Nike’s Phil Knight flips, backs Joe Paterno

mcarroll@centredaily.comFebruary 12, 2013 

  • More information

    Here is Knight’s complete statement:

    “Last July I was surprised and saddened by the Freeh Report and the subsequent press conference held by the former FBI Director. In response to the shocking findings, which were so definitively and passionately presented, and based on the reputation of Louis Freeh, I issued a statement which said in part, “According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences. I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day.

    “I made this statement without having read the report in full. When I later took the time to do so, I was surprised to learn that the alarming allegations, which so disturbed the nation, were essentially theories and assertions rather than solid charges backed by solid evidence. On reflection I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment.

    “With the release of the report by the King and Spalding law firm, including analysis by former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and former FBI profiler James Clemente, it is clear that the findings of the Freeh Report were unjustified and unsubstantiated. When this tragic story first unfolded Joe cautioned all of us to slow down and carefully gather the facts before jumping to conclusions. We owed it to the victims, he said, to get to the truth. It was counsel we all should have followed. Additionally, The NCAA’s actions are exposed as totally unwarranted. The NCAA acted outside its charter and rendered judgment absent any kind of investigation or judicial hearing. It was simply grandstanding.

    “And while some may still debate the who, what, when, where, why of this sad case, the clear villain, as Jim Clemente notes, is Jerry Sandusky himself.”

Nike co-founder Phil Knight is again backing his old friend Joe Paterno.

Knight released a statement Monday criticizing the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, which painted Paterno as part of a cover-up in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, as “unjustified and unsubstantiated.”

The statement comes one day after Paterno’s family released its own damning review of Freeh’s findings and just months after Knight himself expressed disappointment in his late friend following the release of the Freeh report.

“According to the investigation, it appears Joe made missteps that led to heartbreaking consequences,” Knight said in statement in July. “I missed that Joe missed it, and I am extremely saddened on this day.”

But now, with new questions about the Freeh report made public by the Paterno family’s review, Knight has backed off those comments and is defending the former Penn State head coach again.

Knight, who spoke at Paterno’s funeral, said he made the original statement before he read the Freeh report in its entirety.

“On reflection, I may have unintentionally contributed to a rush to judgment,” Knight said Monday.

On July 12, the same day that the Freeh report was released, Nike announced it would remove Paterno’s name from its child care center at its world headquarters in Oregon.

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service