Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Joe Paterno not bitter in final days
By Brian Bennett
Sportswriter Joe Posnanski moved to State College last year to write a book on Joe Paterno. He had no idea what kind of story he was getting himself into.
Posnanski interviewed Paterno and the Penn State coach's family members several times in the past month and writes for SportsIllustrated.com that Paterno showed no bitterness in his final days.
In the moments after Joe Paterno died, it became common for people to write and say that he died of a broken heart. He did not. Joe Paterno died of lung cancer and the complications it caused. He did not die a bitter or broken man.
While Posnanski writes that Paterno did not like the way he was fired by the school's board of trustees or the way he'd been portrayed in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, he did not spend much time complaining about it.
"In every life," he told me, "there have to be some shadows. Look at me. My life has been filled with sunshine. A beautiful and caring wife. Five healthy children. I got to do what I loved. How many people are that lucky?"
"... I made a lot of mistakes in my life," he said. "But I thought people could see that I tried my best to do the right things. I tried to do the right thing with Sandusky, too."
Paterno's children echoed the sentiment that Paterno was not overcome by sadness in his final days.
"My father did not have a broken heart," his daughter Mary Kay says. "His heart was too strong. It couldn't be broken."
Posnanski's book figures to be a very interesting read.