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Backlash Against Franco Harris is Unwarranted

The backlash from the Penn State sex abuse scandal is now targeting the wrong people.

The fallout from continued to spread this week and now threatens to take down another famous Nittany Lion.

But this time around, it’s the immaculate reputation of legendary Steelers running back Franco Harris that’s under fire as he doggedly defends his former college football coach, Joe Paterno.

Franco said he disagreed with the immediate firing of Paterno, despite the common belief that JoePa didn’t do enough to report an accused child molester to authorities. However, his point is that it’s time to set aside raw emotions, put down the pitch forks and .

And I think he’s right. New information about this case is coming out every day, and we’ll know even more facts when it goes to trial.

Words have consequences, but Franco isn’t defending an accused child molester. He’s defending his coach and mentor.

But the hammer immediately dropped on Franco as with him as a spokesman. And now, some are calling for Franco to resign as chairman of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship board.

Has he really said anything that is so outrageous? He's not the bad guy here.

But with the firestorm apparently red hot, why don’t we march over to Pittsburgh International Airport and tear down the Franco Harris statue in the terminal? If he's so unfit to represent a casino, do we really want him welcoming incoming visitors to our city?

While we’re at it, maybe it’s also time for George Washington’s statue to go. He did, after all, participate in the barbaric killing of the French military officer Jumonville in 1754. And, of course, he chopped down that cherry tree (allegedly).

With the graphic details of the alleged molestations made available to the public, the mobs are understandably out for blood. But we should focus our anger toward the man accused of these disgusting crimes, not against those who merely express an opinion.

It’s time to let the authorities (finally) do their job and explain what exactly happened and how things went so terribly wrong. That’s the very least we owe to the kids who were victimized.

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Suz November 18, 2011 at 05:34 AM
I understand Franco's loyalty to Paterno but completely disagree that he should not have been let go. I believe it is Franco defending a man that he is emotionally attached to and perhaps he should step back and look at it from the perspective of those who are not emotionally attached to anyone. The Board was left with no choice but to let go any and all that had knowledge of alleged child abuse. Paterno admitted in his grand jury testimony that he knew that something inappropriate happened. He also admitted that he wished he had done more. And he could have. I also believe that for a long time Paterno has called the shots at Penn St and the board could not allow him to do it. Doing nothing was not an option. As far as Franco and the fall out from his public comments..it is no different that any spokesperson for any organization. I don't necessarily blame the Meadows for letting him go. People are upset with him. His comments showed a lot of concern for Paterno and little concern for the victims. Perhaps he didn't mean it that way but
Suz November 18, 2011 at 05:41 AM
continued that is the way it appeared. The real concern is for the victims, Paterno and his legacy will play out when the dust settles. But he and his legacy cannot be the concern now. It is unfortunate that his career ended in this manner. I think it is misplaced to blame the board. He (Paterno) made the choice to do the minimum. He's a powerful man and could have really done so much more. He admitts this.
Mike Jones (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 02:13 PM
I don't think many people feel bad for Joe Paterno after everything that has happened. But I just hope all of the facts of this case -- including what exactly Paterno did or didn't do -- are eventually brought into the light. Penn State is such an isolated place that I have my doubts. But they need to come forward with a report about everything that happened. Thanks for reading, Suz.
Suz November 18, 2011 at 03:26 PM
I understand your point but disagree. The Franco statue should stand however, I do not blame any business or organization should be faulted for not wanting him right now as their spokesperson. Franco is entitled to his opinion and he has the right to disagree with the decision. All I am saying is that Franco is hardly unbias in this situation. In the end all we can hope for is for those who are guilty be prosecuted and that those who were victims get help. That should be the focus not Paterno and his legacy.
JR November 18, 2011 at 10:24 PM
What happened to free speech. Franco is certainly entitled to his opinion.
Mike Jones (Editor) November 19, 2011 at 12:54 AM
Does anyone else find it ironic that a casino is supposedly taking the moral high ground on this issue?
Roger November 19, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Mike, people of many stripes have tried to take the high moral ground. I continue to wonder why so many people have to make comment (e.g. Santorium, Solobay, etc) on this issue. Yes, there is plenty of irony to be spread around when looking at the list of those offering a moral perspective.

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