Former Penn State and Steelers great Franco Harris has consistently defended former head coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal that rocked the PSU football program and State College as a whole. Friday afternoon, Harris took to the press to attack the Penn State Board of Trustees for their handling of the scandal and their dismissal of Paterno. Onward State has the details.
Harris accuses the Board of Trustees of being “the ones to hurt this university” and calls for Paterno to be allowed to coach the Nittany Lions in their first four games in 2012, presumably to make up for the four he missed after being fired in 2011. He also castigates current PSU president Rodney Erickson for using the phrase “Penn State tragedy.”
I’ve defended Harris in the past, but these are, plainly, asinine comments. Harris doesn’t see the Sandusky scandal as an institutional issue, but there’s no other way to explain the failure of a long list of Penn State employees (a list that includes Paterno) to stop an alleged child rapist. And it’s hard to hear about Harris so strongly portraying Paterno as the victim. It’s Harris’ right to express these sorts of opinions, but they’re awful opinions.
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