Franco Harris Defends Joe Paterno

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As the Penn State scandal enters its second week, more people are speaking out in support of Joe Paterno.

On Wednesday, Paterno announced he would retire after the season ended. Later that night, Penn State’s Board of Trustees dismissed the legendary coach.

The firing caused riots to break out on campus and have led to harsh words from former players.

Former Steeler great Franco Harris gave his thoughts on the matter after paying a visit to Paterno over the weekend.

“That’s the problem. People always try to connect things. Also, because of [the media], Joe keeps this alive. If it wasn’t for Joe Paterno, [the media] wouldn’t be here right now. [The media] wouldn’t be following this issue. So, Joe is bringing more attention to this issue. But, for [the media] to connect him with this and put the blame on him, really disturbs me. He did his job. People higher than him, if it went all the way to the president, that’s stuff that they should do, that they should take care of,” Harris said.

On Sunday, Gov. Tom Corbett spoke about the issue as well on several morning talk shows.

Gov. Corbett said Mike McQueary had an obligation to stop the alleged child sexual assault he witnessed and failed to do so.

“He met the minimum obligation of reporting it up, but did not, in my opinion, meet a moral obligation that all of us would have,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He also said he expects the legislature to pass tougher laws on reporting child sex abuse, possibly by the end of the year.

PHOTO GALLERY: Chaos On Campus After PSU Fires JoePa
VIDEO: Interim Coach Tom Bradley (11/10)
VIDEO: Joe Paterno Speaks After Firing (11/9)
VIDEO: Board of Trustees News Conference (11/9)
VIDEO: Watch The Attorney General’s News Conference (11/7)
STORY: PSU Community Comes Together To Cheer On Nittany Lions

WARNING Contains Graphic Material: Read The Entire Grand Jury Presentment
AG, PSP Commissioner Statements: Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
LINK: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
LINK: Penn State Nittany Lions

More from Harold Hayes
  • tiredoffootballheros!

    Dear Franco Harris:
    Joe’s error was that he looked the other way. Would you have done the same thing? You are both men who are looked upon as heros in the sporting world by many people and whom are held to a higher standard. People in that position should know that they must protect the young and live up to that hero status. I’m sure it is very sad for you to see Joe in this situation, but he was wrong and you being so vocal about this is also wrong. Your fans helped make you a very rich man Franco Harris, they may no longer support your causes…remember that!

    • Jim Denney

      Paterno did not “look the other way”. He reported what McQeary told him to two people, Curley, the AD and Shultz, who was an administrative chair and in charge of overseeing the Penn State police Dept. Paterno in effect fired Sandusky in 1999, when he called Sandusky in to his office and told him he would never be head coach. This was shortly after the 1998-99 abuse investigation conducted by the Happy Valley Police and Penn State Police. Sandusky “retired after hat in 1999, and did not work for or under Paterno after that. Did Paterno have total control of the athletic facility where Sandusky committed the 2002 assoult? Doubtful; it was shared by many groups including Sandusky’s pervert scam, the Second Mile. Paterno was not informed of any other allegations against Sandusky to my knowledge. The governor orchestrated the firing of Paterno as a CYA move; he sits on the Board of Trustees and also selects them The governor is in control, and Paterno’s firing 4 weeks before his retirement was a purely political “throw-Paterno-under-the-bus to save our own behinds” move by a group of gutless jerks.

  • Jim

    Franco, quit playing the “He did his job” card. I don’t care what policy he followed, he is morally bankrupt for allowing this to continue. With the power he has(had) at PSU, he could’ve made sure this was stopped IMMEDIATELY and that the pedophile/rapist was in jail.

    • bill

      yep! if he did his job sandusky would be in jail already and 7 kids would never have been molested.

