Following is an exchange from Joe Paterno’s November 2, 2004 press conference. The question came from a teleconference participant, later identified as Bob Flounders of the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Do you think you deserve to be back if the team doesn’t show improvement over the last three games?
You write your own story. [emotional pause] I don’t really appreciate that question, to be honest with you. After 55 years, to have somebody tell me that, I’m not gonna—I don’t appreciate it.
This exchange was recorded and replayed on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption on November 2. However, it would seem that the version that was posted on the official PSU Sports site was sanitized. Following is what was published there.
With your record at 2-6, what is your definition of significant progress for this team over the last three games? If the team doesnâ€™t meet it, will you be back in 2005 and do you think you deserve to be back?
I think we are playing pretty good football. We didnâ€™t do some things Saturday that I hoped we would have done. I went into the game and told the kids we had to at least be tied in the kicking game. I thought our defense would play well and they did. We, obviously, had a breakdown in the kicking game that wasnâ€™t good; not only in the sense of the punt return, but the field position, the kickoff return and then the power kick that was stymied. I said the offense canâ€™t lose the game and, there again, we threw the interception that gave them the game. We have played Ohio State twice out there recently and the last two years we have played out there they have had one offensive touchdown against us. That was the one they scored Saturday. I am more concerned with the attitude and those kinds of things. We are getting better. We are playing good people. We are not a great football team. I am very optimistic.
These versions are clearly and significantly different. Is the sports information office now managing negative Paterno spin so heavily that they’re misrepresenting the actual words spoken at press conferences? Or did I miss something? What do you all think?