In Defense of Joe Paterno

Franco Harris being ignorant:


"I feel that the board made a bad decision in letting Joe Paterno go," said Harris, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "I'm very disappointed in their decision. I thought they showed no courage, not to back someone who really needed it at the time. They were saying the football program under Joe was at fault. 

"They really wouldn't give a reason. They're linking the football program to the scandal and, possibly, the cover up. That's very disturbing to me. ... I think there should be no connection to the football program, only in the case that it happened at the football building with an ex-coach. I'm still trying to find out who gave him access to the building, who signed that contract." 

 Harris also was critical of state police commissioner Frank Noonan for suggesting that Paterno had a "moral obligation" to report Sandusky had sexually assaulted a boy in the showers at the Lasch Building to the police once informed by an eyewitness, a 28-year-old graduate assistant coach later identified as current Penn State wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Mike McQueary. 

"When I heard that, it blew my mind," Harris said. "Why would they bring the moral into the legal? Now, everyone gets to interpret in their own way. That's what really bothers me: Joe did what was right for him to do. He forwarded the information to his superiors. That's the legal procedure at Penn State." 

Mike Krzyzweski being more vague, but nearly as ignorant:

"Well, I think, unless you're there, it's tough to comment about everything,'' Krzyzewski said. "I just feel badly for him and whatever he is responsible for, it'll come out and hopefully it'll come out from him. 

"I think one thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno's 84 years old. I'm not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he's been involved in both football-wise and socially, have been immense changes and how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different. 

"But as we judge, remember that there's just a lot there. There's a lot,lot there. I think he's a great man and it's a horrific situation."

Words fail.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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