  • outragednurse

    Franco, If you truly want the media not to draw attention to this story THEN stay out of it!!! You are a well known person who is only drawing more attention to this terrible story. Call Paterno if you want to feel sorry for him BUT stay out of the limelight by visiting him and talking to reporters. PATERNO IS A CREEP WHO DID THIS TO SAVE HIS PRECIOUS LEGACY, MONEY, EGO, AND HIS GOOD OLE BOYS!! They are all morally bankrupt. I wonder if any of you would feel it was OK to walk away from the scene of a creep fRAPING YOUR SON!!! I guess your answer would be no and you would beat the guy to death and never be charged with a crime BECAUSE YOU WERE PROTECTING YOUR CHILD. That is what this is about NOT YOUR STINKING HERO PATERNO OR PSU. Because of this sick story the rest of the world is calling PSU…Pedophile State University. What a big boost for Pennsylvanians, alumni, students, and faculty.

    • my2cents

      The behavior of the individuals and Penn State is exactly like the Catholic Church!
      What about all the priests, bishops and cardinals out there (still out there people!) that were NEVER investigated? It’s not just PSU that thinks they are above the law… why didn’t catholics rise up like this years ago about the conspiring priests that got away with it? They set the worst example and most caltholics kept quiet and let them. THEY are still out there! But keep talking about Paterno and let the priests go quietly…

      • Simple

        Dude – what is it with you and the Catholic church? I saw you wrote on another site about the same thing? Are you a closet case or something? This isn’t about the Catholic church or any church – it’s about a pedophile who started an organization so that he could destroy the lives of many young kids. And thos affiliated with him turned their heads the other way. Get off the Catholic church kick and write about the present.

      • Whoody who?

        Lets here some names who? Who wasn’t investigated? Are you referring to the Bishop that spoke out against the Health Care Laws and then all of a sudden was accused of immoral behavior? Who ?

      • tiredoffootballheros!

        yeah i agree with whoody….if you have some evidence then come forward, otherwise baseless accusations do not help and in fact interfere with investigations. the difference here is there is witnesses and proof.

      • my2cents

        @whoodywho…Names? The catholic church hid the names AND there are too many to name. But read it and weep ….

      • my2cents

        @tiredoffootballheros…The Cathlic church has plenty of witness and proof! But they and apparently you want to cover them up. The catholic church was one of the biggest cover ups of this heinous crime and it’s weak supporters are just as much to blame for this.

      • tiredoffootballheros!

        yeah, but this story isnt about the catholic church….the catholic church covers up a lot of things, but until people quit funding them, it will continue. it is the reason i do not allow my children alone around clergy……..the catholic church is an universal entity…quite different from penn state.

      • my2cents

        @tiredoffootballheros …so you still support the catholic church? So why shouldn’t people still support PSU? They did the EXACT same thing! The only difference being as of now there is one known pedo at PS and there are thousand of known pedos still in the catholic church. And the ones in the church aren’t being investigated or tried in a court of law. They are still out there for you and your children to enjoy. Doesn’t that frighten you??? Doesn’t that make you want to make sure NO CHILD is ever harmed this way again whether it be at Penn State or a church? Do you think PSU is the only place where grown men in a position of power are using it to hurt children?

      • my2cents

        @SIMPLE”MINDED”…first of all, lets stick to the subject at hand, not which web sites YOU or I are writing on. The subject at hand is men in positions of power should be prevented from hurting children in any way. Sounds like you just want to pin this on big bad penn state, but the BIGGER catholic church has your OK to do the same thing? FYI I know someone who was hurt by the almighty catholic church…guess what it was ? A known pedophile priest started a group with the intent to USE & HURT many young innocent boys. And guess what happened next?? Those who were affiliated with him turned theirs heads and denied anything wrong was happening. Ooh sound familar? And guess what else? That person is STILL OUT THERE! He’s not being investigated. He’s not under house arrest or anything. Can you believe it?? AND can you live with it?

  • Amie

    Have lost any and all respect for Franco…go promote casinos you has-been.

