Blog Entry

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

Posted on: November 16, 2011 10:35 am
Edited on: November 16, 2011 6:23 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Earlier this week, Steelers legend and Penn State alum Franco Harris came out and publicly ripped the Penn State Board of Trustees for firing Joe Paterno.

The decision to do so got Harris fired, as the Meadows Race Track and Casino decided to dump the Hall of Famer as an endorser.

"In light of the recent developments with Franco Harris regarding Joe Paterno’s dismissal, Franco and The Meadows have mutually decided to put their business relationship on hold at this time, while these matters are looked into further," the Meadows said in a statement.

It's a surprising turn of events, especially considering that this is, you know, a casino. It's not exactly the home of the moral high ground. Still, it seems that they probably recognized Harris Q-rating would take a hit.

More on Penn State scandal

"Now, everyone gets to interpret in their own way," Harris said recently. "That's what really bothers me: Joe did what was right for him to do. He forwarded the information to his superiors. That's the legal procedure at Penn State." 

According to a story posted Wednesday on, Harris' friends warned him that speaking out in support of Paterno would leave him susceptible to criticism from potential sponsors, but Harris said he was unconcerned. 

WTAE's Sally Wiggin reports that Harris will meet with Penn State University President Rodney Erickson and the Board of Trustees.

"I really want to get some answers," Harris said. "How do you justify the firing of Joe Paterno? And I want to know from the president, why aren't you rehiring Joe Paterno?"

Harris might be legally right to defend Paterno. We won't know that until the full legal proceedings in this matter are finished. But if Paterno could have stopped the terrible things that allegedly happened at Penn State from happening, there's really no moral ground to stand on.

Even the people who run a casino can see that.

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Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:46 am

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

Philo - first I really liked your post, it was well-written, well-edited, concise, and thought provoking.  I found myself agreeing with nearly everything that you said until the last sentence.  I do not think that in State College Joe Paterno was worshipped any place other than actually ON the football field. 

I don't know about Paterno's true culpability in all of this - we only have SOME of the facts.  In fact, I think that we have the exact same facts that Franco Harris has and that is why he wants answers.  The grand jury report only outlines the mistakes of the VP and the athletic director and at no point does the grand jury report mention to what degree Joe Paterno was made aware of the actions of Sandusky and what was witnessed by McQuery.  Also, it has been reported but not yet confirmed that McQuery is stating that he did go to the police.  Obviously there is a lot more information necessary to cast an educated opinion about what has transpired. 

What we do know is that there appears to be an iron-tight case against Sandusky further enhanced by his own words when he was interviewed by Bob Costas and could not immediately say that he was NOT attracted to young boys - he had to think of a response.  With so much detail to the stories told by the victims and the fact that there are so many of them all but ensure that Sandusky will die in prison.  I find it amazing that his wife is actually sticking by him - she must not have read the accusations entirely or she is just in complete denial.  After doing what Sandusky has apparently done I wouldn't take the vacation that his attorney suggested he take to clear his mind because he and his wife could be murdered if recognized in public.  Besides killing myself for what I had done, if I were Sandusky I would fly to a country like Cuba that doesn't have an extradition treaty with the USA because of course Sandusky had plenty of money to make bail.  If I were Sandusky in that case I would try to "retire" in a foreign country with the knowledge that the very moment I stepped foot in the USA I would be thrown in prison for the rest of my life. 

Anyways, in summary I think that the jury is still out on Paterno's culpability.  If it was indeed true that McQuery did in fact make a report to police then the police MUST be investigated because they may have covered up child sexual abuse.  If Paterno knew that McQuery made a report to the police then Paterno's culpability is none.  If information comes out that Paterno did fully know and understand that McQuery witnessed Sandusky performing a sex act upon a child and Paterno only reported the story to the AD then he is fully culpable and deserves to have lost his job.  However, I think it is entirely possible that when information comes out it may exonerate Paterno.  The scenario I think of is this: Sandusky is caught in the shower at PSU performing a sex act upon a child by McQuery.  McQuery reports to Paterno that he saw Sandusky only "acting inappropriately" with a child and Paterno suggests that McQuery file a police report - and he does.  Paterno notifies the AD of the accusation who informs the campus police who are at that point meeting with McQuery.  The AD tells the campus police department (which falls under the direction of PSU and is not it's own, unique police department with management answering to the town) to not take the report of what McQuery was describing seriously.  The AD and Police Chief conspire to cover-up the story so as to not draw any attention to the immoral events that occurred at PSU.  The report from McQuery is taken but never investigated at the direction of the AD and ordered by the police chief.  McQuery leaves the PSU Police Department secure in the knowledge that he did the right thing.  Paterno only asks McQuery if he went to the police to which McQuery responded "Yes".  At this point Paterno feels that all of the appropriate people have been notified and goes on with his coaching duties.  With the knowledge that the PSU Police Department would be investigating the Sandusky incident Paterno opts not to worry because he has done what was legally and morally required.  As a result of the incident in the shower and likely also over embarassment of being caught, Sandusky opts to stay away from the PSU State College campus and instead holds Second Mile events at another PSU campus.  After not seeing Sandusky for many years, Sandusky feels safe returning to the PSU campus after a few years when the event is never investigated by the PSU PD.  At this point only the PD and the AD (and possibly the VP of Finance) and McQuery know that Sandusky is a pedophile.  Paterno does not bring up the accusations when he sees Sandusky because doing so would be awkward but assumes that because Sandusky is at the PSU facilities he must have been cleared by the PSU PD and that they have closed the case.  No further instances of abuse are reported to Paterno for the next 5+ years until allegations come to the surface in 2008.  Sandusky notifies the Second Mile of the allegations made against him and he is immediately barred from having contact with children.  Again, Paterno's relationship at this time is likely more of a casual acquaintance with Sandusky because Sandusky is retired and only rarely visits the PSU facilities and he is no longer bringing children to the building for fear of being caught again.  Again, Paterno is unaware that not only is Sandusky allegedly a pedophile but that the AD and PD conspired to cover up the events. 

