I think Joe Paterno deserved what he got for doing the absolute minimum to stop alleged child rapist Jerry Sandusky. And oh, by the way, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl is lobbying to have former Steelers running back Franco Harris kicked off the board of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program.
Now, if you haven’t been following this story, you might have read those last two sentences and thought, ‘Those things have nothing to do with one another.’ And, well, you’d sort of be right. But the reason Ravenstahl wants Harris off the board is related to the Penn State scandal. Sort of.
You see, Harris is an alleged child rapist. Wait, no, that’s not right. Let me try that again. Harris made some comments in support of an alleged child rapist. Wait, that’s not right, either. Okay, here goes: Harris made some comments in support of Paterno, who reported an alleged child rapist to his superiors, but not to the police.
I think Harris was wrong to have done that. Paterno doesn’t deserve to be defended. But I think loyalty to Paterno can fall within the bounds of good intention, especially considering that Paterno was once Harris’ coach and that Harris himself played absolutely no role (that we know of, of course) in enabling Sandusky. I find it hard to fault Harris too much for taking the side of a man who coached him decades ago. Someone like Ravenstahl should have better things to do than worry about this stuff. It’s also hard to imagine he’s going to score too many political points attacking a local hero for having the nerve to be wrong in supporting an old friend.