  • Dave

    This is Franco’s way of keeping his name in the public eye – pathetic! I agree with “Outragednurse”, that if he really supports Paterno, he could have called him to express his views. Franco is looking to get PR out of this sad situation. How about the victims? Do you also support them? Paterno may not be guilty of hurting those young kids, but he is guilty of looking the other way. You Penn Staters needs to realize the atrocity here at the hands of the football department. You look at Paterno like he was God. I saw one man grab Paterno’s statue on Saturday and start to cry. Would he react in the same manner if he touched a statue of Christ on the cross? Now there’s a Man who was persecuted, one for whom everyone should cry.

  • lloyd

    Franco is prejudiced. period.

  • GiveMeTheFactsFirst

    Heres a thought? Mr. President of Penn State and Mr AD of Penn State, I, Joe Paterno would like to report possible child abuse that I heard of second hand but did not witness. 2 Weeks later: Mr Paterno, both the AD and I the President investigated the situation and found no evidence indicating any abuse by Mr. Sandusky. You dont have anything to worry about Mr Paterno.

    Yes he is a man with great statur but until you know the fact dont persecute the man. That is very typical of the media and the public to only report the the shock and aw news. I am not condoning anyone until all the fact are on the table which have not been. Are any of you on the investigation panel….didnt think so. Should Mr McQueary have done more if he actually witnessed the abuse….absolutely.

    • outragecnurse

      YES, I want the facts too. I believe Sandusky and McQuery should be punished the most. Sandusky is unbelievably sick and obviously arrogant enough that he took these boys on campus to assault them and not out in the woods where no one could have caught him. McQuery was a 28 yr old member of PSU faculty, who witnessed a crime and turned his head on a horrible act on a child because he didn’t want to hurt his future career. No way, no how can anyone water that down. He must be a pediphile too to have seen this and not stopped the act and not called 911. No, it’s about protecting the image of PSU and their football program….oh, and the name that is ALWAYS associated with PSU football—-Paterno. Paterno may have went to the administrators but did nothing to protect future victims. A true leader and hero would have gone further. These boys are scarred for life because of one cowardly, selfish choice after another.

    • tiredoffootballheros!

      it is well known that joe was considered the most important man on campus and pretty much made the rules as far as the football program went….joe could have/should have done more, but he was concerned that it would put the football program and his coaching staff in a negative light…well, as my grandma use to say, what goes around, comes around!

  • harry g

    Franco is right in what he said and you people who have commented just proved it. This story was about the pervert Sandusky and the abused victims. Paterno was a part of this story since he testified before the grand jury. The media frenzy and sensationalism made Pterno the story. I dont see you commenting about the victims. I see all your comments are about Paterno…..just what the media wanted to make headlines.

    • Dan

      umm, the comments are about Paterno because this article is about Franco/Paterno. So yea, it would follow that that’s why the comments are what they are.

    • Beverly

      Yes it was the media who wanted to make the headlines…….what more its about men, boys and sex scandals. I don’t think this story holds truth and the college has some real story telling and its the truth.

  • grandmother

    Sorry Franco, but your sympathy is sadly misplaced, it should be with the boys who were abused, not with Paterno. Paterno was Penn State and he had more power than the President, etc. and everyone knew that. Unfortunately, his ego kept him from reporting this horrible abuse to the authorities. One word from the great ‘JoePa’ to the police would have stopped this monster from attacking another poor child, but Paterno decided his legacy and Penn State’s Football Program was more important. How can you honestly say that Paterno is being wrongly accused?? I have lost respect for you as well.

  • mj

    You cannot blame Joe for what happened, he was not there, why didn’t Mr McQuery go and stop it , he is the one who saw it. Joe has done a lot of good things for people and helped them out. He hleped make Penn State get its good name and everything. The abuse should not of happened but why didn’t the top authories call the police. Joe did it the right way. It willl be a long time before anyone can do what he did for people. I am right with you Franco.



    • outragednurse

      I guess you dont have a life either since you read this and responded in capital letters!! Got you upset…..think about the victims! We have enough facts to have a right to our opinion. We are not blind Paterno follower’s and have a mind of our own. God bless the victims and families and God help the ignorant to open their eyes to the fact that the world revolves around protecting the rich and famous who trample over the innocent and poor.