If what I just listed above is even a remote possibility then we owe it to Joe Paterno to wait to cast judgment.  What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty?  I just cannot see how so many people have already cast judgment upon Paterno with so little information.  I admit that appearances are bad but we need to give the man due process.  I think due process is owed to Joe Paterno because of how long he has run one of the most successful, safe, smart, and cleanest programs in major college football.  I think that PSU turned their backs on Paterno too quickly without hearing all of the facts first. 

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:41 am

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

  I admire Franco for standing up, because he believes Joepa is a great human being.  I think his wish to have him re-hired is a bit iggnorant, but from the heart non the less.  The thing that we may be over looking is all the thousands of ex-players standing up for him think of him as a second dad.  He may have not done all the right things in this situation, but I don't know.  It's not an excuse, but he was in his mid seventies when this was going down.  I hope I can remember my own name than let alone try and figure something this idiotic out.  He is a good man it's just to bad he got his wagon hitched to Sanduskys car.  A good lesson for all to learn here.  No matter how good you are, being with the wrong people can make you look bad.  What a shame to end a great career like this!

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:34 am


Yeah, that is understandable may of thinking, however, if they - AD, etc. - were worried about a backlash for firing Paterno why even ask him to retire in the first place? Hmmm...maybe it had something to do with this case and maybe not? Just putting the thought out there.

Yes, you are correct about his, Paterno's, wherewithal. But frankly I think he was just looking out for a friend he had known for some time and honestly IMO I believe that Joe didn't think this was something was going on to the extent that it seemingly did.

Everyone that knew SOMETHING as to what "sicko" was doing and did NOTHING shares blame and responsiblity read culpable.

Since: Feb 20, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:29 am

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

Franco's simply saying that you should see how all the facts play out before you make rash opinions and judgement calls on how Paterno reacted/acted when all this came out. I know in a country now filled with people wanting to instantly form lynch mobs and hang em up from the next tree, that's too much to ask for.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:19 am


So  what you are saying is that when in 2004 the PSU AD asked Joe Paterno to retire and he said "no" and there was no firing of him, until 2011, that doesn't equate to having power and A LOT of it?

That lone fact tells me enough let alone everything I've read and already know about PSU. Heck, just look at what happened when he was fired...that night, the days after the fact and on that Saturday.
I can provide a relatively simple "possible answer." He was beloved by the media and the fan base as a Football Coach and the administration risked outrage or being considered ungreatful for being the ones who ousted a man who made Penn State why oust a figurehead when he's not negatively impacting the program?  He didn't want to go..just like Bobby Bowden, he said he wanted to coach because it kept him alive...and an awful lot of people nationally and and the Fan Base would have been furious had Penn State just swept him out the door.  It was a perception issue at the time.

I just really believe everyone is overstating his competency, awareness, knowledge of how to deal with personnel situations in his old age.  I think you're perfectly justified in ripping into him for being clueless...but to say he acted with malice or intent in my opinion is going to proven inaccurate when all of the facts come out.

I understand that I am also playing on assumptions...but my question is-- why aren't these possibilities more plausible than the conspiracy theory?  It's almost like you're creating a presumption of guilt, and making the individuals prove their innocence.  That's the problem with the court of public opinion.

Since: Sep 14, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:05 am

Franco Time For A Move You Made Famous

Franco now would be a good time for a move you made famous. But first shut your big mouth and then do the move you made famous and RUN OUT OF BOUNDS. It cant be the shots to your head, you ran out of bounds to many time. You heartless clown.

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:02 am

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

I always wanted to know what a Nittany Lion was....  Now I know if I am in the shower an approached by Nittany Lion, it is time ro RUN!!!

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:00 am

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

 He was a figurehead. If you want to argue he was too old/scenile to coach that's fine but in my opinion, he had little power at all.
So  what you are saying is that when in 2004 the PSU AD asked Joe Paterno to retire and he said "no" and there was no firing of him, until 2011, that doesn't equate to having power and A LOT of it?

That lone fact tells me enough let alone everything I've read and already know about PSU. Heck, just look at what happened when he was fired...that night, the days after the fact and on that Saturday.

Since: Sep 8, 2011
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:59 pm

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

Well said Philo Beddoe. Usually when I start out saying "thanks for stating the obvious", it's meant sarcastically. But this is something that surprisingly needs to be explained to seemingly intelligent people who keep saying "what were they supposed to do?"

He was supposed to see that Sandusky was arrested and never set foot anywhere that campus again. It's just so incredibly obvious, it's not even up for debate.

For anyone making excuses or asking why Paterno is being somewhat universally condmened for this read this: (page 6 "Victim 2")

and then explain how someone who was told that in March of 2002 didn't see to it he was put in prison?

If this were a younger coach of less stature, he'd already be facing charges along with Curley and Schultz. Just as the defenders will say (and rightfully so, I'll concede) that "all the evidence has not come out", I'd remind them that the way this looks I'm more fearful of the more likely scenario that if more evidence comes out it's going to look even worse for Paterno, not better. I'd be happy to be wrong here but I think there is a lot more to come.

Since: Sep 22, 2010
Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:58 pm

Casino fires Franco Harris for supporting Paterno

a great running back      but apparently from these comments    &nb
sp;  a logical excuse is he suffered some concussions  in the 70s and 80s  that have affected him  in his thinking process

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