Respected sportswriter Joe Posnanski's book on Joe Paterno, "Paterno," has come out – and based on the reviews, Posnanski may have cost himself a good deal of that respect. Scathing comments include
- "a one-source story, a writer’s attempt to prop up the Potemkin village of his subject’s life" (Stefan Fatsis, Slate)
- "It's not enough to say that Posnanski does not do well relating the facts of the Sandusky case and Paterno's role in it. The truth is that he doesn't really try" (Allen Barra, The Atlantic)
- "'Paterno' is mostly, though, the story of the coach as confidence man, and what you think of it will probably depend on how badly you think the author was conned" (Tim Marchman, Wall Street Journal)
- Instead of confronting the horrifying truth about his subject matter, Posnanski attempts an amazingly clumsy whitewash of the facts. (Paul Campos, Salon)
- There is virtually no scene-setting or description of the quoted sources’ emotions and body language when speaking about Paterno. Sources who say nothing of consequence are granted anonymity. There isn’t one piece of insight into what Paterno actually did as a coach in his latter years. … Seriously, most puddles are deeper than 'Paterno.'" (Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports)
So, if you'd hoped you'd find a balanced take or deep investigation in "Paterno," it looks like those things aren't on the menu. Posnanski isn't the only esteemed writer who's made some questionable choices vis-à-vis addressing the Penn State situation; Bill James, the father of sabermetrics and an underrated wordsmith, waded into the fray last month with the assertion that Joe Paterno did everything he was supposed to, and that the media was responsible for the cover-up of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. These comments were deemed sufficiently off-point that his bosses at the Boston Red Sox told him to shut it.
I've read reams of both men's writing, and I continue to respect their past work. But their subplots in the Penn State story have not reflected well on either of them.
And speaking, in a less serious and ugly way, of not reflecting well…Deadspin has a snapshot of what it's calling "the worst Steelers tattoo in the world." And I don't disagree with that assessment. What better time, then, to revisit Bleacher Report's slideshow of the worst NFL tats ever?
And you'll be relieved to hear that Kobe Bryant has settled a seven-year lawsuit brought by a fan – who has since passed away, leaving his mom in the role of lead plaintiff – alleging that Bryant assaulted him with a forearm to the chest during a 2005 Lakers game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The courts had rejected the suit's claim of infliction of emotional distress, but allowed the assault-and-battery charge to stand; it sounds absurd, and Bryant probably agreed, but didn't want to deal with jury selection et al., so he chose to settle with the fan's estate late last week.
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