      • Steve

        @my2cents. This is NOT about the church. Please take your church issues elsewhere. You’re really off track and are annoying.

      • Steve

        @2cents. You ask why it’s not about the church? Because it’s NOT. It’s about what happened at PSU. Yes there are sex/pervert scandals EVERYWHERE, but this is about the PSU one….geesh.

      • my2cents

        “the rich and famous who trample over the innocent and poor”…like the catholic church who also succeeded in covering up this heinous crime against children.

      • pittbasketball

        sorry outraged…but chubby is probably a jock and you used too many big words…it makes his head hurt!

      • my2cents

        @ Steve… why is this not about the church? They did the SAME EXACT THING and MANY TIMES OVER. How do you know if maybe Paterno thought about how the catholic church handled it’s pedophiles and chose to act in the same way? Just take care of thing in house and it will be alright. By the way, your close mindedness is REALLY annoying. It’s really not about paterno or the church, but about men using their influence to hurt children. It’s not OK anywhere!

  • Igiveup!

    it is so sad that so many people do not realize why what joe failed to do is so very wrong…..children should come before football and an university’s image…sad.

  • GiveMeTheFactsFirst

    Again…If Joe was possibly told that there was an investigation and nothing was found he may have been told to not worry. Could have/Should have is something that would be stated if the facts were known that he knew. As far as the media and the public are concerned…We dont know the facts. We dont know what JoePa knew. Again wait for the fact before you prosecute.

    • Big Daddy

      Yea and if there were not fact MR JoePa would not have made the comment that he wished he had done more after looking back on it. This should be about the victims and not putting a self ritious football program before them

    • suzie

      And if the facts come out that Paterno knew? What then? For anyone to accuse the patron saint of football, Joe Paterno of anything, the information must be pretty damned credible.

  • NeverbeenaPennStatefan

    The Children in this horrible case are the ones that have been victimized…not Paterno. People need to realize that he got mixed up in a horrible situation and he should be held accountable for his actions, or in the case, the lack of his actions. I don’t know how people can look at this situation and think that he did everything that he should have. I pray for the families because they are the ones that deserve the praise for coming out and telling their story and hopefully helping other children…not Paterno.

  • RS

    “The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”
    – Albert Einstein

    • suzie

      well said

  • KissItChubby

    The Lord Paterno even has his own statue…….virtually immortalizing him….Why don’t you kiss its butt,Chubby

  • Bill Miller

    I’m done with the Meadows as long as they’re using a pedofile enabler as their spokesman. And PLEASE Allegheny County, remove that likeness of Franco from the airport immediately! If it’s still there the next time I fly, I’ll take it down right then and there. I know Homeland Security will arrest me and my bond will be higher than the pedofile and his accomplices, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do!

    • Jailbird

      Do it then!!! I will applaud you! Because sometimes a man’s a horses a** and belongs in jail. One less wacko for us to deal with. Thanks!

  • scott

    Joe Knew.

    • Mike, Robinson Township

      Do you have some ‘insider’ information or just a guess on your part? Thankfully your a poster not a juror!

    • John Testa

      you must belong to the psychic network,what are tonights lottery numbers?

  • Opposing opinion

    I agree with a lot of the sentiment that Franco is expressing. All of us are outraged and sickened by what Sandusky did and what others failed to do. However, to throw Joe Paterno under the bus is wrong. He was the only one that I know of that actually took the information that he had (and it was second hand) to the proper people at Penn State who had the official capacity to act. He covered nothing up. The officials at Penn State are the ones that failed those poor children and they failed Joe Paterno. He trusted them to do their jobs and they didn’t. A lot of what I read says that Joe Paterno should have taken his story to others or a higher level and used his power to get results. For one, his power was derived from being a popular football coach. He did not set policy beyond that. And more, who would he have carried his story to that didn’t already know it? The campus police? Nope. They knew. The local authorities? Nope. They knew. Joe Paterno had the power granted through the public by popularity but the official power and capacity was with his superiors and law enforcement which failed. Sure, perhaps he could have made more noise about it and he lamented that he didn’t. But can you fault him for the actions that he did take and blame him for the actions that others didn’t take and it was clearly within their capacity? We’re all outraged and I think that a lot of folks just want to see his grand fall from a high place. I still hold him with very high esteem for his years of giving back to Penn State, living an honest and modest life, speaking his mind openly and being truthful and transparent. He did nothing less in this case but is now swept up in the riptide of public foment.

