Franco Harris Argues Against Penn State Sanctions, Still Hoping to Clear Joe Paterno’s Name


Franco Harris Argues Against Penn State Sanctions, Still Hoping to Clear Joe Paterno's NameFranco Harris, if nothing else, is persistently loyal.

The Hall of Fame running back continues to defend his alma mater, Penn State, even in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case. The details of that were damning, as were the findings in The Freeh Report, revealing the Penn State cover-up attempts.

Former head coach Joe Paterno had his legacy smashed to pieces upon the release of The Freeh Report, and Harris says it's now his goal to help clear Paterno's name in the fallout of this mess.

"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 on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday. "For people to think that they tried to cover up and blatantly let something like this continue for 10 years, they are so far mistaken."

In fact, Harris questions the validity of The Free Report in his defense of Paterno and the football program. 

"The Freeh Report shows there was no cover-up," Harris insisted. "People were enraged with this."

Harris went on to argue that he was unsure how much Paterno really knew in 1998, one of the key components to The Freeh Report. Harris also talked about how, considering his work with The Second Mile charity, the Penn State community didn't really suspect that Sandusky was doing anything wrong. For whatever reason, Harris also insisted that the community didn't suspect much because Sandusky was always with a child.

Harris also talked about the sanctions that were given to Penn State in the aftermath of the Sandusky case and The Freeh Report. Not only does Harris feel those sanctions are unfair and excessive, he can't comprehend why Penn State so willingly accepted them.

"I still don't understand why they'd accept such sanctions," he said on the show. "I don't understand why the NCAA would get involved with a situation that is really criminal and doesn't involve the athletic department. 

"The NCAA should have never got involved in a case like this. Secondly, Penn State definitely should not have accepted it. 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 also said that he would have liked to be involved in the decision-making process that eventually led to taking down Paterno's statue outside of Beaver Stadium.

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