illustrated, he wrote of the Sandusky scandal as “a single, hazy event” (Exactly what was hazy about it?).
A few weeks ago, Posnanski’s former employer, Sports Illustrated (he now writes for Sports on Earth, a USA Today-MLB joint venture) said no to running an excerpt from the book. According to Deadspin, GQ has picked up the option. (It isn’t clear whether the excerpt sent to SI dealt with the Sandusky case.)
But someone connected with Paterno isn’t putting out the correct information. Desdspin’s John
Kolbin reported that “sources at the magazine [SI] who read Paterno in
galleys say the biography is short on fresh details about the Jerry
Sanduskey scandal. And Posnanski apparently didn’t wring much out of
Paterno that wasn’t already on the record, our sources say.”
Kolbin also wrote that “The biography was in galleys before the Freeh
report had dropped … our SI sources say they got a copy in early June.”
I have a pretty good relationship with Simon & Schuster as far as
getting advance copies of books. In May I was told “Paterno is an
embargoed book, so we won’t have copies until the end of August.” I
found the term “embargoed book” intriguing, but inquired no further.
When I saw the Deadspin article, I inquired again and was told “There are no galleys for this book despite reports.”
Somebody is not telling the truth here, or at least not the full
story. I’m not pointing any fingers, but Simon & Schuster has always
been square with me.