To the surprise of nobody, the new HBO movie “Paterno” ruffled quite a few feathers.
According to a report from FOX43, nearly 300 former Penn State football lettermen signed a statement criticizing the film after it premiered Saturday night on HBO.
Here was the statement:
As Penn State Lettermen, there was never a question that one day we would see a movie made about Joe Paterno, one that showcased his impact on the game of football, on Penn State University and, on the thousands of men he coached and mentored over his 61-year career.
Sadly — and wrongly — HBO’s ‘Paterno’ is not that movie.
It has been described by producer Barry Levinson as a work of fiction, which is likely the only truth in the entire project. Incredibly, in making the movie, Levinson and his team never consulted a single person who was close to, worked with, or was coached by Joe Paterno. Not even family members or us, who undoubtedly knew him best of all.
As a result, this uninformed depiction of Joe fails in every manner about the man we knew and loved. Deviously using ‘fiction’ as his shield, Levinson takes shameless liberties about the Sandusky scandal and Joe’s knowledge of it that would certainly be proven libelous if Joe were alive today.
As a coach, educator and philanthropist, Joe Paterno was a positive force in our lives, molding us not only to win games, but to win in life. His character, integrity, and moral compass will live on in us long after the ill-gotten ratings of this reckless attempt at entertainment fades away.
To read a full list of the signees, see the original report from FOX43.
The movie, which had Al Pacino playing the role of the former Penn State coach, received some less-than-stellar reviews.
The New York Times claimed that director Barry Levinson “wasn’t entirely successful turning it into a drama.” Variety wrote that “the end result is a film that clumsily tries to sympathize with Paterno instead of the young boys he chose to ignore until it was too late.”
While reviewers and former lettermen offered their candid thoughts, don’t expect anyone currently Penn State to comment on the film.