Franco Harris argues sanctions against Penn State are unfair
“I thought it didn’t make any sense at all,” Harris said. “I still don’t understand it. Why would they accept such sanctions. And more than that, why would the NCAA get involved with a situation that really is criminal and does not involve the athletic department.”
Harris was very critical of the Board of Trustees at Penn State. “We need people to fight for Penn State. The inactions of our board speaks loud and clear about how they don’t work to protect Penn State.
Harris talked about the dysfunction within leadership at Penn State. “There are some power-brokers within the board who set the tone and make the decision,” Harris said. Harris said, for example, president Rodney Erickson said he’d get input from students and alumni on taking down Joe Paterno’s statue, and then took it down a couple of days later.
Harris talked about his overall goal of speaking out. “The whole thing we’re trying to do here is clear the name of Joe Paterno, the football program and the athletic department,” Harris said. “For people to think that they tried to cover up and blatantly let soemthing like this continue for 10 years, they are so far mistaken. … The Freeh report shows there was no cover-up. People were engaged with this.”
Harris said that in 1998, several experts in the field couldn’t prove their was assault by Jerry Sandusky. Harris said that looking back, you could see their was grooming, but in ’98 it wasn’t clear what was going on.
Harris also said that Sandusky in a way set up the people around him. He was always with kids, so there were no red flags when people saw him with kids. “Not only did he groom kids,” Harris said. “He ultimately groomed a community.”