    • Gale T

      WELL SAID!! WHEN WAS FREEDOM OF SPEECH TAKEN AWAY FROM US? I believe they have made Paterno the fall guy. The administrators were more interested in money than childrens welfare

  • outragednurse

    Yes, we can put some blame on Paterno (no real “pa” would let children suffer) and I am sickened every time I hear that HE did so much for the university……and he got well paid for what he did…..millions every year with perks…(plus the huge pension he will get from the taxpayers) .God bless his charitable heart…puke!!!! And he did the minimum he had to do by reporting the abuse…….did you ever think he should have had nightmares so bad that he would call for someone higher in the state education or law enforcement system. He does have sons, right. Or maybe his nightmares were about the bad publicity PSU may get…….Get your brain out of your Paterno loving butt and think for yourself and I hope you don’t have children that will pay for your loyalty to He who did no wrong. I also hope you dont have children that want to go to college because people…yes, meer humans like us, who are grossly overpaid are the REAL reason many cant afford to further their education. No wonder Americans are getting dumber with each generation. Dont believe that statement? Do your own research.

  • Opposing opinion

    Sorry you feel that way, outragednurse. I believe that time will be kind to Joe Paterno. Eventually, the emotions will be properly separated from the facts of the case. I do agree with you that the children are the real casualties here but I don’t believe that the blame rests at Joe Paterno’s feet.

    • Level Green

      This is one of those times when 1 wrong deed wipes out 1,000 good deeds.

      The minute it comes out that JoePa knew of any past contact between Sandusky and kids then Franco needs to apologize to us all.

      • Opposing Opinion

        He did know and as soon as McQuery told him what he had seen, Joe Paterno took the second hand information to the AD and head of Security at Penn State. They have the official capacity and scope of authority within their job functions to act.

  • TTis

    Good to see a former student player of Mr. Paterno’s come to his aid!
    Mr. Paterno’s had a pack of rabid mad dogs circling him lately!

  • Sushineangels

    There is no disputing that Joe Paterno was a good man , a great Coach and had had many accomplishments,He has done a lot of good things for PSU during his years of working there, However this is about Joe who was one of many that failed to protect an innocent child who was raped . Forget about the law and contracts for a moment. We as adults have a moral obligation to stop this, How another man(McCreary) could walk in a shower room and witness this and do NOTHING!!!Joe along with everyone else up there failed to go above and beyond to stop this or call the Police. Say want you want but if it was your Son you would not care about how great Joe Paterno is. Again this is not about Joe it is about countless young disadvantaged boys that became victims and everyone that knew or had knowledge of this and did nothing is just wrong!!!I pray for these young men and their families that they can begin to heal and that justice will be served.

  • steve

    Who does this moron think he is? Demanding joe gets his job back. Stick to doing your commercials wher everything is hand written out for you.

  • amy

    First off I want to say I was a rape victim myself but I have to agree with Frank and Joe.I feel sympathy and sorrow for the victims and I’m praying for them.If Joe would of went to the police it would of been hear say and not much would have been done.You can’t fire someone over hear say so he would have still been around children.Joe couldn’t have stopped it even if he wanted to.He did what he should of done and told his bosses.They should have talked to the one who witnessed it ,called the police,and put sandusky on suspension.Yet they fired Joe but not the one who witnessed it.Joe should have not been fired.His bosses covered it up and so did the board.I have been a victim so how many have you been.I understand alot more how many of you can say that.I also have four children of my own so don’t ask me what I would do if it was one of my children cause you already have the answer.

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