Joe Paterno’s final season began with wins—lots of them—and for a while it seemed as if he might retire at the top of his sport, an unblemished icon. It ended with TV cameras surrounding his house, a dying old man at his kitchen table writing a forced letter of resignation—and leaving the rest of us to wonder if we ever really knew Joe Pa at all. Our exclusive excerpt from a new biography:
“Dad,” he asked his father again, “did you know anything about Sandusky?”
“Other than the thing Mike told me, no,” Joe answered.
“Nothing? No rumors? The coaches never talked about it?”
“No. I don’t listen to rumors. Nothing.”
“Dad, this is really important. If there is anything you heard…”
“I didn’t hear anything, why are you badgering me? What do I know about Jerry Sandusky? I’ve got Nebraska to think about, I can’t worry about this.” Nebraska was the next game.
“I had to do everything I could to not cry right then,” Scott recalled.