How vain it is to sit down to write when you haven't stood up to live?
What we hoped wasn’t true…just happened.
A bomb was dropped on Penn State today after FBI Director Louis Freeh released his several month-long inquiry on the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The blast radius is so severe following the report’s release, it’s impact has many writers calling for the death penalty of Penn State’s football program for one of the most significant cover-ups in collegiate athletics history. One of the more significant findings: Joe Paterno was far more involved than we had originally anticipated, far more than involved than the sports world had hoped.
Before I’ve even had a chance to dive deep into the details myself, and fully let this whole thing register in my brain, I can’t help but drop my jaw glancing around the sports media spectrum seeing the headlines across the board speaking volumes about the report’s impact. Unlike a handful of weeks ago, there are few voices standing up for Paterno and the university. A sample:
Just how serious is this? Even some of Joe Pa’s closest friends are backtracking on their initial stances on this terrible situation. Remember Phil Knight’s passionate speech at Joe Paterno’s memorial, in which he confidently defended the most-winningest coach of all time’s legacy? Paterno, Knight’s long-time mentor and hero. [here’s an article if you don’t want to watch the video]
Well things are drastically different today… Nike released this statement:
I have been deeply saddened by the news coming out of this investigation at Penn State. It is a terrible tragedy that children were unprotected from such abhorrent crimes. With the findings released today, I have decided to change the name of our child care center at our World Headquarters. My thoughts are with the victims and the Penn State community.
– Mark Parker, President & CEO, NIKE, Inc.
Other than my parents, my college coach, Bill Bowerman, was the biggest influence in my life. Bill Bowerman and Joe Paterno shared some great qualities. Throughout Joe Paterno’s career, he strived to put young athletes in a position to succeed and win in sport but most importantly in life. Joe influenced thousands of young men to become better leaders, fathers and husbands.
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. My love for Joe and his family remains.
– Phil Knight, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, NIKE, Inc.
Although Knight’s overall love and support of Paterno and his family are deeply set in stone, the corporate monster known for its patented swoosh took a symbolic step forward in justifying the impact of Paterno’s tarnished legacy. His name will be removed from Nike’s campus on the Child Development Center.
The Freeh report is massive, 267 pages to be exact. Deadspin is currently doing a nice job thumbing through it, providing an abridged version highlighting the major bullet points on ‘everything you need to know about the Freeh report.’ Below is the full PDF for those interested in diving deep into the details yourselves. I’ll be doing the same here shortly.
This is a large pill to swallow to say the least. I truly feel for—obviously the victims and their families—but also for the loyal, dedicated Penn State grads and all their diehard fans. Their stomping grounds is called STATE COLLEGE. Little is more important than helmets smashing on the gridiron. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d feel if this were to unfold at my beloved University of Oregon.