One year later, the Penn State scandal continues to be a polarizing topic. Oddly enough, former Penn State and NFL great Franco Harris is doing his best to keep the story in the news. Harris continues to hold town hall meetings where he and his group lead efforts to get the facts straight in the entire Jerry Sandusky scandal, including the involvement of Joe Paterno and Penn State and the NCAA sanctions that were levied.
Franco Harris joined WIP in Philadelphia with Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow to discuss why he’s holding town hall meetings to address the Penn State scandal one year later, what he thinks is the biggest piece of misinformation, standing up for Joe Paterno and why he’s so passionate about the topic.
You’re doing these town hall meetings on Penn State, one year later. Give us your quick thesis:
“So much information, through a lot of time and effort, has come forward. And our town hall meeting is to provide this new information, in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the firing of Joe Paterno. And then, as you know, through the year, the Freeh Report came and the NCAA sanctions, and what was the basis of all this? The basis of all this is, through a lot of misinformation, people came to conclusions without any evidence, without any facts. But we have had some great people that, as I mentioned, put a lot of time and effort in setting the record straight. They’ll give a whole new perspective on the whole Penn State situation.”
What do you think is the biggest piece of misinformation?:
“They keep saying that Joe and Penn State enabled it. And didn’t they say that Joe should’ve done more? And so they blame Joe for not doing more. But what are the reasons why they do that? They do it basically because based on the testimony of one guy, Mike McQueary, and what Mike McQueary said. And there’s a lot of new information on that. And also that Penn State enabled it by providing the facilities, where people, professionals in the industry of child molestation, they know that it is not the facilities — it’s not access to facilities, it’s access to the children. And I would like to say, if Joe’s name would have not been tied to this, how long do you think the story would’ve lasted?”
If Paterno is the CEO of this operation, though, doesn’t he have to take the fall for it happening under his watch?:
“In the last year, have you heard of one former football coach coming forward saying they knew Jerry was a pedophile? Have you heard of one player come forward? Have you heard of one citizen in our whole area come forward? … The victims always come years later. Every pedophile case you see, victims come forward 15 or 20 years later. … Have you heard of anyone coming forward? … So why do people think that Joe knew, when nobody knew?”
What kind of new information is out there about Mike McQueary and his testimony?:
“When you look at the information … Linda Kelly used a sexual assault [term] … and that was in the presentment. Well, it finally came out in the jury trial that that did not happen. There was no sexual assault. So when Linda Kelly indicted Graham Spanier, guess what she did? … A little bit after the trial, she now called it inappropriate behavior. What would it have been if she hadn’t lied in that presentment in the first place?”
Why are you so passionate about this?:
“Another thing that, during this past year, that we have spent on this, and there’s no doubt that my first involvement was because of the Joe situation, but as we go through the year … that has changed, the first priority. One thing we found out in this situation is that No. 1, we have to protect the children. We have found that so many people and agencies really failed the children, and it’s still happening today. We need to protect the children, and that really comes out and comes forward in what we’re presenting. And we know that this area of pedophilia, it’s a dark and dangerous category.”